Curran Swint and Shaheed Rucker, photo by Nik C. Photography
Black is Beautiful is an all-black affair that is curated by 3 young adult African-American entrepreneurs, which is an event that creates a space for predominantly black young adults from all walks of life to meet and socialize with one another.
For five years, Philadelphia socialites and entrepreneurs Curran J. Swint, Shaheed Rucker and Curtis Bryant have successfully executed the event with more than 350 attendees, both men and women, wearing black in solidarity. Attendees come to the Germantown Cricket Club, which was once a venue for the predominantly white demographic, to enjoy food, drinks and music as well as receive and make professional connections with those that they can potentially work with or for in the future. This being the sixth year was not any different for Swint, Rucker and Bryant.
Shaheed Rucker, CEO and founder of the non-profit organization Changemakers and the clothing brand Anderung explained the role that he has within society as a young African-American male with both of his businesses.
“Changemakers and Anderung is a lifestyle,” says Rucker. “I feel that it helps me stay mindful of the needs of others. They’re both companies that display the social message of “change” and “modification,” whether it’s in the form of creativity, community, health, and education. It’s a message to inspire good behavior.
Rucker explains before the big event day his interpretation of what the Black is Beautiful 6 message is as well as what he would like to see happen this year:
“During BB6 [Black is Beautiful 6] I hope that people learn to keep elevating personally and professionally,” says Rucker. “As we display the good deeds and business ran by others, I hope that it inspires others to keep striving for excellence.”
Rucker explains the inspiration behind the event:
The inspiration to Black is Beautiful was to unify all of the tastemakers and influencers in the city to network, inspire and socialize with each other, and preferably African-Americans. The event is used to showcase and highlight those in the African- American community making a difference in one setting while enjoying themselves in a fun atmosphere
“Resilience, perseverance, diversity, strength and the ability to overcome the odds is why black is beautiful and also anything goes with black,” Rucker laughs.
The concept of “Black is Beautiful” varies in meaning. For Curran J. Swint, stylist and CEO of the clothing brand Kings Rule Together, the title is aesthetically pleasing to the attendees.
“We want our guests to come dressed to impress for the occasions with their stylish all black attire appropriate for the event,” says Swint. “Naming it Black is Beautiful simplifies how we want our guest to act and dress.”
Swint established the clothing brand, Kings Rule Together in 2010.
“My brand’s mission is to create a way to promote positivity through fashion, arts, events and philanthropy,” says Swint. “So yes Black is Beautiful touches base on all of the above.”
Swint agreed that the event is supposed to attract young and ambitious black socialites and entrepreneurs.
“Yes with all our events that is always the goal,” says Swint. “Bringing in the right tastemakers always add to the exclusiveness of the event. Not only are you having a good time, but you’re able to enjoy it with the likes of other young, creative and artistic groups of people.”
Swint speaks of how the event started in 2008 by himself and his childhood friends.
“We started it because we knew that a lot of college kids would be returning home from school during the break would want to party somewhere,” says Swint. “So we wanted to capitalize on that momentum.”
Eventually the reasons behind the event expanded and evolved into what it is today.
Filmmaker, Curtis Bryant, provides details on the preparation of the event.
Curtis Bryant, photo by Nik C. Photography
“With an event of this magnitude it’s always about accommodating our crowd,” says Bryant.
He shares that there are a few contributing factors that makes the event so successful.
“Finding the perfect venue that has an elegant look to it and at the same time it has to hold 300-350 people comfortably,” says Bryant. “We have to select and easy yet suitable menu. There are little things like the look of the flyer and tickets, parking, coat check, and the DJ that also factor into the planning process to make the Black is Beautiful series awesome. We pride ourselves on making sure that we stay consistent with this process every year.”
Just hours and even weeks before the event guests took to social media, specifically Twitter and Instagram with the hashtags “black is beautiful 6” and “BB6.”
Approximately 350 people attended as the 3 men expected. The event’s attendees were predominately black and for many it was a way to connect with other ambitious black young adults. Current music and music from at least 30 years ago played by DJ Ricochet blared as attendees danced, talked, networked, complimented each other’s outfits and smiled. After a few guest trickled in and wondered around the vicinity, the rooms began to fill up quickly. Guests were able to enjoy pieces of art by the Philadelphia artist, Ameerah K. Art. Photographers took photos of Swint, Rucker and Bryant along with attendees. The evented lasted for approximately 4 hours.
Model, Glen McCree attended Black is Beautiful 6 and had a wonderful time just as Swint, Rucker and Bryant planned.”
“BB6 [Black is Beautiful 6] turned out absolutely stunning,” says McCree after the event was over. “It was amazing to see so many young, African-American artists, entrepreneurs, and professionals in one place. The atmosphere within the venue was very sophisticated and classy.”
McCree also states:
I ran into plenty of Philly’s finest up and coming photographers, rappers and stylists at BB6. Shaheed and Curran J. have my full support on whatever events they have their hands in because they are working for the greater good of the Philadelphia community. Giving back is not a problem for them.
Swint, Rucker and Bryant were delightful hosts who appeared to relax as the night went on, because for the sixth year in a row there event was yet another success.