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UPDATED!!!! The Top 20 Revealed And You're Invited!

There are rarely times when I am speechless, but today, I found myself at a loss for words.  I am overjoyed by the outpouring of support for the 2014 African American Top 20 Event.  My team and I have been working around the clock to bring you a first-class event that celebrates black designers and our future in this industry.

Many of you have the same story as I did starting out; you love design, but lack the knowledge on how to enter the industry or, better yet, how to find mentors.  I get your emails and read your Facebook posts.  You are on the hunt and are looking for people in the industry that look like you and who share your worldview.

I get it.  {

See the list here.

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When I was the president of the Home Economics Club in high school, I wasn't sure what an interior designer did.  Education and access is what kept me from pursuing a degree in design earlier in life.  I, like many of the designers on the list,started designing only after pursuing a different field.

 Now, here I am. Twelve years and more than 80,000 square feet of decorated space later, I've finally found my way. It has taken lots of trial and error and a never-ending dedication for furthering my education.  I've had some lucky breaks, but if others are going to grow and prosper in this industry,  they are going to need a little more than luck.

Hopefully, having the a reference of African American designers will be an important step in maximizing their efforts.  I knew that talented black designers were out there, but the question remained: Where are they?  I realized that I had to take the initiative to create a platform to showcase the African American presence in design.  When I started the African American Top 20 List in 2011, I simply wanted to provide a resource for any one looking to work for or with a designer of color.

 I want to thank you for supporting my efforts to expand opportunities and exposure for Black designers.  I've given my all to bringing you a mix of professionals whose style and approach to design are as diverse as you all are.

 It has been a labor of love. I have truly enjoyed getting to know each of the designers on the list and doing what I can to support and uplift them.

I want to include you in this celebration and so I'm extending a special invitation to you.

Please mark your calendars, and book your flights! This year's events are taking place in Atlanta, May 8 - 10.
Join us as we roll out the red carpet for the best and brightest our community has to offer!

If you attended the event in New York, you know we really had a wonderful time.  Designer and bloggers mixed and mingled with celebrities and media executives who all reveled in the opportunity to talk design all evening long.

This years' events will be a great follow-up to the New York event.  Although we won't have Jay-Z's 40/40 club as a backdrop, we will have the ever stylish W Hotel Downtown as our milieu. Join us there on Thursday evening, as we raise a glass and congratulate the 2014 recipients.  
Then, wake up Friday morning and make your way to the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center (ADAC) for a panel discussion with renowned designer Ron Woodson, Lisa Turner, Michel Boyd and Alicia Lamar.  This group has a stellar client roster and will share behind-the-scene tips and strategies for growing a business in this highly competitive industry.
After the panel discussion, come mingle and take pictures with your favorite designers from the Top 20 list during a reception in the Baker Showroom.Following the reception, Baker Furniture will welcome Sheila Bridges for a fun Q + A and book signing.
Then take a break or nap or both and get ready for an intimate social loft party hosted at the mid town loft of Michel Boyd of Smith Boyd Interiors.  This is going to be a high-energy event with lots of music and fun giveaways.  We have some really cool partners and can't wait to shower you with all kinds of design novelties.
On Saturday morning at 10:30a.m., we will meet in Buckhead for a guided tour of the Atlanta Symphony Show House.  Join Michel Boyd and Janice Palmer as they lead you though the space they have created. Please follow this link to get your tickets.

Space is filling up fast; so please RSVP today! I'll see you in May.

I can hardly wait!

The AATOP20 Celebration Was Epic... Here's Why

Top 20 Event Photos