I find, in being black, a thing of beauty: a joy; a strength; a secret cup of gladness. – Ossie Davis
Obviously it’s cool to have folks come out and have a good time and enjoy a party but we really wanted an intentional setting, we wanted people to know off the bat what it was that they were coming into Party Noire for, and what we stood for. The idea of Black Joy for us is just a space where Black people can just be our most full, joyous self. Just thinking about what happens to us in society on a daily basis – whether it be in the work space or different oppressive structures that limit us from being the happiest people that we can be, limits us from experiencing the most joy that we can out of life. So we want folks to understand that when you come into this space, we appreciate everyone, we love everyone, we want everyone to definitely come kick it with us, but your main focus needs to be, coming into this being about black joy and if you’re not about black joy, we don’t want you (laughs).
When’s the last time you’ve been to a party and REALLY enjoyed yourself? Party Noire is THE place in Chicago to enjoy Blackness in its purest form – dancing, singing, enjoying life in spite of the (internal or external) things that try to stop us. Curating that form into their signature brand of #blackjoy, the monthly experience that’s just been voted as the city’s best new day party, is headed up by three extraordinary ladies – Nick Alder, Lauren Ash, and DJ Rae Chardonnay. In this interview Nick Alder (also EIC of Black Girl Fly Mag and a guest for our June #blkcreatives chat) talks defining joy for yourself, setting intentions and the power we have in numbers.
Interview by Melissa Kimble
MK: When you’re creating things for other people – as many of us are doing as creatives – how do you find that balance between setting intentions and boundaries that keep you together as a creator but still allows the people you’re creating for to consume it?
NA: That’s a hard one and I think I’m being tested with that pretty personally at this very moment. I really had to take a step back question myself about the ways I’m really creating black joy in my own life on a daily basis and how to sort of live out what I’m actually asking people to do when they meet with us on a monthly basis. I would say it’s something that’s very difficult – creating boundaries around anything is just difficult. I think for me, it’s just always taking these moments to reflect and say okay ‘Am I practicing what I’m preaching?’ ‘Is there any way that I can alter or change up the way I’m doing things in my own life to reflect a little bit more purposely what I’m asking people to enjoy with us on a monthly basis?’ Again I thnk it’s hard but checking in on a regular basis and strategically altering the way that I’m moving through life in the way that I’m asking people to enjoy with us.
MK: The founders of PN are three different women coming together with massive respective brands in their own right. How do you make it work?
NA: It comes from us being very strategic about our roles and just being sure to support each other and everything that we have going on, and communication. There’s been numerous times that one of us has another project going on with our other brand or we have to go home for a certain reason, and really just us being communicative. There have been numerous times where we’ve just swapped roles or added a little bit of extra support just based off of what is needed in the moment. It really just comes down to having some flexibility, being adaptive and first and foremost being communicative about what we can realistically do. That’s paid off very well for us.
MK: When you have a plethora of good ideas, how do decide which idea to pursue in the moment?
NA: It’s not something I necessarily have a method to, but moreso it’s about not being too hasty or trying to do things before their time. I think that everything happens for a reason, I’m one of those people that definitely believes in the idea of things being pre-ordained for us, so [I try] not to force anything or rush anything, to just make things happen organically. I had been playing around with the idea [for Party Noire] for while while but I think what helped it get off the ground was that it was just an organic thing where we sat down and came together and it just happened for us to move forward. There’s not anything I do specifically, it’s just about trusting my gut and letting things happen organically.