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2022 Black Footwear Forum Brings More than 500 Footwear Industry Leaders and Aspiring Professionals to Detroit

Called BFF Homecoming 2022, Event Celebrates, Analyzes, and Elevates Diversity in the Footwear Industry



Detroit, MI – Oct. 6, 2022 – The 2022 Black Footwear Forum (BFF), held at Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design (PLC) in partnership with the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), welcomed more than 500 Black footwear industry leaders and aspiring professionals to in Detroit, this past September 16-18.

Called BFF Homecoming 2022, attendees, executives, industry leaders and the community of Detroit gathered for a three-day free event with celebrations, conversations, and networking as BFF continues to highlight, strengthen, and support Black professionals globally in the footwear industry.

“We called this year’s event ‘Homecoming’ because BFF is our moment to come together to reconnect, celebrate, educate, inspire, and just appreciate the Black geniuses who run this industry,” PLC founder and President Dr. D’Wayne Edwards said. “Every year, the BFF grows, not only in attendance but in cultural and industry significance. This year we gathered the most influential group of creatives, leaders, and aspiring future leaders of any conference to date.”­

Among the highlights of BFF Homecoming 2022 were:


Terrance Floyd:

BFF kicked off with an intimate and powerful conversation with the brother of the late George Floyd.

Free Game:

A panel hosted by James Whitner, the American fashion entrepreneur, owner of streetwear boutiques Social Status, A Ma Maniere, and A.P.B.; and featuring April Walker, fashion icon, creator, author, educator; along with American sports analyst and former professional basketball player Jalen Rose.

Blacklights Awards:

Presented to selected industry experts, including women’s advocate and sneaker strategist and Jazerai Allen-Lord; retail icon James Whitner; YouTube phenomenon Jacques Slade; community-builder Rick Williams; author and Katalyst Kevin Carroll; industry pioneer and footwear design legend Wilson Smith.

Sisters in Sole Women’s Brunch: Portia Blount, VP of Apparel for Reebok, and Jazerai Allen-Lord hosted a brunch for 75+ Black women to celebrate the many significant women in the footwear industry.

“Kids Are Ready for Design”:

A Kids Company About hosted a panel discussion for 200+ students at University Prep Elementary School that featured award winning designer, entrepreneur and educator, Jason Mayden.

Stockx created a lounge as an extension of BFF in downtown Detroit:

Highlighted by the KICKS Magazine tribute to Black designers who graced its covers for the last 25 years, and who created kicks for NBA players for the last three decades. Champion also powered a live art showcase and panel discussion with Detroit artists.

Overall, BFF Homecoming explored impact on consumer culture, how diversity drives innovation, and how creativity drives global competitiveness. The forum also provided connections for Black footwear professional and brands to share concerns and solutions to help shape the conversation while bridging gaps across the industry.

Images from BFF Homecoming 2022 can be accessed here.

A full-length video of the event can be accessed here.


About the Black Footwear Forum (BFF): The Black Footwear Forum, formally known as the African American Footwear Forum (AAFF), invites footwear industry professionals and supporters to share stories and ideas and to create a dialog around the influence, leadership, and passion provided by blacks in the global footwear industry. This forum encourages collaboration to establish industry goals in the development of black talent at all levels. Surrounding the Forum are regional and national events that provide connecting conversations for black footwear professional brands to share concerns and solutions to help shape the conversation while bridging the gaps across the industry.


About PLC: Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design is the pipeline for career education and professional development in the creative industry. We bear the torch, leading the way to creative vision and progress. At Pensole Lewis College, we work at the crossroads of making the industry better, developing unconventional educational experiences and creating ingenious products. Offering a new path to break into the world of product creation, we prepare and empower the largest talent pool of creatives to enter the industry to make it better for the next generation.


About FDRA: Founded in 1944, FDRA is governed and directed by footwear executives and is the only trade organization focused solely on the footwear industry. It serves the full footwear supply chain and boosts the bottom lines of its members through innovative products, training and consulting on footwear design and development, sourcing and compliance, trade and customs, advocacy, and consumer and sales trend analysis for retailers selling shoes around the world. FDRA also runs the footwear industry’s weekly podcast Shoe-In Show featuring leading footwear executives and experts discussing key business trends. In all, FDRA supports nearly 500 companies and brands worldwide, representing 95% of total U.S. footwear sales, making it by far the largest and most respected American footwear trade and business association.