Creator and founder of CultureCon, Imani Ellis, talks the future of the event

CultureCon had its Los Angeles debut and theGrio caught up with founder Imani Ellis to discuss the event.

CultureCon made its way to Los Angeles for the first time and theGrio’s James L. Gilmore caught up with Imani Ellis, the event’s founder, to talk about her vision. The video can be seen above; the transcript below has been lightly edited for clarity.

James L. Gilmore [00:00:07] TheGrio here at CultureCon with Imani Ellis.

Imani Ellis [00:00:10] That’s right!

Gilmore [00:00:11] The creator of CultureCon, the first ever. How does it feel getting all these Black entrepreneurs and people together?

Ellis [00:00:17] It feels so great. I feel like we’ve been working on this for seven months, so to breathe it into the world is so exciting.

Gilmore [00:00:23] Yeah. So a word to get these Black creators, entrepreneurs all in one space, like what is the vision? What are we trying to achieve here? Getting these people in one located area.

Ellis [00:00:36] We’re really trying to reimagine how we think about community and networking, right? So we think about these swim lanes like you’re going to go to this specific conference and you’re only going to talk about money. Right? But what if you went to a conference and you could talk about entrepreneurship, you could talk about life, you could talk about dating, like we’re not a monolith. And so CultureCon is about all parts of culture.

Gilmore [00:00:55] So, you know, Juneteenth is here. It’s a celebration. Why this month? Why did CultureCon bring it in now? What’s the significance behind that?

Ellis [00:01:04] Well, listen, it’s Juneteenth. What’s blacker than Juneteenth? We had the pop up Juneteenth weekend in L.A. The weather’s perfect, the vibes are immaculate. It’s going to be a really pretty day.

Gilmore [00:01:14] So with everything going on, I know this is the first time. Where do you see this going? Like, what’s next for you?

Ellis [00:01:23] So this is our first time in L.A., but this is our sixth CultureCon conference. And so, we’re going to be in New York in the fall– two day conference, 10,000 people. So it’s just the beginning, honestly.

Gilmore [00:01:33] What words of advice would you give other entrepreneurs like yourself who would like to create something, seeing you up on this pedestal at CultureCon? What word of advice would you give other Black people to go out there and go get their dreams?

Ellis [00:01:45] You know, I think it’s so easy to start with like the biggest dream that you ever had. I know people say dream really big. I’d like to argue to actually start kind of small. When I really started my community, I never could have imagined we’d have over 150,000 people. I really only wanted to start with one to one relationships. So really nourishing actual relationships don’t be transactional, the rest of follow.

Gilmore [00:02:07] Imani, thank you so very much for your time. theGrio at CultureCon. Thank you so very much. We’re excited for this event.

Ellis [00:02:13] Love you theGrio! Thank you.

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