When I began my career in architecture way back in 1986, I learned at the time that in the United States, less than two percent of registered architects were Black. For Black women, the percentage was less than half of that. When I started my first business here in Colorado, you could count the number of Black architects running their own firm on one hand. And have fingers left over. In the entire state.
In 2018, the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards or NCARB, released a study that showed the percentage of all architectural candidates completing the registration exam who identified as Black was…two percent. More than 30 years later. Now, there are plenty of factors that contribute to this stubbornly consistent figure. That’s a whole different post.
But consider this, if the percentage of Black architects is small, then it’s for certain the percentage of those in business for themselves is even smaller. And while up until this point I’ve focused on my own profession, I also know from experience that representation and especially business-ownership is similarly lagging in many other creative fields. For these folks, their professional and economic well-being, and that of their families and the people they support is incumbent on the world seeing that their businesses exist. Black Creatives in Business is intended to serve this purpose. By raising awareness of these talented business people and telling their stories, we present opportunities to learn about them, their motivations and creative vision, and most importantly support their economic viability.
So, read the BCIB-tagged stories. Then do something, that’s right, contact these pros for your next project. Repeat. And eventually maybe, just maybe, I’ll begin to see that number that has dogged my own profession begin to rise.