On the sofa with
Tamara N. Houston
- June 15, 2021
- Managing Partner, The Pavilion of the African Diaspora
- What we do for client:
- Public Relations
Tamara Houston is the founder of heritage development enterprise ICON MANN, a published author, and an entertainment producer. Together with renowned designer Ini Archibong she co-curated the Pavilion of the African Diaspora, an educational facility at the London Design Biennale.
Q: Tell us about ICON MANN
ICON MANN is not a social justice or policy platform. We are about direct engagement and working across channels from boardrooms to studio campaigns to original productions, to positively rewrite and reposition the narrative of black men. We move in power to create pathways and opportunities.
Q: What inspired you to launch ICON MANN?
When I started at the William Morris Agency [one of the US’ leading talent and media companies], I was startled to see how disproportionate the representation and handling of Black male talent was. Actors and musicians with lots of success were required to audition and meet (multiple times) on things that lesser-known white actors received offers for.
Q: What inspired you to create the Pavilion of the African Diaspora?
My intent with the pavilion was really to use the skills that I have to empower the collective vision that Ini and I share for our people and the genius of his creative. In doing so we benefit the multitude of people that represent the diaspora, a culture that has so often been marginalized, and provide a platform for them to express themselves.
Q: What are the new issues (if any), or are black men still battling the same issues?
Recognition and Value (of self and community), Resonance (legacy and permanence), and Pathways (creating) that strength our people, who we are to one another and who we are to self. These are the same issues. I am just changing how and where we address them.
Q: Do you feel allyship is forthcoming in the UK?
Allyship is here. There is no future without it. The idea of a homogenous existence is not sustainable.