A World Mental Health Day Salute To Dr. Jess and #BeWell

Today being World Mental Health Day, the wildly popular “To be a negro in this country” quote by James Baldwin, immediately came to mind. In the summer of 1961 a journal article entitled, The Negro in American Culture, was published in CrossCurrents and featured commentary by Baldwin and his contemporaries (Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry on the Negro’s place in this society, especially as an artist.

James Baldwin World Mental Health Day

James Baldwin World Mental Health Day

Upon a deeper dive into the full article, we found that the full quote is even more necessary and urgent than the initial blurb:

“To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious, is to be in a rage almost all the time. So that the first problem is how to control that rage so that it won’t destroy you. Part of the rage is this: it isn’t only what is happening to you, but it’s what’s happening all around all of the time, in the face of the most extraordinary and criminal indifference, the indifference and ignorance of most white people in this country.

Now, since this is so, it’s a great temptation to simplify the issues under the illusion that if you simplify them enough, people will recognize them; and this illusion is very dangerous because that isn’t the way it works.

You have to decide that you can’t spend the rest of your life cursing out everybody that gets in your way. As a writer, you have to decide that what is really important is not that the people you write about are Negroes, but that they are people, and that the suffering of any person is really universal. If you can ever reach this level, if you can create a person and make other people feel what this person feels, then it seems to be me that you’ve gone much further, not only artistically, but socially, than in the ordinary, old-fashioned protest way.”

Dr. Jess World Mental Health Day

Dr. Jess World Mental Health Day

When Baldwin shares that suffering is an omnipresent experience that requires empathy, compassion, and consideration, we couldn’t help but think of Dr. Jessica Clemons, MD (known to us as Dr. Jess). As a psychiatrist and a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats mental illness, Dr. Jess is using her platform on a daily basis to heal our communities of the things that enrage us and threaten to overthrow our mental health.

We’ve have the honor of being the official media partner to her #BeWell- A Conversation live event series. The first two events have featured powerhouses such as Hijabi rapper Neelam and Grammy-awarding artist, Rapsody. As a salute to her work, we’re sharing a few highlights from the event series below. (All photos byStephen Crookson)

Rapsody Dr. Jess World Mental Health Day

Rapsody Dr. Jess World Mental Health Day

"I may not ever have a Billboard hit or a billion sales. For me, it was the difference between understanding fame and success. Define what success is for you, I know what success is for me.” - Rapsody

[Tweet ""Define what success is for you, I know what success is for me.” - @Rapsody via @askdrjess"]

“The circle that I chose to surround myself with, the people who fed me and help me celebrate the small wins. I can’t measure myself through somebody else’s. And not getting caught up in what society thinks is successful.” -@rapsody on staying focused.#askdrjess#bewell

Dr. Jess World Mental Health Day Neelam

Dr. Jess World Mental Health Day Neelam

“The best we can all do is normalize it. Don’t be afraid to keep it real. I try to encourage Black men that I meet to really unpack what they’re going through.” -@AskDrJess on how we can include Black men in conversations around mental health.

[Tweet "“The best we can all do is normalize it." - @askdrjess on mental health #blkcreatives"]

.@AskDrJess with @official_neelam on mental health and the issues that our communities are facing. #askdrjesspic.twitter.com/oIALpFj0U4

— #blkcreatives netwrk (@blkcreatives) August 25, 2018

Follow Dr.Jess on Instagram and Twitter to get info on the next #BeWell conversation!

More World Mental Health Day Related Reads

Dr. Joy Harden on Different Forms of Anxiety, Shifting Your Perspective, and Therapy For Black Girls' Resources

Duanecia Evans on Therapy, Breaking Generational Cycles, and Extending Grace

Jarrod Anderson on The Strong Black Male Persona, Living In The Moment, and Real Friends

Melvin Taylor on Anxiety and Awareness, Seeking Support, and Michael Jackson

Introducing Creatives Converge: A Special Podcast Series with Creative Genius Law



Creative Genius Law is a full service law firm for creative industries and we're addicted to their mission as shared in this Rolling Out interview with its principal attorney and founder, Patrice Perkins:

"I think that independent arts professionals work incredibly hard on their craft, but there’s a knowledge gap that could impact the value and reach of their art, long term. That gap is knowledge of intellectual property laws as it applies to their business and that’s where we step in. I want to see artists thrive not just today but really position themselves to sustain long-term doing work they love. If they are multi-disciplinary, I want it to be by choice and not because it’s what’s needed to make ends meet."

[Tweet ""I want to see artists position themselves to sustain long-term." - @creative_esq"]

Creatives Converge, a special podcast series, is our digital collab with CGL (Creative Genius Law), hosted by Patrice. Patrice chats with four creatives who have been on the move in 2018. Listen up as they discuss building their businesses, legal tidbits + a take a look at pop culture through a legal lens. Click on the pic below (or CLICK HERE) to listen to the first episode and stay tuned for more episodes to come.

Slick Woods and The Complicated Cost of Defying Beauty Standards

Slick Woods Fenty Beauty Ad

Slick Woods Fenty Beauty Ad

By Christina Hammond

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” – Malcolm X

Rihanna recently debuted her new Savage X Fenty collection during New York Fashion Week (NYFW) where she showcased her lingerie line using women of all colors and sizes. While the focus should be on how she is using her platform by giving Black women a chance to be a part of something we are historically overlooked for, a lot of attention has lead to unwarranted debates via social media about the beauty of her muse Slick Woods.

Slick Woods Rihanna Fenty Beauty 1

Slick Woods Rihanna Fenty Beauty 1

Men (and women) are engaging in an open dialogue about a woman who not only is beautiful, but a woman who walked the runway while in labor. Did you know according to studies, Black mothers face significantly higher maternal mortality risk due to stress and “the system not valuing the lives of Black women equally to White women.” (Renee Montagne, NPR News, 2017)? Meanwhile, the concern of our Black men on twitter is what she looks like, rather than praising her hard work and perseverance in the industry.

Slick Woods Rihanna Fenty Beauty 2

Slick Woods Rihanna Fenty Beauty 2

It is for this very reason, Black women find it extremely difficult to be comfortable in our own skin.  People within the Black community combined with society’s overall beauty standards have conditioned us to openly disrespect Black queens by publicly calling us ugly and not valuing what we contribute to the universe. You would think the same men we uplift, pray for, sacrifice for, and fight for against the masses when they are being killed off would do the same for us, instead of giving the world more of a reason to continue to disrespect us. The world is already twice as hard on Black and brown women, where are the Black men willing to stand on the frontline for us?

According to the Washington Post the percentage of women of color to walk the runway during NYFW in the mid-90’s was pretty close to 0% (Robin Givhan, 2016). Instead of our community uplifting the women such as Slick Woods who have broken that barrier, we continue to bash her “unconventional” looks by downright calling her ugly and unworthy of being the face of one of the number one beauty lines in the world (Fenty Beauty). What is an unconventional look? Has mass media really programmed us to believe that plastic surgery enhancements and “exotic” features are the definitions of beauty? We continue to shame those who love their natural bodies, and embrace their flaws, especially us Black women. The fact that we have more discussions about the standard of beauty over the fact that Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs (Forbes, 2017) in the U.S. continues to prove that Black women are under appreciated and the need for self-love, self-care and self-appreciation amongst ourselves as women is important.

No matter how strong we are as women, the truth is we rely on our Black men to support us, especially emotionally. Instead of making a mockery of these discussions, I challenge you to call your bro out when he’s openly displaying signs ignorance towards us Black queens. It is the responsibility of men to keep each other accountable, because we as women are tired of nagging and having to defend ourselves against the world, let alone the men in our own culture.  There are so many platforms and mediums that men have access to and have created to start the necessary conversation. Don’t be afraid to be “that guy” who stands up to talk about these issues on social media, in your group chats, on your podcasts, or even at your guy’s night. While beauty is subjective, to ever engage in negative conversation publicly about the beauty of a woman is unacceptable. As our Black mamas say “keep it cute or put it on mute.” Have your preference, but always exalt us Black women by any means necessary.

Slick Woods continues to be the epitome of black girl magic and rise above the standards not only that society sets, but what our own people have set. Her defiance of what society believes is beautiful makes her an even more powerful force in the industry. Continue to slay on Slick for ALL of the Black queens out there. WE have your back, and hopefully moving forward our Black men will too.

Christina Hammond (Nina) is the author of #1 Best-Selling Amazon Book "Do It For The Gram: A Quick Caption Guide For the Millennial Woman" ,  and serves as a creative strategist to several talent and brands in the entertainment industry, with a specialty in events.

Everything You Need For Thursday Night On Twitter

August 30, 2018 at 9pm EST is the date for our next #blkcreatives chat. Here’s everything you need to know.

