Over the last few years, I’ve been having fruitful discussion after fruitful discussion about issues facing the Black community and solutions to address them. I’ve hosted events and forums to address systemic racism, I’ve written angry Facebook posts detailing why pro-Black does not mean anti-white, I’ve read countless articles, shared compelling videos, listened to political commentary, vented to loved ones, and explained white privilege to my white peers, but I have continuously felt like there was more I could be doing. And so began my drawing board of the thoughts and ideas that birthed this blog.
1. I want to create a meaningful space to share the Black professional experience. I follow my fair share of young professional blogs and have read books on how to make the most of your 20’s, but I crave a place that explicitly captures, explores and explains the unique facets of the Black professional experience. Our perspectives tend to be absent from the mainstream rhetoric around what young professionals need, completely ignoring the complexity of being Black in majority-dominated sectors and spaces. The grind of young black professionals is unique and powerful. Many of us are first or second-generation college graduates trying to create new norms in our families and broader communities. Many of us feel an obligation to both make money and make a meaningful impact in addressing the staggering inequities that face our community. Many of us know what it feels like to be the only Black person in our office or in our grad program, and are unsure of how to bring our full selves to those spaces. We have specific needs and encounter specific experiences that we should not have to navigate alone. I hope for this blog to be a shared space of wisdom and vulnerability where a thriving community can come together to problem solve and support one another.
2. I want to share what I’ve learned and continue to learn. While I’ve only been out of college for 3 years, I have learned so much through the various job environments, individuals and cities that I’ve been exposed to. I have been deliberate about seeking out mentors who have expertise in the industries that I’m interested in, in addition to the knowledge they’ve acquired through just living life; I have also been intentional about building a strong network comprised of individuals from varying backgrounds to learn from and engage with. From learning how to be my best, most efficient self to navigating personal and professional relationships,there are so many nuggets of wisdom that I’ve acquired and that have benefited me early on that I don’t want to keep to myself.
3. I want to explicitly acknowledge and celebrate Blackness. How often do we get to just celebrate the beauty of our Blackness? How often do we not have to worry about being stereotyped or judged or left out the decision-making process? Coming from a PWI and working for majority-white companies and organizations, I crave a space to talk about issues, topics and feelings that are unique to the Black community, without fear of being misunderstood or misinterpreted, or feeling like I need to tweak and tailor my opinions to fit the comfort level of others. Sadly, I’ve already felt this internal “will white people be offended by this blog?” sentiment, but when I scroll through all of the 20-somethings blogs that are allegedly inclusive but do not feature a single Black person, or search through stock photos to use on my own blog but cannot find a single one that features a Black person, I realize that white-specific spaces already exist, and do so in a way that is neither ashamed nor censored. We deserve to have a space that acknowledges, praises, addresses, and elevates Black voices–that prioritizes them, celebrates them, and magnifies them. Like my predecessors who have founded networks like BET and Centric and publications like Essence and Ebony, I want to ensure that the content I curate is all black all the time.