AUGUST 20, 2020
A Creative Community Newsletter for Information and Inspiration
In an effort to live our values and support equity and inclusion in the creative industries, we will use our newsletter to amplify voices of BIPOC creatives in Washington State. Each month we will invite a guest curator who is a person of color and ask that they populate the newsletter with information and inspiration that reflects their perspective and their community.

Each section of this newsletter is curated by our special guest with the exception of the GET INFORMED section. If there is any breaking industry news that you should know about, Whipsmart will add it to the newsletter there.  

This is our very first guest curated newsletter. We hope you love it as much as we do!
Meet our guest curator, Michael Huang
Michael Huang, photo credit Milli
Hi, I’m Michael Huang: a native Seattleite and former big advertising exec turned creative agency owner with a background rooted in Hip Hop and street dance culture.

I founded my company, Milli, 6 years ago as a social media marketing firm after I led social strategy for United Airlines’ rebrand in 2013. Since then we’ve grown our practice to a social/community-focused approach to both brand and content strategy as well as content creation. We’ve launched new brands, helped old ones get relevant, worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, managed musicians, produced our own documentaries, and founded an organization to better connect underprivileged youth to creative industries. 

We love working with brands, we love creating beautiful content, and, most of all, we love serving our community. I especially get excited about young, people of color in the Northwest punching above their weight and doing big things in the creative community. In this newsletter, I’ll try to shed light on some of that work and those people in hopes that it’ll inspire others to continue to push forward in these crazy times - whether you related directly to their stories or are looking to diversify your own.
There’s a lot we can all be doing at any given moment. Between supporting social movements and relief efforts, to taking care of yourself and your own - there’s more to do than ever despite being restricted by a global pandemic. As a half-creative / half-manager of creatives, I’ve had the privilege of learning from both worlds and, despite being at odds in the workplace at times, their worlds can offer pretty congruent wisdom to each other. 

That said, here’s a helpful piece I wrote on my own daily ritual to help maintain sanity, productivity, and intentionality in these times.

For a direct and more detailed account of how this thinking has been applied, here’s a write-up on what we’ve done at Milli to respond to both the impacts of COVID-19 and the call-to-action behind recent social upheavals around racial injustice and the broader Black Lives Matter movement. 

And in the spirit of newsletter brevity, to boil all this down to one singular action: if you have the capacity, go see how you can volunteer and help with COVID-19 relief and/or social justice causes in your community.

Don’t see this as simply giving away your time or skills. Take it from me, this type of community engagement is an amazing way to create new opportunities for yourself; to learn new skills, network and collaborate with new people and organizations, and potentially find new, fulfilling, paid work. Creatives of all types are needed in these critical efforts - don’t sell yourself short by just waiting for commercial work - go get in where you fit in. 