TOPIC – All Sides of Supporting Black Business

In honor of August being Black Business Month, we wanted this month's theme to be focused on Black businesses. We hear "support Black Business" all the time but we want to dive deep into examining that statement and discuss the challenges, opportunities, and solutions that are facing Black businesses in today's digital age.

WHAT & WHO: #blkcreatives is a community that advocates for Black genius across Creative industries. We live at the intersection of culture, creativity and community. Every aspect of Black culture is ingrained into our society and yet Black creatives are often overlooked, undervalued, and underemployed. We exist to bridge the gap between culture and careers.

Born in April 2015, our monthly Twitter chat creates discussions that revolve around a specific topic that relates to our personal development and growth as people and professionals.

Meet our guests for this chat:

Cassius Life

Cassius does news and storytelling differently. They provoke, we disrupt, we inform, we uplift. They don't just cover the culture, they are the culture.

As a 21st century digital platform dedicated to telling the unvarnished truth, Cassius gives a daily voice to those much talked about, but rarely talked to. Through original multimedia reporting and sharp commentary, no topic is left unturned—CASSIUS editors fear nothing and no one—they critique and joke, throw shade, and raise hell.

Learn more about the publication here and follow @CassiusLife_ on Twitter.

Courtney Garrett


Courtney spent her career as a social engagement strategist who has led world-class brands and her free time advocating for creative talent across mediums – photography, film, animation, etc. After being laid off from her job earlier this year (you can read more about that on Essence.com), she decided to go all-in with my dream of representing and advocating for creative talent of marginalized and underrepresented groups, thus Capsule Artists was born.

Capsule Artists will be a representation agency creating a space for creatives to tell their stories through art and speech. We are committed to bringing ideas to life that nurture and celebrate the voices of those who feel silenced or unheard by providing creatives of marginalized and underrepresented communities (people of color, women, LGBTQ+, differently abled, etc.) with representation to help them tell stories from their point of view in partnership with brands, businesses, projects and outlets. As we grow, we will host our own events, such as panels and artist showcases throughout NYC and other major cities as well as content creation.

Learn more about how you can support her work here and follow @MADly_INsane on Twitter.

Marshall Shorts


Marshall is an award winning entrepreneur, artist, designer and organizer with a passion for inclusion, creativity and community. 

He is Founder of Artfluential formerly  

Soulo Theory Creative

, a multi-disciplinary collective of strategic creators. Engaging urban, social, and professional communities through art, design, strategy, and culture. Working with clients such as Nationwide, PACT, The Ohio State University, RAMA Companies, Columbus City Schools, and more.

Marshall co-founded

 Creative Control Fest


 in 2012. CCF is an annual grassroots conference centering creatives of color. 

In 2014 Marshall was the recipient of Increase CDC small business award. In 2016 he gave his first

 TEDx Columbus

 talk which was recognized by the

 National TEDx organization

. 2017 was another year of milestones as Marshall is the recipient of CCAD Alumni Award,  Greater Columbus Arts Council


 Emerging Arts Leader Award. 2018 Spirit of Columbus Award and Columbus Africentric Emerging Leaders award.

He serves on the board for Maroon Arts Group. The Cleveland native is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and a proud husband and father.

Learn more about his work here and follow @MrShortsCreates on Twitter.

If this is your first Twitter chat or you’re joining us for the first time, click here to see how you can make these Twitter chats work for you. See you Thursday night!

Netflix’s Maiya Norton on The Strong Black Lead and Why Bringing Black Voices To The Table Matters

Maiya Norton is not famous outside of her collective of supportive friends and family and those of us fortunate to know her. She steps into spaces with a bright smile and you know that this is someone who is for the tribe, someone who keeps her roots in mind as she steps through the world of digital media. She’s a Marketing Manager at Netflix, she was part of the iconic visuals that announced Netflix’s efforts to uplift black creatives with the striking campaign that highlighted all of the amazing black talent that has graced their halls over the years. The photo of over 40 familiar faces standing on a Brooklyn stoop with unapologetic gazes and the knowledge of their community’s greatness. 

Digital content strategist and freelance writer Ashley Simpochatted with Maiya about her journey through the ranks of publishing and digital media - a path that is not only familiar to Ashley but other Creatives as well.

Intro and Interview by Ashley Simpo

Maiya Norton Netflix

Maiya Norton Netflix

Maiya started out in print media after studying print journalism in college. “I studied Journalism in college - print journalism specifically which makes me sound like a dinosaur. I wanted to do something entertainment related. That’s what interested me and excited me.” Working in print at its decline taught Maiya a few things about diversity. She noticed the difference in treatment between her white colleagues and herself. She notices that black faces were very few and far between in an environment that she calls “elitist”.

“When you have white folks hiring and in all of the positions of bringing in new people, they’re often dipping into their own networks which tends to look like them. It perpetuates the cycle of a lack of diversity.” Maiya skipped around a bit, working at publications like INStyle Magazine, People, Lucky and Entertainment Weekly. She was there to grind, but noticed the low pay was often a reflection of white privilege. “I applied for an assistant position and was told the salary for an EA was $24,000 in New York,” she laughed, “A lot of these girls - their salary was essentially spending money.” When mommy and daddy are footing the survival bill, salary expectations tend to plummet across the board. In spaces where the typical employee won’t be bothered to ask for more and is there solely for the experience, those who are there to also pay bills tend to suffer. And those people are usually the ones of color.

For many Black creatives, the shift happened as the rise in digital media reigned in a new era of content. Disruption became the name of the game and print just wasn’t cutting it anymore. For Maiya, this was her moment to seize new opportunities. “I had an editor that was very digitally savvy and very social media savvy. She knew we needed to ramp up on everything - Twitter, doing Facebook chats with everybody and I started to perk up around social media at that point.” Being able to predict the change in times and go where innovation was leading the industry was a move that bode well for Maiya. She eventually made the hard choice to exit the print publishing world and start at the bottom again by working at creative agencies. “I had been in print for 6 years so I’ve already been down this path in my career. I didn’t think I was qualified for a job at the same level so I was trying to apply for community management roles and entry level roles.” At the agency level, Maiya was able to hone her craft and gain a lot of experience in a compact amount of time. She was also able to meet someone who provided an in at Netflix. Another Black woman, a previous client at Laundry Service - the creative agency Maiya worked for at the time - had taken a job with Netflix. “She went to Netflix and we had remained in contact. She basically called me and asked if I was interested in joining the team she was putting together.” The rest, was history.

At a large organization like Netflix, with seemingly endless resources and a giant budget for experimentation, people of color are able to thrive. There is a culture of - not just diversity - but inclusion. “I heard it described this way once: diversity is bringing someone to a dance. Inclusion is bringing them onto the dance floor,” Maiya said. It is that exact philosophy that breeds spaces which actually encourage people of all backgrounds to be part of the collective conversation. When the Strong Black Lead community started back in December, Maiya was not officially hired to work on the projects, she was simply invited to sit at the table and provide her input and perspective. Without such a collaborative approach to creativity, the project may not have had such a powerful impact in stimulating conversation the way that it did. In June, an iconic image hit the scene provoking discussion and buzz all over the web.

What happens when Black voices are given the space and opportunity to create in an otherwise white space? Images of Viola Davis, Spike Lee, Rev Run and Danielle Brooks champion the idea that our stories matter and our icons who interpret them on screen are deserving of wide-reaching praise. Maiya Norton recalled what it was like to be a part of the shoot that day on a soundstage in Los Angeles. “I was assigned to wrangle the ‘Dear White People” cast and it was so much work but it was rewarding because it was this genuine celebration of blackness. It was kind of magical.”

[video clip]

It’s what happens when positive Black influences gather in any space - a BBQ, a day party, a discussion panel. What happens when people of various background give honor to a unified Black experience. What happens when the white gatekeepers of media remember that they cannot create anything for the masses without inviting representatives of our culture to the conversation. Maiya fondly remembers a busy day running around set, sitting in an editing bay and watching the entire cast that day rally around Caleb McLaughlin of Stranger Things, who was tasked with the only speaking role and who’s adolescent timidity for such a job was sitting heavily on his mind. “Lena Waithe put her hands on his shoulders and said, ‘you got this!’. When he nailed it, we all cheered. All this support for this young black boy.”

But the moment of the day, the pièce de ré·sis·tance that brought it all back full circle for everyone there was when legendary actor Alfre Woodard broke out into uncontrollable song. “Alfre Woodard, everybody’s auntie. She led everyone in singing ‘Lift Every Voice’ out of nowhere and everyone started singing. It gave all of us goosebumps. This elder and this moment of fellowship. It was black as fuck and beautiful and uniquely us. It was just us.”

Knowing your worth is not something people of color have been told to investigate nearly as much as they should. Especially not in a professional environment built on elitist prep-school connections and trust fund safety nets to cushion the blow of establishing a budding career. Maiya’s journey is not unique, but it is one that reminds us how important it is to exist in spaces that allow us freedom of thought. Whether that is a giant beast like Netflix or a small start-up, we have to remember what our ideas can foster in the world and how important our stories are to tell and hear.

