West Louisville woman aims to inspire Queer, black business owners

Chan Ponder

I identify as a Lesbian an my pronouns are she, her and hers.

I grew up in West Louisville on 40th and Market Street. Growing up for me was pretty dope and from growing up in the west end, urban community, I’ve definitely seen a lot.

My mom was a single parent and broke her back to take care of me. I also attended traditional school all my life and graduated from male high school in 2009. Back in the 90s growing up, it was bad but not as bad as you think. I definitely was living in the hood, but growing up…it just wasn’t that bad for me there.

In high school I was in the closet of course. I probably didn’t really come out as a lesbian until after high school at 18. It was rough coming out and growing through that, but it also wasn’t bad. I dealt with a lot of family issues. The outside world accepted me, but family didn’t.

When it comes to issues, I can walk around with my girlfriend’s hand and feel comfortable, but racial issues are worse than LGBTQ+ issues with me. I get blatant disrespect for being black sometimes, but not for being a lesbian. Maybe it’s the way I carry myself with confidence, but I tell myself all the time I need to brace for homophobic remarks.

For anyone struggling to come into their own, just keep growing. Keep doing the self-work. Keep learning yourself. Keep paying attention to who you want to become and who you want to be. Not just sexuality, but even as a person as whole. Work on becoming an inspiration to the person that’s just like you. Don’t give up don’t let anybody change you. People will ridicule you and make you second-guess yourself. Don’t question yourself and don’t change for nobody. Stick to it. Whatever you want to be. And if you’re a parent with a queer child — do not beat them up. Your kids are dealing with enough outside bullying; they don’t need to go home to the same thing — that’s shitty. Be there for them.

People are really killing themselves over this. I’ve been there! It took me a while to dig myself out of that dark place. And we have to do it by ourselves so often.

When it comes to issues within the LGBTQ+ community, there is no unity; there’s not togetherness. It’s not there. When pride and stuff comes, its very white oriented. You see a lot of white pride. Racism is bad right now and going into pride, I wanna feel welcome regardless of what color I am. Minorities can be scared to come out to white focused events.

There isn’t a lot of stuff for black queer folk to do.

I think supporting one another and standing together and being behind each other would help unify us.

Let’s Mix

I feel my best when I’m bartending. When I’m doing something for my business and myself. Helping people, serving people.

Let’s Mix started in 2016 when I graduated college and had degree in electronics and decided to go to bartending school.

Next thing you know on Facebook, everyone started inboxing me that they needed me to bartend so I thought I’d turn it into a business. That’s how it happened.

Some of my goals for my business are getting a mobile bar built and teaching bartending classes.

Eventually I wouldn’t mind opening up a bartending school! I want to inspire someone else who wants to bartend. We so, so many small girls are the face of bartending. You don’t see many people looking like me. I want to be a voice to anyone who wants to start a business. No matter your race, sexuality. No matter how big or small. Hopefully my story will be an inspiration and people can learn from it.

I want to be looked at as this person who made it — someone from West Louisville and someone who is gay as well.

For more information or booking, Contact Chan Ponder at letsmixent@gmail.com (502) 298-8017.