Since the beginning of Hip Hop music in 1973 with DJ Kool Herc spinning on the 1's & 2's, scratch that, since the root of black music, art, fashion, and music has collided to embody culture, and with that sounds infuse to create something magical. Fast forward to the year 2017, literally five decades later, black culture is still elevated and embraced because of hip hop/R&B, fashion, and art around the world. We make a STATEMENT, we have a VOICE, we are CULTURE! On the evening of August 18th, I was able to attend an event that was created by three millennial's, one female and two males called Ladies First: InnovateHERS located at The Ballard House Project in downtown Birmingham, AL. At this event, brought black innovation, culture and commerce (words of Carmen - one of the creators of Elevators and this event) through usage of music and embracing the black women creative mind through art, rather eccentric jewelry, paintings/sculptures, photography, handbags, or crochet, anything which you would not usually think of was showcased in a way of authenticity and originality which screamed "I am different yet DOPE". Even the DJ, was a women. Shoutout to all women disc jockeys. RESPECT! That is what I adore about art, fashion, and music because it allows you to express yourself in any way imaginable and it allows you to have a voice without words. Being new to the city, I was not aware of the location of the event, but once I got there and learning a little bit more about why the event was put together as well as the location, it was a perfect place to hold an event downtown, in a district where black businesses thrive to spark a voice for creatives to let people know who they are and to bring people together to embrace culture through all means of art. Allow me to provide some brief history on The Ballard House Project:
Built in the 1940s by a black physician, Dr. Ballard, this was an early live work space for him and his family. Dr. Ballard left in the late 1940's with his family and moved to the West Coast, California to be exact. From there he started one of the first African American Banks in that region. Before leaving to uproot him and his family, Dr. Ballard sold the building to a women named Jessie Perkins. She being the black innovateHER she was, used the home to organize black social sit-ins during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960's. Jessie created events and made this a safe house and meeting crowd for people to commune and create. Now in 2017 the house is being ran by a black gentleman in real estate development passed down to him by his family where he uses the house for Restoration and Programming to tell the history of decades leading up to the civil rights community from the early 1900's.
Now from this brief history lesson of the event location, you can see why the creators wanted to make this spot their own. Attending the event, these are three things which I took away from the event:
1. Black Girl Magic and all Black is Beautiful - beauty, hairstyles, fashion, and shades.
2. Be who you are and don't be afraid to stand outside the box, because someone is always going to come up to you and ask "What is your inspiration behind this?"
3. Everyone has a story and don't be afraid to create your own lane. Allow that innovation to spark events for the culture to spread love, collaborate, commune, and network.
Through the words of Carmen (one of the creators of Elevators and the event), she stopped complaining and created the events she wanted to see and in her community, to have a space to collaborate and make something beautiful. The event was thrown to see if this type of event was wanted in the city; and with that it's where fashion met art and hip hop/R&B to innovateHERS. I can only speak for myself, but this is much needed in the city and thanks to Elevators for throwing this event.
Take Away Message: Find people who will allow you too shine, because their is a STAR in every person they just don't know it yet.
Thank you to Elevators and The Ballard House Project for hosting this event. Also thanks to Magic City Classic Fashion Week for allowing bloggers like me to write about things like this.
Until Next Time...