Maiya Norton is a creative storyteller, music curator and marketing professional working and living in Los Angeles. To follow her story, find her on Instagram at @maiyanorton or go to her website: http://www.maiyanorton.com/

WakandaCon, ONE MusicFest and The Culture LP on Taking Ownership Of Our Creativity

In an interview for their Essence Fest promo run (which was phenomenal this year) Richelieu Dennis mentioned something about the gigantic impact of Black Panther and how that success - while record and world breaking - didn’t necessarily translate over to our communities. BP was not your typical “Black movie” but it’s very apparent that when given the opportunity to express our true capabilities - not only do we succeed but we exceed expectations. How can we keep that same energy for the experiences that we curate?

It prompted us to take a look at how our offline experiences are allowing our communities to have ownership in the cultural conversations that dominate our society. Carolyn Malachi once sang, “White America wants all my Black features, except for my blues - I’m an unwanted creature.” We live in a time where it’s becoming increasingly easier for corporations and brands to profit off of our culture without investing or nurturing in our talent, our ideas and our genius. We had a pop up #blkcreatives Twitter chat with the teams behind WakandaCon, One MusicFest and The Culture LP to discuss how their experiences are changing the game.



Your offline experiences are allowing our communities to have ownership in the cultural conversations that dominate our society. Why was it important to you to put together your (respective) experiences?

Lisa Beasley, Producer & Media Relations of WakandaCon: It’s important for us to put togetherWakandaCon because oftentimes black nerds are portrayed as a bad thing and we want to celebrate our successes and our nerdy in the field of technology, gaming, and various platforms.

Michael Tonge, Co-Founder of The Culture LP: Our team felt that a lot of what we needed was really "one person" away. So instead of leaning in on one specific niche, we decided it'd be valuable to forge a diverse offline community of creatives that could really be of service to one another.

Oronike Odeleye, Festival Coordinator of ONE MusicFest: For me, full and complex representations of blackness are a way for us to express our self-determination; to say for ourselves who we are & where we're going as a people. I invest fully in projects that allow our authentic voices to be heard and celebrated.

[Tweet "full representations of blackness are a way for us to express our self-determination - @suiteladyoro"] 

Michael Tonge, Co-Founder of The Culture LP: I felt that. Especially the "full and complex" part of it. So much of what's fed to us digitally is far too static or flat#blkcreatives

J Carter, CEO and Founder of ONE MusicFest: I couldn’t find a open air festival that programmed music and culture the way my peers and I experience it on a daily basis. Black “customers” are often put in a box, but we are so multidimensional. Our music experience ranges from Sade to Migos. I wanted a festival that spoke to that.

ONE Musicfest is more than just MUSIC. It's a cultural oasis that celebrates art, unity, music, diversity, culture and food... definitely food. Join us Sept 8th & 9th in Atlanta, GA! Featuring Cardi B, Nas, Miguel, Big Sean, TI & MORE! pic.twitter.com/zhI9Fzb9Js

— ONE Musicfest (@onemusicfest) July 26, 2018

Black culture = popular culture. but we often don't benefit as much as our counterparts from that influence, especially from an economic perspective. How can we change that?

Oronike, ONE MusicFest: Maaaaaaan! We see this struggle every day in the amount of $, or lack thereof, that sponsors want to put into hip hip concerts that are run by black promoters. Same concept run by white folks =  They love the culture, but wanna pay "others" to curate it.

Lisa, WakandaCon: The creation of more spaces curated by POC and support from POC when those spaces are created!

Mike, The CLP: We should stop prioritizing the mainstream and also be a bit more careful when sharing the sauce online. The barbershop/beauty salon conversations have migrated to social media and we need to realize we're in "mixed company." people are watching just to steal ideas. We're in a space where we need to innovate rapidly but also get gully with trademarks and the cease and desist letters.

[Tweet "We need to innovate rapidly but also get gully with trademarks. - @theculturelp"]

Oronike, ONE MusicFest: I think we have to take a page from Issa Rae's handbook and network laterally. We have the resources in our circles to get stuff done.  We have the know how. We have the authenticity. We just need structural support to help us better work and grow together.

Mike, The CLP: Working across results in vertical movement for sure. It's something we've seen within our own community. I think our partnership withRonald Draper is the best example of that.

J, ONE MusicFest: OWNERSHIP and/or SUPPORT those who are pushing the culture forward. More specifically. Repurpose and redirect our economic prowess. African Americans spend more than $1.2 Trillion dollars a year. If we were more intentional with how we spend our money, we could collectively turn the tables.

The Culture LP blkcreatives

The Culture LP blkcreatives

As black marketers and curators, what do you think the mainstream is missing when it comes to creating events for our demographic?

J, ONE MusicFest: Trick question. We are the mainstream. “They” are just good at repackaging it.

Mike, The CLP: Facts. I don't think they're actually MISSING anything. Because their goals are profits, not community. And in that regard they're winning, for now. Both in my role as co-founder for the CLP but as a marketer for big brands and institutions a lot of times we're simply NOT in the conversation. It's like someone planning a birthday party for someone they've never met or hung out with.

J, ONE MusicFest: I would love to see more “lifting as we climb” initiatives. People who are in a position of influence and power to help educate others walking in their footsteps. I.e. Master classes, conferences, mentorship etc. we have to begin pulling each other up.... faster!

Lisa, WakandaCon: I think the mainstream is missing our voice. Too many times, people try to capitalize on what they they are the experiences of POC and horribly miss the mark. What’s missing is us!

Oronike, ONE MusicFest: #1-100 Stop creating events for our demographic! Use those resources and privilege and connections to support POCs who are ALREADY doing that work. There are promoters in every city catering to their community who could really level up with some $ and mentorship.

Mike, The CLP: Instead of trying to recreate what we're already doing, be a resource be a brand sponsored co-working space. I feel like even black folks with $$ make this mistake.#blkcreatives especially when it comes to independent art projects.

J, ONE MusicFest: No race of people has come so far in such a short amount of time. 150 years removes from shackles and today Hip Hop is the most influential genre of music in the world. “People fear what they can’t control” and no one can control our influence.

[Tweet "“People fear what they can’t control” and no one can control our influence. - @jcarterology"]

We've had some major moments in music (cardi b, the carters), film (black panther) and tv (own tv, shonda's new deals) this year. Are

J, ONE MusicFest: I’m ready to see more of this [the discussion happening].

Oronike, ONE MusicFest: ONE MUSICFEST, obviously (go@onemusicfest!) Finally seeing black people divest from#Rkelly (#MuteRKelly via@OffMuteRKelly) and any and everything from Issa Rae and Lena Waithe!

J, ONE MusicFest: Impeachment. I’m looking forward to impeachment. #blkcreatives

Lisa, WakandaCon: MOMENTUM! The support we’ve gained from the public has been a tremendous confidence booster and has propelled us forward to produce a one of a kind event and see it through to completion!#blkcreatives

Mike, The CLP: Honestly Afropunk +ONE MusicFest!

What can audiences look forward to from your upcoming events and how can they support if they can't attend?

Mike, The CLP: I'm looking forward to our 6 year anniversary in collaboration with@culturalcrawl on Saturday, and@OdeToBabel Sunday. rsvp:http://launch.culturehotline.co .can't make it? hit the cash apphttp://cash.me/$theCultureLP or pitch ideas:http://write.theclp.co  as we're revamping our blog.

J, ONE MusicFest: ONE MusicFest is a cultural oasis. Some people love the talent on the stage but most people love the vibrations and energy. It’s our modern day Woodstock. If you cannot attend, you can help by spreading the word and love. OMF will always be “Unity through Music”

Oronike, ONE MusicFest: If you want to support ONE MusicFest but can't attend, buy 10 of your#ATL homies a ticket!! Lol. But for real - spreading the word is invaluable. Retweet. Repost. Forward to a friend. It's 2 days of unapologetic blackness, inclusivity, good vibes and great music.

J, ONE MusicFest: What she said!

Lisa, WakandaCon: So much! Firstly, whatever you’re a nerd about - there’s something that will be for you.  So many community submitted panels rooted in cultural conversation that will be educational, informative, AND entertaining! Video gaming tournament, virtual reality for kids and adults, performances, workshops, and cosplay! Most importantly, a bunch of people who want to celebrate the contributions of black creatives in spaces we rarely are celebrated for!  Also, our marketplace - so many black owned businesses and black entrepreneurs will be vending and making money all together.

Get your tickets for WakandaCon (in Chicago August 3rd-5th), ONE MusicFest (in Atlanta September 8th-9th) and The Culture LP (year-round in NYC).

