By Allyson Edge | Web Editor
Although 2020 was undoubtedly a year full of tribulations, Hampton University class of 2020 graduate Isaiah Timmons found a silver lining in submitting his work to the Target HBCU Design Contest. At the beginning of the pandemic, Timmons saw an email from the Hampton University career center with information about the competition and received encouragement from friends to make a submission. Little did he know, he would become one of three HBCU students to win the contest and have his design sold in Target stores across the nation.
“Seeing my design being sold in Target stores and on their website for the first time was very humbling, exciting, and beyond anything, I was grateful that I could have this opportunity, to be able to be featured in this way,” said Timmons.
Timmons’ design portrays an African American man and woman standing back to back, united by their hair, and the text surrounding them reads, “stronger together.” He was inspired by the concept of being strengthened by the support of one’s community. Specifically, holding members of one’s community up when they need help. Throughout Timmons’ creative process, his original design portrayed two women, but members of the Target team encouraged him to alter the image to feature both men and women.
“I really appreciate Target for advising me to go in a different direction and showing a man and a woman because within the Black community, even though we may be diverse in our gender identities, sexual orientation religion, etc., at the end of the day we need to be able to support each other because we are all united by our blackness. Also, our allies come from various identities as well,” said Timmons.
Being an alumni of an HBCU, Timmons is grateful for his experience at Hampton because the culture, traditions, deeply rooted history and his experiences being around like-minded individuals all influence his art.
“No matter how far I go in life, I’ll always remember my experiences at Hampton, my HBCU, and how they’ve impacted my life for the better,” Timmons said. In the future, Timmons envisions himself being a creative director. In the meantime, he is taking steps to better his own skills and knowledge while continuing to grow as a professional.
Timmons urges any students who are thinking about entering the Target HBCU Contest or a similar type of competition in the future to share their stories.
“Always go for it! Going through the process, you always want to tell your own story through your art. Express your own experiences, not directly always, but express your own emotions and passions. And at the end of the day, whether you are selected or if you’re not, you still like what you did and are passionate about it so that’s all that really matters.”
You can purchase Isaiah’s design along with the rest of Target’s Black History Month Collection at https://www.target.com/p/black-history-month-men-s-stronger-together-hooded-sweatshirt-beige/-/A-81531100 or in stores.