Black Woman Launches First Black Carpet Awards to Debut at Milan Fashion Week to Promote Diversity Across Italy
This Black woman moved to Italy when she was a child and has become a major influence throughout the country.
Michelle Francine Ngonmo, founder of the Afro Fashion Association in Italy, announced on Thursday that she will be recognizing the achievements of minorities in Italian society in an effort to promote greater diversity and inclusion.
According to ABC News, the first-ever Black Carpet Awards will premiere during Milan Fashion Week in February.
Ngonmo’s inspiration came from a note she received from the late fashion designer, Virgil Abloh, founder of the Off-White label. In the note, Abloh wrote, “I see you,” acknowledging Ngonmo’s service with promoting people of color (POC) in Italian fashion.
“I know there are a lot of projects here in Italy that are doing real things, and not being seen,’’ Ngonmo told The Associated Press.
“Why not celebrate them, all of them? When you celebrate someone, you empower them, you open minds and you talk about what diversity is.”
Ngonmo will reportedly distribute 10 awards recognizing leaders who have fulfilled a mission of promoting inclusion, diversity, and equity through culture, creativity, community, legacy, and entrepreneurship. Five awards will be chosen by a jury, while the remaining five will be chosen as people’s choice awards.
Award recipients will include individuals from under-represented communities who work in sectors such as fashion, design, art, food, music, technology, business, sports, and cinema. Individuals will be considered from people of color, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ+ community.
According to Vogue, Ngonmo founded Afro Fashion in 2015, expanding on her passion for world communication. The cultural association presently has over 80 members, with a database of more than 1,000 POC designers all over the world.
In February 2022, Ngonmo founded and launched TheUnseenProfiles, with the support of Vogue Italia. The Italian platform works to create equality for the access of qualified candidates from diverse cultural backgrounds in the professional market.