Jarrod Anderson on The Strong Black Male Persona, Living In The Moment and Real Friends

"I’m a huge music lover. Whenever i’m feeling some type of way, I’m heading to Soundcloud. Sometimes I go listen to Nipsey sometimes, I’m on my Kirk Franklin. Just go with whoever can relate more with how I’m feeling at the moment." As a full time freelance photographer from Florida who's relocated to New York City, Jarrod Anderson knows how stressful transition can be and how important it is to be aware of your anxiety. His involvement in the ‘Dealing With Anxiety’ #blkcreatives Twitter chat was a no-brainer. Read on to find out why.

How do you know when anxiety has gotten out of control and why is that awareness so important?

for me, i can tell anxiety has gotten the best of me when it’s the only thing on my mind when i catch myself thinking about a bunch of “what if” scenarios with factors i have no control over, i have to take a moment + snap myself back to order.

if i’m sitting there tryna predict every possible outcome in life like i’m dr. strange, i’m not giving my full attention to something else in life, often times something i have more control over. i realize i’m literally wasting my time so i use that moment to get back on track.

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Jarrod Anderson #blkcreatives chat 1

Jarrod Anderson #blkcreatives chat 1

Jarrod Anderson #blkcreatives chat 2

Jarrod Anderson #blkcreatives chat 2

Jarrod Anderson #blkcreatives chat 3

Jarrod Anderson #blkcreatives chat 3

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Duanecia Evans on Therapy, Breaking Generational Cycles and Extending Grace

Duanecia Evans Teach For America blkcreatives chat

Duanecia Evans Teach For America blkcreatives chat

"Our stigmas around mental health are killing people and isolating folks to the point where they're taking their own lives. we have to tell our stories so folks don't feel alone. most of us are going through the same things. SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER."

As the Senior Managing Director of Black Community Alliances on Teach For America’s national Public Partnerships Team and Managing Partner and Lead Strategist of Seventh Suite, Duanecia Evans has dedicated her career to bringing voices together who have both the mindsets and means to obliterate social inequity in this generation. It's a purpose that prompts her to make sure she's taking care of herself from the inside out. Her involvement in the ‘Dealing With Anxiety’ #blkcreatives Twitter chat was a no-brainer. Read on to find out why.

How do you know when anxiety has gotten out of control and why is that awareness so important?

I was just talking with my therapist about this today. Making peace is a journey but I will say I remain grateful for what sacrifice has made room for. I wouldn’t be half of who I am today, if I was still being held back by what didn’t serve me.

When I've reached a state of analysis paralysis, it's time to see my therapist and consult my support circle. @MichellCClark, @Jon__Jackson and @MsPackyetti are really good at asking me questions to pull me off the hamster wheel.

Resources shared during the chat:

How To Overcome The 'Analysis Paralysis' Of Decision-Making on Forbes

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Duanecia Evans blkcreatives chat 1

Duanecia Evans blkcreatives chat 1

Duanecia Evans blkcreatives chat 2

Duanecia Evans blkcreatives chat 2

Duanecia Evans blkcreatives chat 3

Duanecia Evans blkcreatives chat 3

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Melvin Taylor on Anxiety and Awareness, Seeking Support and Michael Jackson



"My biggest resource would be music. Michael Jackson Lady In My Life will get me right quick. If not that then it's talking to my parents back home in Chicago or my little brother. Things I associate love with helps me get back to myself."

Melvin Taylor II is a 26-year-old Chicago native who moved to New York City and is living the dream and the TV and radio host has no plans of slowing down anytime soon, which he means he's proactive about his mental health. His involvement in the ‘Dealing With Anxiety’ #blkcreatives Twitter chat was a no-brainer. Read on to find out why.

How do you know when anxiety has gotten out of control and why is that awareness so important?

I know it’s gotten out of control when I’m stopping myself from putting out creative work, networking with people due to intimidation, feeling like I am lesser than anyone else, or just in an overall DND mode where everything feels like it’s crashing down.

That awareness is key because knowing you’re feeling it or going through it is the first step to being able to step beyond it. If you’re not aware of how you’re feeling you won’t be able to gauge what moves should be made or how you should respond when it’s your time.

Learn more about him here and follow @MelvinTaylorii on Twitter.

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

Melvin Taylor blkcreatives Twitter Chat 1

Melvin Taylor blkcreatives Twitter Chat 1

Melvin Taylor blkcreatives Twitter Chat 3

Melvin Taylor blkcreatives Twitter Chat 3

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Dr. Joy Harden on Different Forms of Anxiety, Shifting Your Perspective and Therapy For Black Girls Resources



“When we look at the world we live in and the significant ways Black women are often mistreated and abused, there is a lot of healing that needs to take place for us to really have full and joyful lives." (via Bustle)

As the Founder of Therapy For Black Girls (including the national directory of Black women therapists), Dr. Joy Harden Bradford works relentlessly to ensure that Black women are taking care of their mental health. Her involvement in ‘Dealing With Anxiety’ #blkcreatives Twitter chat was a no-brainer. Read on to find out why.

How do you know when anxiety has gotten out of control and why is that awareness so important?

Some of the ways you can tell is when it prevents you from going after opportunities you’d like to go after or if it interferes with functioning (frequently missing work, isolating yourself, etc.). The awareness is important because it can help you to develop strategies to minimize the impact it has on your life.

Finding some good mindfulness and meditation practices to do regularly might be very helpful. Yes! The key is to practice regularly so that when you really need it, it’s easier to access.

Resources shared during the chat:

Podcast episode all about managing social anxiety —->http://therapyforblackgirls.com/session64 .

Podcast episode featuring Dr. Alicia Hodge on slaying anxiety —-> http://therapyforblackgirls.com/session38

Top Tweets Of The Night (hold down the pic to copy and share, using the hashtag #blkcreatives)

therapy for black girls #blkcreatives Twitter chat Dr. Joy Harden

therapy for black girls #blkcreatives Twitter chat Dr. Joy Harden

therapy for black girls #blkcreatives Twitter chat Dr. Joy Harden 2

therapy for black girls #blkcreatives Twitter chat Dr. Joy Harden 2

therapy for black girls #blkcreatives Twitter chat Dr. Joy Harden 3

therapy for black girls #blkcreatives Twitter chat Dr. Joy Harden 3

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July 23, 2018 at 8pm EST is the date for our next #blkcreatives chat. Here’s everything you need to know.

TOPIC – Dealing With Anxiety

In honor of July being Minority Mental Health Awareness Month, we wanted this month's theme to be focused on an aspect of mental health. If you're learning to manage anxiety, this chat is for you.

WHAT & WHO: #blkcreatives is a community that advocates for Black genius across Creative industries. We live at the intersection of culture, creativity and community. Every aspect of Black culture is ingrained into our society and yet Black creatives are often overlooked, undervalued, and underemployed. We exist to bridge the gap between culture and careers.

Born in April 2015, our monthly Twitter chat creates discussions that revolve around a specific topic that relates to our personal development and growth as people and professionals.

Meet our guests for this chat:

Dr. Joy Harden



Dr. Joy Harden Bradford is a Licensed Psychologist and the host of the wildly popular mental health podcast, Therapy for Black Girls. Her work focuses on making mental health topics more relevant and accessible for Black women and she specializes in creating spaces for Black women to have fuller and healthier relationships with themselves and others.

She has been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Bustle, Black Enterprise, Women’s Health, BuzzFeed, Teen Vogue, and Essence. She was also named in Huffington Post as one of “10 Black Female Therapists You Should Know.” Dr. Joy lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband and two sons.

Learn more about her work here and follow @hellodrjoy on Twitter.

Jarrod Anderson



Jarrod Anderson is a Florida native currently living in New York City. He is a creative specializing in capturing visual stories via photography. His primary focuses are portraits, lifestyle + fashion.

Learn more about him here and follow @createdbyjarrod on Twitter.

Duanecia Evans

Duanecia Evans blkcreatives chat

Duanecia Evans blkcreatives chat

Born and raised in Harlem, New York, Duanecia Evans leads as the Senior Managing Director of Black Community Alliances on Teach For America's national Public Partnerships Team. In addition to her work at Teach For America, Duanecia serves as Managing Partner and Lead Strategist of Seventh Suite. A creative services firm that develops traditional and digital brand strategy for socially conscious influencers and brands. Her client base includes the International Day of Purpose and activist Brittany Packnett. Duanecia's work sits at the intersection of community-driven justice and corporate social responsibility. Duanecia has dedicated her career to bringing voices together who have both the mindsets and means to obliterate social inequity in this generation.

Learn more about her here and follow @Duanecia on Twitter.

Melvin Taylor II



Melvin Taylor II is a 26-year-old Chicago native who moved to New York City and is living the dream. Currently, he hosts his radio show "The Alternative with Melvin Taylor ii" which can on WHCR 90.3 FM-NY (every Monday from


-2a EST) and on weekends on WLGK Logik Radio. He also hosts his TV show Making Manhattan (on MNN, BRIC TV, Comcast, Spectrum, and Optimum) every



9:30 pm

, and produces business, entertainment and political TV shows for Bold TV.

