From NY To Nashville: The New Creatives On The Block

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There is a new Nashville Renaissance brewing and it has been great to see. With this new renaissance, a trend is emerging of new creatives and entrepreneurs of color deciding to call this city home. I had the chance to sit down with three progressive women who have moved (or come back) to Nashville for new opportunities from New York. Traditionally, this story is usually flipped as people normally want to chase their dreams in the Big Apple. This is why, I was so excited to share as it confirms Nashville definitely has something to say.

As past agency creatives at Translation (the infamous cultural agency), their stars aligned for them to all come to Nashville around the same time. Connected through their relationship with Tiffany Hardin, a fun-loving spirit who first discovered Urbaanite and then, knew this would be a great story I needed to share. During our conversation, it was cool to hear their fresh perspectives on Nashville and the vision each of them are seeking to bring into this city. I hope you enjoy meeting these ladies as they share why they are betting on Nashville to be a game-changing move. I will second that.

Tiffany Hardin

Tiffany Hardin is the CEO of Gild Creative Group, a marketing agency supporting clients who consciously innovate and elevate the well-being of the culture. 

Why did you move to Nashville from New York?

I had no intention of moving to Nashville. It was really kind of an accident. I was sitting in my Harlem, NY apartment and I felt like I was going crazy because I wasn’t where I wanted to be and didn’t know what to do about it. I had been living in NY for 12 years at that point and I literally heard God whisper “go to Nashville”. My parents lived in Lebanon, so I decided that I would move back for 6 months and then make my way to LA. I would later lose my mother in the summer of 2020 and realize Nashville is where I needed to be.

What are you currently creating in the city?

My mission is about gathering people who are conscious hustlers and those who understand what it means to integrate intention, and the pursuit of excellence. It’s what I require out of both myself and the people around me. When I moved here, I was searching for the African American marketers in Nashville. There aren’t really a ton of agencies here and definitely not Black-owned agencies, so I am looking forward to sharing my creative skills. Like Tuwisha, I’m also in the space of legacy-building and creating generational wealth. I’m really attracted to the entrepreneurial scene out here and I want to help in building up the startup/tech scene here. Through my agency, I’ve been working with consumer tech brands and supporting their growth from a cultural marketing perspective. My goal is to be a part of this Nashville Renaissance.  

What impact do you hope to have on Nashville?

There are tons of people here from both coasts. I just want to be a part of putting fuel on the all the new and hidden things already popping here in Nashville.  I really think the energy here is a huge part of why we are going to see the changes I think many want to see for this city.

Netta Dobbins

Neeta Dobbins

Netta Dobbins is a Nashville native and a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. Neeta is the CEO of Mimconnect, (Minorities In Media Connect), a diversity consulting agency helping companies recruit and retain diverse employees while also helping minorities in media advance in their careers. She took some time away from her hometown but recently moved back and loving all the fresh new vibes the city is giving.

Why did you move to Nashville from New York?

I knew I was done with New York after living there for 5 years. I came to Nashville with the intention to stay for about a month, but I arrived the same night the tornado hit the city. Then COVID hit New York the following week, so I saw that as a sign for me to just stay put. I planned on going back to New York once COVID left, but months later, as we all know, COVID was still here. I decided I would officially come back home and grow my tech startup right here. 

What are you currently creating in the city?

I feel like a lot of Nashville natives leave the city and never come back. I came back to be able to show Black talent in Nashville all the opportunities available to them in a southern city. MimConnect started as a need to create a community of people who understood the nuances of navigating corporate America. They were the professionals, like me who were often the only people in the room. I was also normally, the only African American and often among the youngest, and I wasn’t even from New York City. MimConnect started as groupchat to help me build the community I wanted to see and in about 2 weeks, there were over 300 people sharing their like-minded experiences.    

What impact do you hope to have on Nashville?

As a Nashville native who grew up out north, moved away and recently moved back. I want to showcase the beauty and privilege that lies here in Nashville.

Tuwisha Rogers-Simpson

Tuwisha Rogers-Simpson

Tuwisha Rogers-Simpson is a New Jersey native and the VP of Branding and Partnerships at the National Museum of African American Music. Many consider her to be one of the leaders in integrated media management, specializing in multicultural media, strategy, production, and public relations. She defintely has a unique perspective on this growing “It” city and hoping to leave a legacy that celebrates our culture for many, many years to come.

Why did you move to Nashville from New York?

I’m a Jersey girl who worked in New York. I have been able to do so many great things in media from working with 106 & Park to creating the in-house agency for Urban One. Then one day, I just decided that I didn’t want to do it anymore. I wanted to walk in my ministry of legacy building. Tiffany actually told me about the museum and the open position, and she really pushed me to explore it, when I was pushing it away. I’m happy that I did reach out because it turns out that my broad skillset was exactly what they were looking for. I moved my family here less than two years ago, and we fell in love with the city. 

What are you currently creating in the city?

Working at the museum is a legacy project for me. I am the lady behind the NMAAM Sony and Amazon deals. We’ve been in the press consistently for about 30 to 60 days since opening, and I am really proud of that. The goal is to help transform NMAAM from a museum to an institution. This brand needs to become the intersection between music and Black culture. I also want to create programming that is accessible, local, and national. We’re planning a weekend around Juneteenth that will include a summit, a gala, and a Black cultural festival. I want to package the experience in something I call National Noir with the museum as a gathering spot. 

What impact do you hope to have on Nashville?

The energy in this city is so good. I don’t want people to think that New York is trying to overtake Nashville. I want to help as we all are trying to put Nashville on the map because the city deserves it. I want to be a part of the positive energy that is already vibrating here. I am actually working on a project for the museum that is positioned to be a new staple, annual event for the culture here in Nashville. Stay tuned!

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