On Saturday creatives from all over the tri-state area gathered for the first annual #CultureCon, a conference created to inspire and emboldened change-makers. Started by The Creative Collective NYC, the event welcomed over a hundred guests to panel discussions and mixers with Joshua Kissi, Kela Walker, Spike Lee and The Read co-host Crissle West. “Sometimes you start out with something that you think might be trash but keep pushing even when you think you shouldn’t and watch what hard work can do,” West told attendees. West, who started a podcast with comedian Kid Fury in 2013 that averages 200k an episode. Located at the Samsung 837 event space, #CultureCon attendees heard from Spike Lee about tapping back into their heritage to pull forth greatness. “Know your history and who set the foundation for you,” Lee said. “Draw strength from your ancestors.” Overall the full day of activities with a purpose to motivate creative professionals —publicists, artists, actors, financial analysts, app creators, teachers and tech enthusiasts— was a success. “I think there is always a need for more mentorship and creative collaboration,” Imani Ellis, the founder of The Creative Collective told ESSENCE. “That is really the lightbulb moment that birthed #TheCCnyc —I thought, ‘Why haven’t I invested more energy in collaborating with my friends? We all have our hands in different pots —why can’t we build something bigger together?'” Adding, “In addition to collaboration, mentorship is so important —even if you’re getting different guidance and feedback from different folks. I definitely believe you can have more than one mentor and your mentor can also be your friend —in most cases, that happens.” Photo Credit: Jamon Davis Photography