In his free time, you can find him on stage at Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) performing improv, writing for Respect Magazine, or reacting to whatever he decides (mostly music and movie trailers) on his YouTube channel. In the future, he plans on hosting on a national platform while creating more opportunities for talented individuals who are looking to showcase their talents and sitting courtside at every Lakers home game. You can watch his YouTube channel 



Learn more about him here and follow @MelvinTaylorii on Twitter.

If this is your first Twitter chat or you’re joining us for the first time, click here to see how you can make these Twitter chats work for you. See you Monday night!

Insight: Miss Nona on unplugging from social media during chaos

‘Insight’ is defined as the capacity to gain an accurate and deep intuitive understanding of a person or thingTwitter is one of our favorite mediums because it gives us a chance to read various thoughts, perspectives, and ideas. It’s a melting pot for real-time dialogue from real-life Creatives and allows us to get a peak inside of their thought process. Pretty often we come across a thread that speaks directly to our experiences. As we enter into the last half of 2018, this one by Nona left us inspired to re-think our social media usage for productivity AND our peace.  (Intro by Melissa Kimble)



Can I tell you why unplugging from social media during times like this is good?

You don’t need to be subjected to a variety of opinions on how one should process violence or emotionally traumatic events that affect us on a macro level. Social media is opinion bombardment. This causes anxiety.

So what begins to happen is you get sucked into the opinions and you withdraw socially. Less time outside, less time with your hands on your loved ones. And I’m comes the depressive thoughts. It’s programming. It’s an attempt to numb you so that you don’t have compassion.

And if your compassion mechanisms are totally shot, the powers that be can do whatever they like. You are seeing this with these children at the border. We are talking about children.

So that’s why it’s okay to withdraw from social media in times line this. You can either go offline or create your twitter lists to see only the things that help you heal or relax. It’s a good way to go inside yourself or tune in to learn.

Now is a great time to develop your hobbies. Use that as a self care mechanism and you never know what can come of it. We are going to be moving into more hand to hand commerce so whatever that thing is that you have, unplug from this trash media and plug into that gift.

It may not make sense now. Years ago when I was talking passports y’all said it was senseless, yet now here we are. I’m just passing the seed along for y’all to plant on your own. We will have to learn to rely on each other. The compassion of humanity is being tested now.

We are now being exposed to more traumatic things even in passing just to see how we respond. Your ability to forgive and extend compassion(to self first) is being tested like crazy. These events that trigger you are reminders of where to still work and to love on yourself.

This is a great time for you to choose yourself and your own healing so that you can heal the collective. Fuck the noise of media. Opinion bombardment is a spiritual warfare tactic meant to incite confusion. Unplug it.

[Tweet ""Choose yourself + your own healing so that you can heal the collective." - @heymissnona"]

Retweet and read Nona's full thread HERE.

Everything You Need On Monday Night For Twitter

June 25, 2018 at 8pm EST is the date for our next #blkcreatives chat. Here’s everything you need to know.

TOPIC – Embracing New Mindsets

Seasons change, mad things re-arrange as the great Lauryn Hill once shared. Intentional change is a part of growth. If you've been craving newness and want to discuss how you've embraced healthy change, this one is for you.

WHAT & WHO: #blkcreatives is a collective that is working to economically support and advocate for Black genius in creative industries. We live at the intersection of culture, creativity and community. Every aspect of Black culture is ingrained into our society and yet Black creatives are often overlooked, undervalued, and underemployed. We exist to bridge the gap between culture and careers.

Born in April 2015, our monthly Twitter chat creates discussions that revolve around a specific topic that relates to our personal development and growth as people and professionals.

Meet our guests for this chat:

Michell C. Clark

Michell C. Clark is a 28-year old content creator and cultural curator who refuses to be boxed in. He spends his days crafting ridiculous Instagram captions, studying subject matter experts, helping clients build successful long term social media strategies, attempting to bench press small automobiles, and making fun of himself. Michell is releasing his first print book, Keep It 100: a series of affirmations for millennials who are tired of being called millennials, in the 3rd quarter of 2018 via 13th & Joan. You can download his free e-book, On Your Own Terms, here.

Learn more about him here and follow @MichellCClark on Twitter.

Syreeta Gates

Syreeta Gates is a Hip-Hop Archivist. As founder of The Gates Preserve (a multimedia experience company in which the commitment is to preserve and archive hip-hop in such a way that it last forever), she curates innovative experiences like Write On! The Legend of Hip-Hop’s Ink Slingers, a documentary about journalist that influenced hip-hop culture #WriteOnTheDoc, as well as Yo Stay Hungry, a culinarycompetition that bridges hip-hop and food/beverage @YoStayHungry. Gates’ archival work includes research for Nelson George’s feature documentary, A Ballerina’s Tale, and she also added her expertise on other art-oriented films, Finding the Funk and The Triptych.

Holding a B.A. in Urban Youth Culture, the only degree of its kind in the world, Gates is the former Creative Director of Travel Noire, a multi-dimensional platform for unconventional travelers.

Learn more about Yo Stay Hungry here and follow @syreetagates on Twitter.

TeeJay Foy

TeeJay Foy is a 24 year old award-winning New Orleans West advocate, and regional media Associate. He's had a plethora of live performances, from his home town of New Orleans, Louisiana to as far east as New York , Chicago and St. Louis to name a few. TeeJay has also performed at SXSW Music Festival and A3C.

Listen to his music here and follow @TeejayFoy on Twitter.

Holley Murchison


 M. Murchison is an 




, and 






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, an 























t help multidisciplinary creatives cultivate the skills and attitudes to realize their full potential and confidently communicate and propel their ideas.

Learn more about her here. And follow @holleymurchison on Twitter.

If this is your first Twitter chat or you’re joining us for the first time, click here to see how you can make these Twitter chats work for you. See you Monday night!

Issa Rae On Adjusting To Success, Being Afraid of Failure, and the Reality of Will Smith Instagram Speeches for GQ Magazine

Whether you're a fan of Insecure or not, you have to respect Issa Rae and her grind. Recently the star covered GQ Magazine's June 2018  Comedy Issue alongside SNL's Kate McKinnon and Sarah Silverman and today, the magazine shared her cover story. To our delight, in the story photo shoot, Issa paid homage to our beloved 90s favorites. Now that she's reached a very specific level of fame, the actress, writer, director and producer opens up about navigating this next level. We've pulled the highlights for you below.



On balancing responsibility with fame:

“I only want to make my presence felt when I feel like it's necessary. And so much of that is such a hard balance, especially when the narrative is about getting noticed and getting attention for a specific product. And in that way, yeah, I want the eyes to be on what the product is”—meaning Insecure. “But after a while, you become the product.”



On paying homage through her work:

Rae often says that an inspiration for creating Insecure was watching the sitcoms she grew up on, shows with predominantly black casts like Living Single and A Different World, disappear from television—a void that no one seemed inclined to fill. Growing up in Los Angeles, where her father, a doctor from Senegal, had a practice in Inglewood, Rae would frequently recognize her own neighborhood in movies like Love and Basketball and on shows like Girlfriends. Then that stuff just vanished. “The takeaway was ‘Agh, black people are so dope. Where are they at on TV right now? Now I want my own version.’ ”



On lessons learned in the industry:

“I was a mess,” Rae says now. “I was just like, Yeah, I have this shot, but I don't want to fuck it up, so I'm just gonna listen to what everybody says. And I just became like fucking clay for people to mold. The Shonda process was, like, the best shit that happened to me, because it gave me confidence to feel like, ‘Oh, I can do this.’ And I feel like ABC took the confidence away.” Rae emerged from the experience determined never to compromise in that way again: “Like, I need to know what the fuck I want to say before I say yes to any opportunity. I need to have a clearer point of view and clear voice.”

[Tweet "I need to know what the fuck I want to say before I say yes to any opportunity." - @IssaRae"]

On going through the process:

“It feels like I'm being tested in a really crazy way,” she says, not bothering to hide her stress. “It's nothing I can really get into. It's like third-season problems along with, like, just life shit. As a creative, I never imagined that I'd be a boss, too.”

On not getting too comfortable with success and Will Smith Instagram speeches:

That could go to shit,” Rae says. “This could be the worst season we've ever had. And then what? Then people are all of a sudden like, ‘Oh, okay.’ Then the calls stop. It's like stand-up comedy: In order to eventually succeed, you have to bomb. That's what every comedian says—that's when the fear goes away. And I feel like I'm still fearful because I haven't publicly bombed yet, in terms of my career. Yeah, Insecure is successful now, but where's my bomb coming? Where are my Will Smith bombs coming? Where, where is that happening?”

