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In Conversation: Nicole Crentsil

Nicole Crentsil is the Founder and CEO of Black Girl Fest (BGF). Black Girl Fest is a global creative studio designing solutions to better the lives of Black women, girls and non-binary people.

The Floor Mag caught up with Nicole ahead of the start of last week's BGF, held at Somerset House.


How did you come up with BGF? What gap did you seek to fill?

The need to see more Black women taking centre stage sharing our stories, experiences and being our most authentic selves is the core reason for the festival. For too long cultural spaces didn’t include such an intersectional voice bringing together the complex, creative and captivating lives of our community.


I remember attending my first festival in 2019, what’s changed since then?

The business has changed massively. In previous years the festival was all we did, over the last 3 we’ve pivoted to become more than the fest. We now operate as a global creative studio designing solutions to better the lives of Black women, girls and non-binary people.


Sabrina attends BGF in 2019

This year’s theme is JOY, what are you hoping attendees take from this year's Festival?

I’m so excited that our festival will be returning and for the very first time, taking place across two days this summer at Somerset House. Having spent the last few years pivoting the business post covid-19, it was important for us to bring back one of the UK’s most highly favoured events which set the foundations for who we are today. Joy has always been an intrinsic part of our culture but one that often takes a backseat in our everyday lives. This year, we hope to bring back familiar joyful moments by inviting our community to explore what joy means to them.


You took a break in 2020 to really foster growth within your community. Can you tell us what you’ve been up to?

Our first three years were spent producing iconic festival experiences all whilst still operating as a side project to a full-time job. Covid and the social shifts that followed challenged us to think differently about community, connection and growth.


Over the last 18 months, we’ve hired a brilliant new team, moved into a beautiful office & event space, established our CIC arm, launched multiple programmes and built our very own web app.


We took our time to carefully consider every detail of our brand to give BGF a new, sleek and futuristic look that reflects the progressive energy of the work that we do. In addition, each project now has it's own recognisable, fun and bold branding. Projects include; BGF Academy, The Club, BGF Creative Fund, BGF Studio and of course our renowned Festival.


Speaker Janay Marie on Jamaica at 61 and Notting Hill Carnival

Since starting BGF is there a particular standout memory for you?

It’s got to be our most recent Girlhood project – a series of events programmes and opportunities for young Black girls. It’s a project so close to my heart and definitely a piece of work that makes my inner child smile.


What can we expect from the Glossier x Ebay partnership?

An in-depth look into grantees and sellers from our programmes with both brands. You’ll get to engage and buy from founders directly whilst hearing their story on the main stage.


As an organisation you’ve poured so much into young people. Why?

We strongly believe the next generation are a powerful force is shaping the way society views our community. It makes sense for us to work closely with them creating a pathway for their success.


How can people not attending support BGF?

Follow us on socials, attend one of our events or sign up to our programmes over on www.blackgirlfest.com


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