African American Footwear Forum Changes Name, Announces Advisory Committee

The African American Footwear Forum (AAFF), which looks to address and analyze diversity issues in the footwear field, announced today that is has changed its name to the Black Footwear Forum (BFF).

According to the leaders of the forum, the new name more accurately covers the footwear professionals and employees in the industry that the group seeks to represent. The date for the 2022 forum has yet to be announced, but it is slated to take place in Detroit, Michigan.

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“This announcement today is the natural next step in the evolution of this vitally important organization,” said Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design President Dr. D’Wayne Edwards. “There is much work that still needs to be done for our industry to continue to thrive and succeed and the BFF will play an important role in ensuring that happens. I look forward to strengthening and supporting black and brown footwear employees through the BFF knowing that Pensole Lewis will be there every step of the way.”

Powered by the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) and the Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design, the group today also announced the formation of an advisory committee that will guide strategies for community engagement, education, networking, events, and regional BFF chapters that are slated to launch in certain cities this year.

Members of the committee are as follows:

Brandis Russell, Converse
Dr. D’Wayne Edwards, Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design
Portia Blunt, Reebok
David Ballin, Puma
LaShae Boone-McCray, RG Barry Brands
Jazerai Allen-Lord, Founder, True to Size Agency
Kris Wright, Nike
Darla Pires DeGrace, DeGrace Group Consulting
Dace Graham, Target
Sabria Butler, FDRA

The Black Footwear Forum first met in February 2019. Since then, the forum has held an annual meeting, where industry leaders and supporters hold open conversations about the Black experience in the context of the footwear industry and work together on finding solutions.

“As we rebrand and with the establishment of this committee, I am excited to continue our work together in service to those in our dynamic community who drive creativity, architect new product expressions and bring joy to consumers all over the world,” said Converse executive and FDRA board member Brandis Russell.

As Black History Month begins, various brands and retailers have announced new initiatives to highlight Black voices and promote diversity. Today, Nordstrom launched a series of campaigns for Black History Month which highlight its diverse community of staff and consumers. The retailer is engaging with communities and highlighting Black-owned brands, Black food culture and stories among its Black employees.

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