“He went through a period when he was depressed, when three or four of his movies in a row weren't number one at the box office. So for him that was terrible. And now he's talking about, ‘You gotta fail, you gotta fail.’ ” She pauses. “And I don't want to make Instagram speeches about failing. I don't.”

Read the full interview over at GQ Magazine.

Christina Hammond On Cardi B, Drake + Redefining Social Media For Yourself



Women’s History Month began March 1st and has pretty much been extended until Fall 2018 (for now). Between the release of Cardi B’s debut album “Invasion of Privacy” and Drake’s newly released "girl power / twerk anthem” (@DreaOnassis) “Nice For What", women are continuing in their reign to be seen as the powerful innovative forces of the world, while balancing the various adversities we face in our personal lives, careers, and relationships.

Had the opportunity to tackle the design work for @iamcardib’s forthcoming album ‘Invasion of Privacy’. Dropping April 6th 🙏🏾 📷: @jorafrantzis

A post shared by nicholas (@nickychulo) on Mar 26, 2018 at 5:38pm PDT

And while some may resist the evolution of social media, I believe it serves as as a therapeutic expression of confidence for women. It’s creating a new type of woman, a resilient woman. One that is real, one that shines but also pivots through any form of a hard knock, especially relationships.

[Tweet ""Social media serves as as a therapeutic expression of confidence for women." - @MISSCNH"]

For some women, nothing sets us back like a stale or failed relationship. The bounce back has always been a long extended journey, one that can sometimes take a toll on every aspect of our life. We grab our favorite bottle of wine and curl up to the legendary Lauryn Hill, as she croons out “Care for me, care for me, you said you care for me.” (“Ex Factor”, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill). It’s always been this sad, yet amazing song we associate with “that ex” we just couldn’t get over. We sing it to the top of our lungs, word for word, hurt. She made something so bad, hurt so good.

But ladies, a new day is upon us. “Nice For What” is here! Now 20 years later (right, 20 years), Drake creates a new experience for the popular tune. Sampling the lyrics of Ms. Hill, combined with the noticeable Louisiana sound inspiration, his lyrics acknowledges our ability as women to recover, boss up and slay with our girls.

Not only did Mr. Graham drop the single, he also dropped a super fire visual to accompany the certified Summer hit. Leaning on female story teller Karena Evans, the “Nice For What” video features highly reputable women in the industry making strides not only in their careers, but personal lives as well. We get to see the beautiful “Grow-ish” star and activist Yara Shahidi. This young leader is on our televisions, in every high fashion magazine, on stage with Auntie Oprah and more. And while one would think that this would consume most of her time, the talented beauty is slated to attend Harvard University, starting Fall 2018. I appreciate someone like Yara being an example for a woman with intelligence and of many talents. Women often balance a multitude of tasks, and wear so many hats, which is sometimes overlooked and under appreciated.


We also see women like Issa Rae, who have become one of the leading women in the television and media industry (also one of my favorite people to follow on social media). She’s introduced this wave of being professionally real, as she takes full advantage of the freedom to creatively be herself. She demonstrates this not only through her hit show “Insecure”, but even her social media. We are privy to her during the first table read of the new season one day, and her friends partying on her IG story the next.

There are other notable women who make appearances in the video; Tracee Ellis Ross, Misty Copeland, Jourdan Dunn, Rashida Jones, Tiffany Haddish, Zoe Saldana, Letitia Wright (Wakanda Forever), and more.

Ironically enough, I recently completed the book “Nice Girls Still Don’t Get The Corner Office” by Lois P. Frankel, PhD. In a weird but similar way, both the book and “Nice For What" (alongside with the video) convey the same message. As girls, we are taught to be nice and play nice. Not anymore. We are making noise about what we want,One things for sure, no matter the age, or the situation, we will no longer be sad listening to the “Ex Factor” tune.  As a matter of fact, we are twerking and moving on in life.



Christina is the author of “Do It For The Gram: A Quick Caption Guide For The Millennial Woman” is available on both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Connect with Christina on Instagram: @Ms.CNH and Twitter: @MISSCNH

Let's Help Our Communities Starting with Children Of Promise

The year before I launched #blkcreatives in 2012, I worked at Youth Villages, a national leader in children’s mental and behavioral health. Located just outside of Memphis, Tennessee (my second hometown!) the Bartlett Campus, where I worked, provides residential mental health treatment for boys ages 8-17 and girls 11-17 who have serious emotional and behavioral problems. I served as a residential youth counselor and this was my job description in a nutshell:

- Provided the setting for an intensive treatment program that combines the unique balance of structure and freedom which enables children and their families to identify, understand and cope with their individual needs and develop the skills necessary to succeed in less restrictive settings.

- Balances team and individual responsibility, presents documentation in computer database system effectively, maintains confidentiality, and responds promptly to client needs.

But as you know, a job description only scratches the surface of what you really do at a job and my time at Youth Villages was no different. It was one of the most stressful jobs I’ve ever had. While I can’t get into the full details (because, confidentiality), I will say that it’s an experience that’s completely changed the way I look at children and families who are impacted by oppressive systems in this country. Working with girls who have been faced various levels of trauma taught me that there’s so much that can be done before a child even makes a choice to go down a certain path. It also taught me that the trauma that children deal is a reflection of where we are as a society and where we are going.

I won’t place judgement on what’s bad or what’s good because many of these choices come from a place of survival. These decisions, while they may impact a child’s life, are sometimes made with the information that’s at hand. And as someone who has family members that have been incarcerated for most of my life, I understand the effects that the system can have on the families of those imprisoned. It’s an experience that impacts our communities for generations and we want to begin to support those who are providing solutions.

This March, we at #blkcreatives are looking to support Children Of Promise, a Brooklyn organization that is working to embrace children of incarcerated parents & empower them to break the cycle of intergenerational involvement in the criminal justice system. In 2009, Sharon Content founded Children of Promise, NYC (CPNYC) after growing increasingly concerned about the lack of support offered to young people who experience parental incarceration.

CPNYC is the first and only after-school program and summer day camp specifically designed to meet the needs, interests and concerns of children left behind by a parent serving time in prison. Since its inception, we have provided services to over 1,500 children and their families. The org has also established it's own innovative and holistic model to support children of incarcerated parents in leading healthy and productive lives.

#blkcreatives was also built to support and give back to our communities as we’re building our careers, and this fundraiser is a start.


Everything You Need For Monday Night On Twitter

March 26, 2018 at 8pm EST is the date for our next #blkcreatives chat. Here’s everything you need to know.

TOPIC –Power In Numbers: Supporting Black Women

In honor of March being Women's History Month, we're hosting our very first all women led #blkcreatives chat. This chat will dig into how we can ensure that we're supporting, amplifying and advocating for the creative Black women in our lives.

WHAT & WHO: #blkcreatives is a digital agency and collective that empowers Black culture's best creative talent.

Born in April 2015, our monthly Twitter chat called discussions revolve around a specific topic that relates to our personal development and growth as people and professionals. Meet our special guests for Monday:

Krystal Elaine Scott



Krystal is the Founder of The Well, a global community connecting creative + entrepreneurial women of color that launched on International Women's Day 2018. The Well facilitates opportunities for women of color to "network across," and connects women to like-minded peers, mentors and investors. And advocate at heart, Krystal spent the last ten years changing federal and state policies impacting low-income communities, and now she serves as an advocate for female founders and creative ladies—in addition to being the founder of The Well, Krystal is also the Digital Editor and Community Manager at Rent the Runway Foundation, which aims to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs.

Learn more about her here. And follow Krystal on Twitter.

Sakita Holley

Sakita Holley 

is the Founder and CEO of

House of Success PR

, a beauty and lifestyle PR firm.

Since 2011, the firm has worked with a wide array of clients that include the March of Dimes, Harlem Arts Festival, Wendy Brandes Jewelry, African Pride, Motions, Lottabody, KinkyCurlyYaki and more.In addition to her PR work, she also hosts a popular business podcast called Hashtags and Stilettos, which is designed to help millennial women win at work, in business and everywhere in between. Since the podcast's debut in 2015, it has been a steady fixture on iTunes' Top Business Podcasts chart (peaking at #11) and Sakita has been featured by Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise, Women's Biz Journals, xoNecole and more for her PR and business expertise.

In 2017, Sakita was named as one of PRWeek's 40 Under 40 honorees and she is a proud graduate of Howard University.

Learn more about her here. And follow Sakita on Twitter.

Nakea Tyson

Nakea Tyson #blkcreatives

Nakea Tyson #blkcreatives

Nakea Tyson is the host of #FearlessKea, a podcast that explores the complexities of fear and the pursuit of happiness. According to Dr. Christopher Bader, “people often fear what they cannot control.” Every Friday, a special guest will join host, #FearlessKea, to delve deep into parts of their personal journey that has led them to live a life free from fear. Through the stories shared on this podcast, they hope to inspire others to be bold, fearless, and authentic in their pursuit of happiness.

