Black, Queer entrepreneur works to lift peers through empowered ‘BO$$’ events

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Queer Kentucky Interview with Prince Crittenden

What is BO$$?

BO$$ is a creative cooperative designed to level the playing field by empowering minorities with business related resources, create a network of likeminded peers and encourage diversity within our local creative and entrepreneurial communities.

What inspired you to create this event?

Well I’ve always been pretty active within the community, as mentioned before I’m a missionary kid. But what inspired me to create BO$$ specifically I would say was a number of things — primarily just personal experiences.

I had been working really hard over the past five years as a creative person of color here locally, putting out sickening high quality content by myself. I didn’t feel that my (nor my peers of color) opportunities looked the same as our white counterparts.

This time last year I had made a post on Facebook voicing my frustration with the lack of diversity represented within our creative community and a very well know photographer here verbally (via Facebook) assaulted me. They told me that my feelings weren’t valid, that I was crying wolf because I felt left out and even went as far as to call me a Trump supporter/ANTIFA.

It was an exhausting experience, but one thing the photographer said stuck with me. He said instead of complaining I should step my game up! I was already launching MCM (Mental Care Monday) at this time but I knew in that moment that I had to create a space for minority creators to not only voice those same concerns, but to support each other, learn from one another, and grow together!

I have always been inspired by the Civil Rights Movement (my grandfather marched with Dr. King). Growing up I heard stories of triumph and togetherness, so I used that for a reference point — more specifically Black Wall Street and The Harlem Renaissance (thriving times for minorities in business and creative spaces). I watched a documentary on PBS also entitled BOSS. I kept writing down words that I was receiving from the message of the film and they quickly became an acronym — Blacks Organizing Strategic Success, thus BO$$ was born.

As a Queer Black person, do you feel that there are any other entrepreneurial events that include you? If not, why?

As a queer black person, I do feel that their are entrepreneurial spaces that include me, but I feel that they do because I make them. I don’t think the black queer experience is represented or included as a whole, & I also don’t think that a lot of black queer folx know how to properly maneuver in the spaces confidently.

This is the second boss event, should we expect this to be yearly? Quarterly?

This is the second BO$$ event! I’m so excited that we’re even in a place to be hosting another one! So thank you to everyone that supports! Honestly, I don’t really have a set timeline for BO$$. My ideal goal is to do them once a month or at least every other month, mainly for accountability purposes! We are building a community of trust, & camaraderie that will allow us to push each other towards our goals! I think monthly checkups and report cards disguised as parties would definitely help keep us all motivated.

What obstacles do you have in creating these events?

The biggest Obstacles with these events are thinking of new ways to keep them fresh, informative, fun, while still continuing on from the previous session. That’s why I think the introduction of the BO$$ grant system will help elevate us to a higher platform. Each monthly mixer we’ll draw a name of a member and they’ll receive up to $200 to go towards business/brand development. That could be anything from website maintenance to business cards. Not much, but just something to alleviate some of that finical stress that comes from being your own BOSS. So I guess funding all of that will become an obstacle too, but I’m confident it the concept!

What fulfills you about creating these events?

These events fulfill me in ways I never thought they could! I’ve always been a connector and I’ve always been able to bring people together. It was usually for something that lacked substance, but being able to unite people from all different walks of life, backgrounds and orientations just makes my soul smile.

People from the first BO$$ event where we gave them headshots, have sent stories of opportunities that came for my mixer that have helped them to elevate themselves in the time since. Someone booked a modeling gig with the headshot, someone connected with another creative to start collaborating on their own projects and fundraisers, so it definitely has the potential to be something powerful! I love being apart of those stories! I think everybody deserves a seat at the table and sometimes that means making your own table!

What is one thing you never want a a queer person of color to go through that you had to go through that BOSS can help prevent?

I never want a queer person of color to feel unseen, unheard, unvalued. When that photographer attacked me saying my feelings weren’t valid, because it was different from his, I knew I never wanted to see other marginalized communities (especially my Black & Brown folx) silenced on my watch. Everyone is seen at BO$$! That’s why everyone is invited! I don’t think that just because something is black forward, that doesn’t mean it’s not welcoming to everything else. I wanted it to be in your face and bold, because these conversations need to happen! The fear around black people and spaces need to be rebuffed. That’s our mission with the Blacktivist campaign – BLACK’ing out racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, discrimination, segregation, intimidation and all other forms of miseducation within the creative entrepreneurial experience.

When is it?

The next BO$$ Mixer is January 7th

Where is it?

Trouble Bar from 6 – 9 p.m. Dress is business casual grown & sexy, from the board room to the private jet dropping you off straight into the VIP.

What is next for BO$$? How can the community help you?

DONATE HERE

https://www.facebook.com/donate/2982738041750977/

What’s next for BO$$ will be manifesting our biggest event yet in February! BO$$ Presents: The Walnut Street Dream Bazaar! Our first vendors market, in honor of Black History Month and highlighting local Black & Brown businesses. Walnut Street was a strip of successful, thriving, creative businesses on what is now Muhammad Ali Blvd.

The local Black community migrated there when they weren’t allowed to be on the thriving (white only) 4th Street. Walnut Street was so incredible that (much like Black Wall Street) the white folks started to patron their establishments. Gentrification & redlining was the cause of it’s death, like most flourishing Black communities. I want to recreate that independence and unity that Louisville once exuded with abundance. And of course we’d continue the growth of our grant system.

Growing, educating, and elevating these minority businesses. And the community can help by funding our cause! We won’t survive long with it! This will be our biggest fundraiser goal thus far, but I believe the community is ready to get behind something like this! I also believe that showing up, attendance is the most important way they can support our queer creatives, especially those of color! There’s a lot of us out here doing some really cool stuff and we just need to be highlighted more!

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