Every few years, a concept is conceived with the potential to alter the fabric of how people connect with the arts and media. I believe I stumbled across that concept. Black Artist Café is a platform for promoting numerous artists and entrepreneurs of African descent. Queens, New York based social media content creator, Asjah Davis-Shim is the organization’s founder. With an educational background in Advertising, Marketing and Journalism, Davis-Shim intends to showcase the many aspects of black excellence. Black Artist Café’s mission is to create a framework for communities in need of positive representation – a safe space to enhance artistry and knowledge.
I had pleasure of speaking with Asjah about her business endeavors and the future of her platform.
How was the concept for Black Artist Café developed?
“The concept of Black Artist Café came about when I was at a art fair. As a communication major at FIT, I enjoyed writing and I wanted to interview artists. SPECIFICALLY people of color. When I went to the art fair, I noticed that all the Caucasians were front and center and all the African American artists were in the back. I genuinely detested that. So, I repurposed my discomfort and created something beautiful. [laughs]”
What were the biggest struggles you faced in establishing your business?
“My biggest struggle was prioritizing, putting what I truly wanted to do [Black Artist Café] first. Also, I struggled with asking for help. I thought I could do everything myself. Being a full-time student and a full-time worker, me balancing or putting anything first was truly a struggle for me.”
What are positive outcomes have you experienced connecting with your site’s demographic?
“The support. I have been on and off with posting consistently, but when I do, it’s nothing but support. Just watching people support me, and their businesses growing and expanding it’s like whoa! Also, seeing people from different countries, states and cities visiting my page.”
How do you see Black Artist Cafe expanding in the long term future?
“I see BAC becoming a charter school for the arts and business. Or at least something to support children artistically and entrepreneurially. My heart and business are for the kids, giving them an opportunity to live out their dreams as artists, or guiding them into pursuing business is truly a long term goal of mine.”
What advice would you give to others who have interest in developing their own platforms and starting their own businesses?
“Put what you want first. All that other buffoonery comes second and last. Set your goals with pure intentions, never ego. If you’re driven by ego, you will get nowhere. Also, know your demographic – who you’re aiming towards. When you start your platform, love it as if it’s your baby.”
Asjah’s business model as well as her demeanor was quite refreshing. I hope to see her and her business reach new heights in the near future.