Celebrating Black Trailblazers in the LGBTQ+ Community

Learning from Black LGBTQ+ individuals

Tamrah Chalom

Category: Creative


As we acknowledge the triumphs and struggles of the Black community, we also recognize the unique challenges faced by multiple marginalized groups, specifically Black LGBTQ+ individuals. NJI, an LGBTQ-owned agency, stands in solidarity with the Black LGBTQ+ community and is committed to intersectional activism and support. 

As a creative agency, we recognize that Black LGBTQ+ individuals have always been at the forefront of creativity and self-expression, telling their stories and challenging dominant narratives, providing a unique and powerful voice within the Black community and beyond. We are proud to share just a few of the trailblazers that inspire us. 

Original photo by Serena Brown via NYTimes

Editor-in-chief of British Vogue and European Editorial Director of Condé Nast, Edward Enninful, is transforming fashion journalism. His commitment to diversity, inclusivity and representation has helped to shift the narrative in fashion, opening up new opportunities for Black and LGBTQ+ people in the industry. “I used to think that British Vogue wasn’t for me due to the lack of diversity,” shares Isabelle Gomis, NJI Senior Project Manager. “Since Edward joined, the magazine has enlisted an incredible array of creatives both in front of and behind the camera. I am now a proud subscriber, and every single month I am reminded of the incredible opportunities we can create for ourselves and others.” 

Original photo by Lebassis

Brazilian lettering artist and art director, Leandro Assis leverages design as a tool to discuss Black culture, gender topics, and LGBTQ+ rights. In doing so, he highlights and celebrates these under-represented communities. “I get excited when I see the work of Leandro, who has created a truly authentic place for himself to work — these are a lot of the same goals I’m striving for daily with our group of creatives at NJI,” Nathan Gomez, NJI Creative Director.

Original photo by Image by Ted Thai

Legendary writer, activist, and intellectual, James Baldwin challenged leaders to confront the intersections of race, sexuality, and justice. His essays, novels, and speeches remain a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggles for equality. “Baldwin’s life and work is but one of many steps leading us to a more just society for LGBTQ+ individuals, especially those who experience the intersectionality of being LGBTQ+ and Black,” Tracy Cooper, NJI Copy Editor.

Other Black LGBTQ+ individuals celebrated by our crew include Marsha P. Johnson, catalyst of the modern LGBTQ rights movement; Bayard Rustin, organizer of the March on Washington, and advocate for civil rights and gay rights; Alvin Ailey, influential dancer, choreographer, and founder renowned for his celebration of Black culture through movement; and Audre Lorde, feminist and civil rights activist known for her powerful literature on race, gender, sexuality, and social justice.

Whether through music, design, literature, or social justice, Black individuals continue to push the boundaries of creativity and activism, inspiring us to do the same. As we celebrate Black History Month, we acknowledge the important role that the Black community has played in shaping our cultural landscape and inspiring future generations to use their creativity as a tool for social change

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