Jazerai Allen-Lord wrote the book on forging new paths in the sneaker industry. Even though you may have first seen her on KicksonFire, you’ve also seen her everywhere else: from Quibi to Essense, from Insider to Highsnobiety, the pages of Sneakers (the book), plus her own Reebok collaboration. (Not to mention is the hottest podcast of the moment.) She speaks about more than just sneakers, widening the field for her own expression and those who will follow her.
Bimma Williams: What’s the difference between Diversity & Inclusion?
StockX: There is no Inclusion without Diversity, but Diversity does not equal Inclusion. A lot of companies amplify diversity because half of their team might be women, but the intersectional experience is not addressed i.e. being a BIPOC woman or a differently-abled woman. Inclusion is the act of providing an equitable and welcoming culture for your team so that you don’t experience retention problems.
Why is Diversity & Inclusion important to you?
Because as a Black woman who has worked and played in male-dominated spaces for her entire life, I wanted to see other people who looked like me in the room and at the table. And I want my sons to grow up in a world that is set up for them to thrive, not just survive.
Should we keep social justice topics and sneakers separate?
There is no way to keep social justice and sneakers separate when the multi-billion dollar sneaker industry was built on the back of Black culture. Black culture is the foundation of sneaker culture, and the disparities and suggestion of separation are disgusting, at best.
What influences you right now?
Gen Z, my ancestors, my peers, my God.
What’s next for you?
My team is currently leading Special Projects for Palladium US, working on Women’s storytelling with 1XRUN, and leading Marketing Initiatives for Steven Tyler’s Janie’s Fund. I also tell Black sneaker stories, from the Black perspective on the adidas CONFIRMED app and will be speaking at the London Design Museum this summer.
Stay tuned for a conversation between Jazerai Allen-Lord, Bimma Williams, Frank Cooke, and Bernie Gross presented by StockX later this month. And look out for more from the Visiting Voices program in the future.