A great example of a 100% volunteer effort entirely driven by artists was the recent REFILL livestream concert benefiting Seattle Artist Relief Fund. This team of musicians, designers, videographers, technical experts, producers, managers and more all banded together to raise over $20k for Seattle area artists!
Christine Geronimo is making music merch and more
to spread the creative love!
Christine Geronimo, owner of Midnight Supply Company,
a minority-woman-owned print shop!
Christine Geronimo (she/her) is a grassroots marketer. Much of her work over the past 10 years has revolved around merchandise and the local music community. She understands the importance of marketing through branded apparel and seeing the growth that it provides to independent artists. She is now the owner of Midnight Supply Company, a screen print shop, and cranegeronimo, a merchandise fulfillment business.
From music management to producing videos to coordinating merchandise operations to now owning your own print shop - you've covered a lot of ground. Tell us about your journey in your own words and what's connected it all together for you.
Music has always been a passion of mine. In college, I jumped at any opportunity to work within the local music scene and ended up making some of the best relationships I’ve had in my life. Through these relationships, I’ve been able to work on producing music videos and live shows; merchandise ended up being what connected me to it all. I grew up listening to late 90’s/early 2000’s pop music and my first concert was NSYNC at Tacoma Dome in 1999. I remember buying a t-shirt and the feeling it gave me every time I put it on. I like to think that the product we produce now at the print shop can give someone else that same feeling.
So Midnight Supply Co is a printing company but you're not like every other print house. Talk about MSC and what makes you different. 
MSC came from an already-existing print shop and has adapted significantly, especially in this past year. We moved to a new facility in South Park last summer and that has been a key factor in our growth as a team and company. What really sets us apart are our clients. We build relationships and an experience with our customers that they can’t get anywhere else. 
How has being a younger woman of color impacted / influenced your journey and approach to being a business owner - for better or worse? 
I’m proud to be a WOC-owned print shop. The further I get into this industry, the more I realize that minority representation is rare. Although I have little control over that, I do have control over promoting diversity within my company and working to elevate our presence in the industry.
What's your take on diversity and equity in the creative industry
and the business world - especially in Seattle? 
I feel extremely lucky to have had the experience of working with a diverse group of creatives in this city throughout my career. I think that it has been fundamental to my identity in the community. When we only surround ourselves with people who are just like us, we’re unlikely to see flaws in our thinking. It may be nice to always agree on things, but your product will ultimately suffer because you leave out people whose experiences are different than yours.
How has the combination of COVID-19 impacted your business and
what have you done to respond? Any overarching advice? 
As a small business owner, I definitely felt the disruptions of COVID-19. Initially, the entire staff was laid off. Since then, I’ve been having to rebuild our staff, structure and procedures, while also making sure we’re staying on top of production and our machines are continuously moving. 
I would just say to take it day-by-day, even hour-by-hour if you have to. Your mental health is so important.
You may not consider yourself a creative but you've worked alongside them all your career - some very accomplished ones at that.
What advice do you have for creatives trying to succeed,
especially during these trying times? 
This is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Although we’re quarantined right now, think about how you can use the internet to your advantage.
First and foremost, Black Lives Matter and doing all that we can to continue to support this movement, no matter who you are, should always be top of mind. Visit the Black Lives Matter website here.

That being said, community efforts to support include King County Equity Now, Decriminalize Seattle, as well as the national organization Movement For Black Lives.

When it comes to the creative community specifically, please consider supporting artist relief funds such as the Seattle Artist Relief Fund organized by Ijeoma Uluo through the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. If you’re an artist looking for relief, consider applying and/or looking through their resources section.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for BIPOC creatives
Work by Illustrator, Ras, featured on People of Craft
With everything going on, it’s been amazing to see all of the inspired work pushing for change at all levels - especially when it comes to representation in creative industries.

People of Craft is a growing list of creatives of color with a simple and beautiful goal of shifting what it means to be a creative i.e. who the “typical”creative is.

Bid.Black is a platform created by Sydni Chustz that unapologetically puts Black production talent in the spotlight. As an intern, Sydni realized that the brand she was working on had never awarded a black director a job in their 30-plus years of advertising. The list and platform is growing, check it out and stay connected to them!

Also, we have a similar, local effort to publicly record BIPOC production folks. Bookmark this so you can book these folks in the future and if you’re a BIPOC production professional, make sure to get yourself on this list!

Here are some more links to platforms for Black creative talent: Black Creatives Airtable, Blacks Who Design, #blkcreatives, Diverse Creatives, & Where Are The Black Designers?

Join Washington Filmworks on Friday, August 21st at 11:00 am for Safety on Set Conversation with Washington Filmworks: Q&A with Dr. Frederick, who currently works with COVID-19 patients at Swedish/Providence hospitals. We’ll talk about the latest medical information on COVID-19 and best practices to keep our sets safe during the pandemic. Topics will include what symptoms we should be looking out for, what the different types of tests are, and what it really means to quarantine. Bring any questions you might have and RSVP HERE!
At Whipsmart, we are unapologetic advocates for creative people and businesses. We give creative professionals the tools they need to succeed, by meeting them where they’re at—offering intentionally curated mentorships, job opportunities, and business resources scaled to every stage of their career.