Young Black Trailblazers Get Their Flowers at ‘The CCNYC’s’ First Ever Creative Class Awards


by Veracity Savant

February 29, 2024

It was an esteemed night of excellence!

Young Black creatives gathered in full force for The Creative Collective NYC’s (CCNYC) First Annual Creative Class Awards. Presented by Max, the event celebrated and honored the most brilliant and innovative creative minds across entertainment, tech, social impact, fashion, and beyond. A star-studded night to remember, the awards proved to be a dazzling showcase of talent, collaboration, and groundbreaking creativity. 

The Creative Collective was founded in Harlem by Imani Ellis in 2017. The brilliant mind behind offerings like CultureCon and the annual Creative Class cohorts, the awards first launched in 2020, celebrating young Black creatives shaping industries, building community and inspiring the masses. Past Creative Class honorees have included COVID-19 scientist Kizzmekia Corbett, activist Brittany Packnett Cunningham, journalist Gia Peppers, and more. The Creative Collective community has grown tremendously since its origins, now becoming the largest platform for Black and Brown creatives and young professionals looking to thrive in their respective careers. 


“We’re on a mission to platform pioneering Black creatives and celebrate their countless contributions and lasting impact. The remarkable impact of these culture-shifters truly uplifts us while inspiring the next generation of world-changing dreamers to relentlessly pursue their own dreams,” said Ellis via statement. 

On February 28th, The Creative Class had the first-ever in person celebration for its honorees, the incredible community coming together to champion those pushing Black creativity forward and making a huge societal impact with their work. The night featured major partners including Prime, Topicals, Ciroc Limonata, and Gucci Changemakers, honoring a cohort of 55 individuals including Grammy-nominated singer Coco Jones, tech guru and Spatial Labs co-founder Iddris Sandu, Gen Z corporate influencer DeAndre Brown, esthetician and Dior skin-care expert Sean Garrette, Mandy Bowman, the founder of Official Black WallStreet, and many more. 

Founder and CEO Imani Ellis took the stage, setting the tone for the night in an event that aimed to not only be glamorous but to celebrate the outstanding achievements in the room and foster a sense of unity and support within the diverse creative landscape. As honorees in the Entertainment & Arts, Entrepreneurship & Tech, Health & Wellness, Fashion & Beauty, and Social Good categories stood to thunderous applause, the night also featured three major awards for some of culture’s biggest changemakers. 


One of the highlights of the evening was the “Creator On The Rise Award,” given to Syreeta Singleton, who received a standing ovation from the crowd. An emerging screenwriter, known for her work on Issa Rae’s hit shows Insecure and Rap Sh*t, the latter of which she served as showrunner, Singleton is known for centering Black women in her work. 

Singleton revealed that this was her first ever award and one she didn’t take lightly as she reflected on what it meant to be a Black woman in Hollywood and the work ethic it took to get where she’s at now. She thanked Rae for taking a chance on her, as well as her late father, mother, children, and all those who believed in her work.


“I held on to this dream for a very long time, sharing my ideas with anyone who would listen and it was looking kind of sketchy for a second, but we figured it out…and to all the creatives in this room whose work continues to inspire me, I’m so honored to share this space with you” Singleton said to applause. 

Also honored with the “Culture Certified Award” was Dominique Fishback, a phenomenal Emmy-nominated actress whose work in the 2021 film “Judas and the Black Messiah” and on Donald Glover’s hit Prime series “Swarm,” has already begun to transform the cultural landscape. Fishback received her literal and metaphorical flowers for her work, getting emotional as she opened her acceptance speech with a prayer and reflected on her journey as an artist. 

“I am the person that I am today because of my mother. When I was younger I was writing a lot of poetry and my poetry would be really really honest…and my mother, she never said ‘Oh Dom you can’t say that, that’s my business’…she always said ‘It’s your truth Dom, you get to say it too.’ And because of that, I am the artist and person I am today, so I thank you [Mom] for that…and I want to thank you guys for making space [to express the fullness of my experiences]. For making space for me,” said Fishback. 


The night continued to be phenomenal, filled with gratitude as past honorees took the stage to pass the baton to the next cohort of creatives. Max offered interactive exhibits for attendees with Prime also in attendance to champion the new generation of talent. Also honored with the “Creative Disruptor Award” was fashion giant Brandon Blackwood, whose team accepted the award on his behalf. 

Throughout the evening, there was a palpable sense of camaraderie and mutual respect among attendees, further emphasizing the importance of The Creative Collective’s work and mission. The first annual Creative Class Awards proved to be a resounding success, setting a high bar for the future of young Black innovators. As the curtains closed on a night of glamour, talent, and innovation, the winners left the stage with awards in hand, and the audience departed with a renewed sense of pride in the vibrant and dynamic spirit defined by a new crop of burgeoning creatives. 

Check out the full list of 2024 Creative Class Honorees here.


Cover photo: Young Black Trailblazers Get Their Flowers at ‘The CCNYC’s’ First Ever Creative Class Awards/Photo by Kai Tsehay/TheCCNYC/Instagram

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