[Moving Forward] A Nu Direction for The:nublk
Gabstamatic | On 27, Dec 2015
In 2008, I began to lay the foundation for a space that I had no idea would make the impact it has done. All I knew is that it should be a place for people like me – young, black and creative.
I launched Thenublk around the same time Barack Obama was running and subsequently elected as President of the United States of America, and had also recently started working for ITV News as a trainee Graphic Designer and the two things blew my mind.
In the years to come I would go on to create graphics for significant global events including the 2008 Presidential Election, The London 2012 Olympics and the death of iconic figure Nelson Mandela to name a few.
In contrast Thenublk began to achieve notable successes including participating in Africa’s first ever Social Media Week which took place in Nigeria, hosting our first international event in Brooklyn as well as various speaking engagements including London School of Economics, Google’s Top Black Talent and University of Arts London.
I’ve often referred to The:nublk as an entity that is quite separate from my ‘normal’ life but in the 7 years since its inception I’m now seeing it’s mirrored much of my own journey.
Through this platform I’ve been able to establish something, which is bigger than the blog it started out to be. Those of you who have rocked with me from the early days have come to understand and appreciate the values which the platform holds in seeking to create and curate a level of excellence from its visual identity to the events we’ve put on and the people we’ve chosen to work with – all of whom have shared a similar vision.
What’s in a name?
I recall the day after Oprah’s interview with Pharrell Williams and how his definition of what ‘The New Black’ meant to him caused some to be upset and for the term to be used in a way to identify a particular ilk of Black people. Despite the term now having some what negative connotations, in the words of Skepta:
As much as I’ve tried to avoid labels, I chose a name that causes some to feel apprehensive. “It’s very pro-black.” *deep sigh* Although I’ve often had issues with re-defining the term for myself I’ve learned to accept that in unapologetically celebrating blackness you’re often times placed in that bracket.
A Nu Start?
In order to continue to grow, sometimes the things you’ve become most comfortable with need to be laid to rest. Thenublk is a community and in order to create an adequate space for it to continue to flourish it’s time to move house. Just like moving out of any home, there are things I will take with me and also things I have to leave behind and such will be the same for The:nublk. This is both an exciting and scary moment to have reached, but I have faith that what’s next will be yet another valuable learning experience.
Having already curated a number of culturally engaging experiences since the platform’s creation our focus in 2016 will be to continue to build on these experiences both online and offline.
To all of the creatives who have given their time to let me share their work, thank you for helping build this space with me. For those of you who sought to have The:nublk be one of the first platforms to feature your work, it’s been beautiful seeing your growth from emerging designers, poets, and art students to these creative powerhouses.