Welcome everyone! My name is Imani Evora and I am the Founder & CEO of We Are Made Studios. Maybe you’ve heard me on our black creative series, “We Are Made Podcast” or maybe this is our first encounter, either way, I’m happy you are here! Today I want to bring more clarity to what we do and the inner details of how this space was created including my personal experience.
I often receive questions about how we started, what we offer, and who this is for. I figured who better to answer these burning questions than me. So let’s dive into it!
Where it all began...
The idea for WAMS first came to me in 2018. At the time I had a concept for a gathering space but no form of direction on how this space would serve others. I kept thinking to myself, What is this for? Who is this for? Why does this space matter? I even quit my job of 4 years to start it. But the truth is I talked myself out of the idea before I could even get it off the ground. At the time I didn’t feel confident enough in the idea or even in myself, so I let it go and tried a few personal projects in between.
Fast forward to 2020, I get this grand idea AGAIN, but this time I had an idea to start hosting in-person gatherings specifically for black creatives in the South. I noticed everything that felt “cool or trendy” was located on either the West Coast or in New York. As a woman born and raised in the South I wanted to change that. So I started to map out my plan, I got a few friends on board, worked on the branding, and even closed down my private consulting practice and then BOOM, COVID hits! At the time all I could think was, “Here we go again”. As many of you know large groups were out of the question, so that meant no gathering, which also meant this idea had no chance, or so I thought. I decided instead to pivot. I partnered with another creative organization by the name of CreativeMornings and started hosting bi-weekly gatherings online. Everyone loved it including me but something was still missing, it didn’t quite feel like I was truly heading in the right direction. For weeks I continued to facilitate gatherings and go back and forth with myself about what to do next. Then one day after sitting on the question long enough the answer appeared. What about a black creative series? I decided this time to take immediate action before my overthinking kicked in. For starters, I knew what I wanted. I wanted the medium to be audio, I wanted a variety of guests, I didn’t want it to sound like a typical podcast with back and forth commentary, I wanted to narrate, I knew it needed to be well under 45 minutes and lastly I knew I wanted a show that centered who they are, not only what they do.
We Are Made Studios was officially launched to the public in July of 2021. In a matter of 2 weeks, I had 20 black creatives from different backgrounds agree to an interview, and I began recording in September of 2021. We released our first episode of the, “We Are Made Podcast” later that December. From there the series began to bloom and other show ideas began to follow. The best part is one day as I was daydreaming the vision began to expand and my purpose became more clear. I was going to create a black media company that would center the stories and experiences of people of color. I not only wanted to showcase our black excellence, but I also wanted to preserve our stories and voice, I wanted to have a space that gave us back our narrative, a space that allowed black people to feel seen.
We Are Made Studios is ultimately a gathering space that not only produces and explores but discovers the fullness of black life through the eyes of black perspective. Where the narrative should have always begun. So now that you know how we began and the basics of what we do. The bigger question is what do we have in store for you guys?
Inside the Studio
We launched We Are Made Presents (formerly known as We Are Made Radio) at the top of 2022 to provide space for our podcast, future short- films and collaborations. Not only will we continue to produce original series, we will also be adding featured projects developed by other amazing black creatives. Our main objective is to showcase honest reflections and interpretations of the world in which we experience through digital and visual storytelling. These series will cover topics across the black diaspora, I’m talking culture, history, food traditions, black hair, black love and so much more. This is only the beginning.
Currently we’re directing our focus to hosting workshops and more pop-up gatherings in 2022. My overall desire for We Are Made Studios is to serve as a space to truly impact your life and make room for you to feel more comfortable in who you are in a space that celebrates such.
Here’s something I’ve never told anyone before, our name “We Are Made” was originally an affirmation that I created for myself in times when I felt unworthy, limited and self-conscious about the opportunities before me. I used to tell myself over and over again that “I was made for this”. And somehow after saying it enough times, I began to convince myself of the words, and soon “I” became “we”.
I want to leave you with a piece of advice followed by encouraging words. If you receive nothing from this space, nothing from each other, I want you to witness your worth and value in a space that is filled with people and projects made for and by others who look exactly like you. By people who too have been through life’s hardships, discriminations, and moments of unworthiness. This is a space for all of us, this is a space where we belong because we were made for this.