Trailblazers & Trendsetters: 11 Black Creatives Defining Style, Culture in 2021
By Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson, Latria Graham, Hali Bey Ramdene and Veronica Toney | February 01, 2021
2020 brought a pandemic, a social justice revolution, and a high-stakes presidential election. But for makers and artists, the landmark year also spurred significant growth and change. Here’s how 11 talented creatives met the moment.
Founder of Harlem Candle Co.
Teri Johnson loves candles: first as a consumer, then as homemade gifts for family and friends, then as a side business to sell at farmers markets and pop-ups in Harlem, New York. In 2014, she foundedHarlem Candle Co., a luxury candle collection that has since expanded to include reed diffusers, room sprays, and accessories.
"When I was making them in my kitchen, I'd have to make hundreds of candles because I had a pop-up the next day," she says. "Your energy goes into it, so I really do love candles. And I love being able to make something that's going to bring joy to someone's life."
And with so many spending more time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, candle sales are up. One of Johnson's goals is to transport you to a different time or space through aromatherapy. With names like "Savoy," "Ellington," and "Brownstone," each of her soy candles boasts subtle fragrances that pay homage to the Harlem Renaissance. That could be to Josephine Baker's dressing room filled with the fresh scent of Moroccan rose, or tobacco notes that suggest a night with Langston Hughes, or even on stage with Billie Holiday and the scent of gardenias she famously wore in her hair.
Black History Hero
"Josephine Baker was extremely resilient ... She was a fearless, bold, beautiful force, and she was so far ahead of her time. For her to be that way back then in the 1920s as a Black woman, that just took so much courage."
Nude Barre. "They have tights and leggings, and now bras that match your skin tone. They're so comfortable, and the founder is actually Harlem-based. It's so nice to be able to wear a brown bra that matches your skin."