Check out her podcast here. And follow Nakea on Twitter.

Brittiany Cierra Taylor



Brittiany Cierra Taylor is a brand builder, storyteller and marketer and currently works as an Audience Development Manager at BET. Brittiany has been featured on TMZ Live,  E News and Fuse TV.

Learn more about her here. And follow Brittiany on Twitter.

If this is your first Twitter chat or you’re joining us for the first time, click here to see how you can make these Twitter chats work for you. See you Monday night!

Tiffany Dufu On Overcoming Challenges In The Publishing Industry

Sponsored by Tiffany Dufu, Creative Assets designed by Kareracter Creative Studio exclusively for #blkcreatives It doesn't matter what level you're at in your career, new experiences and opportunities will always clear the way for growth. Tiffany Dufua catalyst-at-large in the world of women’s leadership, doesn't shy away from that process. As a new author (of Drop the Ball, a memoir and manifesto that shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive), Tiffany is celebrating her book anniversary by sharing the challenges she's faced in the publishing industry and how embracing herself and her community, helped her overcome them.

Happy Anniversary to you, as Drop The Ball will be celebrating its first birthday (on Feb 14th). You've built an incredible career around advancing the lives of women and girls. Why was it important for you to bring this particular story to life?

Tiffany: Women's leadership is incredibly important to me. The biggest reason why we struggle with innovating solutions to some of our toughest problems, things like disparities in access to education and healthcare, global warming, or a criminal justice system that isn't just, is because we don't have diverse people sitting around the most powerful decision making tables. I've been trying to inspire and equip women to pursue their ambition. But women kept telling me that one of the reasons they couldn't be the CEO at work was because they were already the CEO at home. It was just too much. They also kept asking me how I was personally managing it all. I felt I owed them an answer and that it was my responsibility to support them in creating lives they were passionate about.

One box that the publishing industry seems to put Black creatives in, is that we all have to create from a space that's just about race and identity but we have SO much more to share. How did you push back against this narrative and how would you advise others to do the same?

Tiffany: I pushed back by recognizing this racist narrative is profitable and proving to the industry that there's an alternative narrative that can also make money. It's good business for publishers to market black authors to black women because college educated black women read more books in any format than any other demographic. We have a lot of book buying power. But I didn't want to be put in a box. I felt that Drop the Ball had a message that would appeal to all women. So I was explicit about positioning the book in the broadest way possible so that it would appeal to more consumers.

Tiffany Dufu #blkcreatives Drop The Ball

Tiffany Dufu #blkcreatives Drop The Ball

For example, I ensured the BISAC codes reflected how I wanted Drop the Ball to be categorized. They included Business & Economics, Women, Autobiography, Social Science, and Marriage & Family. As an avid book buyer, I was sensitive to the fact that regardless of the subject, books by black authors are too often relegated to the African American section. I personally love this section, but the average white woman isn't walking into Barnes & Noble and heading there. So we assigned BISAC codes that guaranteed Drop the Ball would be placed in the business section alongside titles like Lean In. I've loved all of Ava Duvernay's films, but I'm most excited about A Wrinkle In Time because its success will be the biggest push back to the narrative that black people can't tell stories that aren't just about being black. And the most convincing evidence will be the dollar signs at the box office.

Was there anything that surprised you throughout this process? Is there anything you would have done differently?

Tiffany: Because I was so hell bent on ensuring Drop the Ball appealed broadly, I refused to appear on the cover. But once the book was released, it became clear that sales were closely correlated with my public appearances and interviews. The cover wasn't selling the book. I was. We often spend a lot of time trying to find the best marketing tools and strategies, but what I learned was that I am my own best marketing tool for my creative work. My editor had to sit me down to explain that I really needed to appear on the paperback. A new jacket was designed that will be released soon.

Tiffany Dufu #blkcreatives Drop The Ball

Tiffany Dufu #blkcreatives Drop The Ball

In your book, you share how you've relied on your community and network of support to adjust. How did your community show up for you throughout the publishing process?

Tiffany: I'm just the cumulative investment of other people. I could tell you a million ways my village showed up, but I have to give a special shout out to the black women came through in a big way. They talked me off ledges during the writing process when I doubted myself and got scared I wouldn't be able to deliver a manuscript to my editor worthy of the advance. They hosted book events for me in major cities, they hired me to speak at their companies and purchased multiple copies of Drop the Ball for their audiences. One of my friends, Keli Goff, wrote a fierce review of Drop the Ball on the day it was released. It went viral and made my book fly. Then there were my Delta Sorors that showed up at every public event just to tell me they had bought multiple copies and to give me a hug.

Every time I think about all of the love I received I want to cry all over again. Drop the Ball was a bestseller because of some serious #BlackGirlMagic.

We all know that publishing a book is no easy undertaking. What would you recommend as the first practical step that someone should take when looking to publish their book?

Tiffany: Write every day. Find an agent that will fight for you. Interview authors. Know that your voice is important and your words are needed to help change the world.

Tiffany Dufu Drop The Ball

Tiffany Dufu Drop The Ball

If you haven't already, grab your copy of Drop The Ball here.

[Exclusive] Support The Culture: The Story Of Write On The Doc

I was about seven or eight years old when I spent one afternoon helping my grandma clean up the upstairs attic bedroom. As in many of our families, grandma’s house was the place to come and stay until you got on your feet, and my older brother was the latest to have moved in and moved out. What started off as a chore turned into me discovering magazines with Biggie and Puff Daddy on the covers. What is this? I wondered. I had heard him listening to their music but didn’t know that there were actually stories written about them. I flipped through those pages, already realizing that I was holding something that was special. The very first time I picked up a copy of VIBE Magazine, my life changed and if you were a kid who grew up during the early 90s, I’m sure you have a similar story.

Hip-Hop Archivist Syreeta Gates is on a mission to make sure that those stories don’t just get told, they get preserved. Write On: The Legend of Hip-Hop Ink Slingers tells the stories of the journalists (Elliott Wilson and Danyel Smith, Kierna Mayo, Datwon Thomas, Joan Morgan, Michael Gonzales, Mimi Valdez, just to name a few!) behind this epic era didn’t just shape a culture - it defined it.

For every person who's still got issue of VIBE, XXL, The Source, Honey, King, Word-Up!, Right On!, etc stashed away at their mama's house, Syreeta has created and directed a documentary that’s for you. We’ll let her tell you the story.

Interview by Melissa Kimble

MK: Write On: The Legend of Hip-Hop Ink Slingers is a documentary about journalists that influenced Hip-Hop culture. Why the focus on writers? Who did you make this documentary for?

Syreeta: I decided to focus on this topic because it never been done and I was actually confused as to why. These writers were the ones that not only curated the story but they created the language for how we interact with hip-hop culture. It was also a personal story for me as I was the editor-in-chief of an online hip-hop publication and then I realized that I didn't know any hip-hop journalists. So I went to the Googles and Google couldn't even help me solve my problem because their work wasn’t online specifically in the eighties, nineties and early two thousands. So I decided to create the change I wanted to see in the world and that's how we got Write On!



MK: You've interviewed 30 plus writers for this project and they all have stories and legendary careers. How did you manage to nail them down and also get them to share their stories?

Syreeta: Last fall we have interview 34 writers in a few different states and we have about 20 or so more to go. How it happened is a whole 'nother story that I might share during this documentary process so that people can really understand what happens when you keep your word in your mouth. I nailed them down by keeping them in my conversation so when I found out who these hip-hop journalists were, I did more research and I started following them on Twitter and on Instagram. I tried to read as much on these writers as possible. I'm a Kinesthetics learner so I had to physically do something with the information that I was getting. I think I've always been transparent with the writers, like this is my first documentary, this is my age, this is what I've learned so far but it's a lot that I don't know. I think them knowing me and my commitment to always put the writers on is why they said yes and I'm grateful!

MK: Write On involves so many different moving pieces and parts. What do you think was the most challenging part about working on this project and how did you overcome it?

Syreeta: The most challenging part has been not knowing the process of getting a film done. This is my first film - but certainly not my last - there's a lot of stuff that I didn't know. I'm thankful to YouTube and I'm thankful for filmmakers that I follow on Instagram (Twitter shout out to Ava Duvernay one time!) and the countless other filmmakers who share their story online. I’m also grateful to the many people that my friends connected me to throughout this process. Their insight has been so valuable. There has been many challenges throughout this process but when you are committed to greatness you have to do what you need to do to make it happen.

[Tweet ""When you are committed to greatness you have to do what you need to do to make it happen." #writeonthedoc"]

MK: Not only do you have this doc, but you’ve also balanced this project with Stay Hungry and The Gates Preserve. How do you keep yourself on task and focused on a daily basis?

