Black Artists United

Young Black Artists Conference


In recognition of the growing number of Black people, particularly the youth, who aspire to pursue careers in the arts and entertainment industries, but aren’t informed of the psychology and structure of these industries, we, Mikal K. Odom and Gary Hines, wish to conduct a one-day conference to address these issues and more. In the spirit of the Knight Brothers and their mission, we plan to address the needs and concerns of the local community. We feel that many Black youth are unaware of the false and often unrealistic portrayal of celebrities in the arts and entertainment industries. We feel that of these young artists are getting wrong messages and wealth, fame and power. We would like to address this information with this facilitated and interactive workshop.


Some of the objectives of the conference are to teach Black artists:


  • How to better understand the business side of cultural expression
  • How to navigate the various artistic industries
  • How to create and maintain a career in arts and entertainment
  • How to work with a variety of artists and supporters

Our plan is to address these unreal expectations that are often portrayed in the media and on television. Many young Black teens in general dream of big houses, fancy cars and the top-shelf lifestyle that few achieve and even less know how to handle. Another objective is to connect these young artists with each other to explore their thoughts and ideas on how to work effectively in the industry.


Outcomes of the conference:


  • To facilitate an ongoing series of workshops and events that are subject-focused based on the information presented
  • To connect Black artists with industry experts and other artists in attendance, and encourage them to seek support and make connections
  • To instill Black artists with the knowledge to take control of their art and create the resources needed to make their artistic dreams into reality
  • We also strive to recruit a variety of artists from the local communities including singers, actors, poets, writers and creative artists because we feel the message transcends the arts industry.

By enlisting the assistance of experienced Black performers (actors, singers, dancers, etc.), producers (writers, directors, etc.) and sports professionals, the conference will tackle and explore the following topics, and more, through a series of workshops and breakout sessions:


–       Marketing and how it not only plays a vital role in one’s success, but why it holds particular significance to the Black artist/entertainer (i.e. celebrity culture)


–       Being one’s self, and the consequences and benefits of “selling out” to corporate demands (i.e. crossover effect)


–       Economic and political realities in America and how this affects the Black artist


–       Financing and finding/creating support for one’s self and one’s work


Our hope with the conference is that participants will not just takeaway a more informed view of these industries and the professions within them, but also gain a greater understanding of the responsibility that Black artists, entertainers and creators have on the larger society.


Experts that will be targeted to facilitate workshops will include:


  • Sports professionals: players, agents, coaches, management, etc.
  • Musicians: singers, composers, etc.
  • Film/TV/Theater Producers and Technicians (i.e. behind-the-scenes): writers, directors, photographers, editors, etc.
  • Performers: actors, dancers, etc.
  • Other entertainers, artists, managers not listed here
Gary Hines Podcast