Syreeta: Building a team is everything and so The Gates Preserve is the Hub. It’s a multimedia experience company committed to archiving and preserving and hip-hop in such a way that it last forever. So there is no way that I could take on such a large endeavor without a team. I always use the phrase #teamUS and for me it’s a verb so, every project weather STAY HUNGRY or this doc or whatever is next, it needs to be in alignment with the commitment. So every project that’s created must have a team! Though I’m the visionary for the doc we have Kathy Landoli who is the Screenwriter, Herman Jean-Noel who's the Director of Photography and a host of other people who not only said yes but have put in time and work to make this happen. The same for STAY HUNGRY - we have a team of people internally shout out to Kat Delva who runs the ship and Executive Chef Airis Johnson who keep the wheels turning. But we have chefs and production teams and other people who say yes. More importantly than them saying yes they have receipts that are in alignment with them getting the work done. So collectively we're just out here making history. I will always talk about the team. I live in a world in which Everybody Eats B! In terms of keeping focused and being on task this was the first year that I've planned out the whole year. That alone was a game-changer! So I'm clear of what I can and can’t commit to  based on what has been created. I love Post-It notes and I have some apps on my phone that supports me with knowing what the day, week, month and year looks like.

MK: What excites you the most about this documentary coming to life?

Syreeta: Acknowledging the writers and sharing their stories! Knowing that some young person in some small town in any city in America and or abroad can watch this and make the decision to become a writer because they know that the power is in the pen. They are now clear that there is power in the word as soon as they write it down that's it. Also I'm high key hype about the world knowing a lot of untold stories in hip-hop. *Rubs hands like Birdman*

MK: This project also seems like it was a huge undertaking and sometimes, even when we're creating something we love, we can get overwhelmed. How did you find (and continue to find) joy throughout this process?

Syreeta: This is a phenomenal question. I've been overwhelmed have had so much anxiety and have been uncertain about this project possibly more than any project to date. But what supports me find joy is always remembering my purpose. My boy Kleaver Cruz has a project called #TheBlackJoyProject I go there when I need that boost, I go to Yaba Blay’s #ProfessionalBlackGirl when I need to be reminded how lit I am. I wanted people to know these writers like how I've known them. I'm clear that I have a team that supports me as a human. They are committed to my joy my happiness my growth as a person and I think when you have those type of people around you it's much easier to go through the s*** that you can't control.  

MK: We know you must have a ton but what are some of your favorite stories from this project? Was there anything that you learned that really surprised you?

Syreeta: Oh my gosh there are so many stories - I learned so much. It was just crazy - it's like going through this project has been like going through undergraduate program or putting yourself through your own school. All the things surprised me! Like imagine you’re a hip-hopin shorty rock and then you get the context for your favorite artist. It’s mind blowing! You're going to have to wait till the documentary comes out to find out all the goodies!

Write On: The Legend of Hip-Hop Ink Slingers Kickstarter is now LIVE. Support the culture.

Behind The Scenes | An Interview with Myleik Teele on Creating the #MTYRetreat

"The number of women selected for this event was based on what we could realistically handle.  Keep in mind, I also have a cap on the number of subscriptions we have at curlBOXfor this very reason. I’m clear on the “quality cap” when it comes to the things that I produce. I know that if I try to accommodate too many, I compromise the quality of what I’m doing.  Many disagree with this approach to business because it leaves money on the table but that’s not what I’m about."

Our friend Tracy Gonce deemed Myleik Teele, the "queen of flipping women from blah to boss" and we couldn't agree more. We've been following Myleik's career journey since she was a publicist and she doesn't just practice what she preaches, she LIVES it, online and in real life. As the Founder & Chief Experience Officer of curlBOX, Myleik has disrupted the beauty industry in a way that allows women of color to consistently come first. Most recently, Myleik and her team wrapped up her first #MTYRetreat, a curated experience for women to explore the possibilities that comes with "Limitless Living". Here, the entrepreneur (and one of our fave podcast hosts), talks how the retreat came together, her commitment to excellence and growth, and what we can learn about the power of standards from the retreat's application process.

Interview by Melissa Kimble.



MK: From the very beginning of curlBOX, you've been intentional about creating experiences for Black women and the retreat was no different. It was a flawless, well executed event. What were your guiding principles during the creation of this experience?

Myleik: My guiding principles during the creation of this experience were:

Commitment of Excellence: I strive to be a living example of doing all things in excellence.  Excellence is an attitude and I believe in leading by example. I wanted retreat goers to see me at my best in hopes that they’d be inspired to do the same.

[Tweet ""I strive to be a living example of doing all things in excellence." - @myleik via #blkcreatives"]

You Deserve More: Many of us won’t even look at 5-star hotels because we’ve trained ourselves that they aren’t for us. The theme for the RETREAT was “Limitless Living” and by inviting them to a 5-star, 4-diamond resort, it was proof that we belong everywhere.

Let’s Have Fun: Many of us spend our days working twice as hard as everyone else and taking care of everyone else to the point that we forget to have true unadulterated FUN. I wanted to craft experiences that made you laugh until your sides burned and dance until your feet hurt. Based on what I saw, mission accomplished.

MK: For your retreat, you enlisted the help of other industry leaders like Karleen Roy and Kahlana Barfield Brown. Why was it important for you to take a team driven approach to execute this experience?

Karleen Roy #MTYRetreat

Karleen Roy #MTYRetreat

(Note from Myleik): "I think the question is less about a “team-driven” approach and perhaps why it was important for me to “collaborate” with my peers for this. I have never worked without a team."

Myleik: To be fair, this event came to fruition with the help of a small agency and my in-house team for over a year. While these six people may not be visible, they are very definitely heavy-hitters in their own right. The public gets to see the glitz and glamour of it all but there were over a thousand payments that had to be processed, nearly 100 flight transfers, questionnaires to be sent, websites to be built, tons of graphic design and hundreds of hours of communication. The people out front tend to get the credit, but none of this could have happened without them.  

When it came time to set the actual tone of the event, I flew Karleen out to the host resort in Mexico for a weekend stay so that she’d be able to fully understand what I wanted THE RETREAT attendees to feel.  After that, we began brainstorming on a schedule of breathtaking events.  I hiredKarleen’s “Vanity Group”for this because I don’t believe that anyone could have visually articulated my dreams better than her. We spent countless hours on the phone, trading texts and emails and every detail came out better than I could have imagined.  I don’t plan events for a living, so I hired someone with the actual skills and resources to get it done.

As for the speakers, I have personal relationships with everyone that spoke over the weekend.  Everyone that spoke atTHE RETREATunderstood my vision and knew what I was trying to accomplish.  They were all more than willing to jump on board to help me see this thing through. When they need me to do something, they know I’ll be right there.



MK: While it would be impossible to accommodate 1,500 women when there were only a select number of spots available, there are some on social media who've appeared to take the application process/rejection personally. Some have even reviewed their rejections from a lens of "I'm not good enough" or "something must be wrong with me". How would you challenge that perspective and how can we break the mentality that equates rejection/failure with unworthiness?

Myleik: I think what may have been a huge mistake for some during the application process in 2016 was moving too fast and not spending enough time with the questions.  Believe it or not, the majority of applications I received said things like “I want to go because I need a vacation.” While I totally understand that, you don’t really need me if a vacation is all you need.  I was looking for people that were able to articulate their ability to exchange – people that hoped to learn something but also had something to offer THE RETREAT.  I knew that the event wouldn’t have the same impact if everyone had to rely solely on me to provide insights for the weekend.  I wanted a completely immersive experience in which people could chat with someone on the ride over to the resort and learn something or solve a problem they’d been having by the pool.  Based on the feedback I’ve gotten, that goal was accomplished.  

There seems to be a misconception that the group consisted of mostly bloggers and influencers and I think that likely came from the fact that I announced this RETREAT on Instagramwhere many bloggers and influencers reside.  There were various career levels from entry to expert.  The group was diverse and made up of pharmacists, doctors, photographers, financial analysts, data analysts, journalists, ministers and more!

MK: It's been beautiful to watch so many women come together to genuinely connect and grow. Did you learn anything new about yourself or your business? What are you most proud of when you think about #MTYRetreat?

Myleik: In working on this RETREAT I learned that I am capable of more than I thought I was.  This was a HUGE undertaking and I managed to get it all done while holding down two companies (with a baby on the way)!

I’m most proud of the fact that I had the means to personally finance this.  I’ve always wanted to do something like this and every time it came to a point where the budget would stretch, I was able to say “let’s keep going.”  Sometimes it just takes someone treating us really well to remind us that we should be the first to spoil ourselves. There are no words to measure the amount of love I felt over the weekend and these ladies were worth every single penny spent.  I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

[Tweet ""Sometimes it just takes someone treating us really well to remind us that we should be the first to spoil ourselves." - @myleik for #blkcreatives"]

Want info on next year’s #MTYRetreat? Sign up for alerts on the websiteand follow the hashtag on Twitter for even more gems.