Love yourself enough to know you matter
It’s virtually impossible to love others when there’s not already a sense of self love, said Kansas City small business owner Christina Williams, announcing the launch of an initiative to guide its community of Black men to understanding and believing in their own self-worth.
“I know a lot of times in our communities we look outwardly to fix a problem, but we really want to take a step back and ask ourselves, ‘How can we look within?’” shared Williams, who launched The Blakk Co. — a social club for men of color to connect and empower one another — alongside her best friend and co-founder, Tamela Ross.
Click here to read the story behind Christina Williams and Tamela Ross founding The Blakk Co.
To promote the mission of self-love, The Blakk Co. created the #SELFLOVEERA Project — an effort was initially sparked by conversations with members of The Blakk Co.
“They mentioned wanting to get back to the ‘Self Love Era,’ and whenever you hear a man verbalize anything about love, it’s like, ‘Tell me more!’” Williams recalled. “They referenced back to the early ’90s when there was a huge advocacy in our community for African Americans to really love ourselves.
“Our conversation went on further, addressing some of the things we face as a community of color; I can use gun violence as one of those examples,” she continued. “They were having the conversation that when you love yourself, you think twice about something such as shooting another person. You love yourself enough to know that they matter to someone else.”
The Blakk Co. partnered with a dozen other local Black-owned businesses to provide experiences for the community.
“Like with Fresh Factory KC, we have a selfie installation in our space where people can come to the club and snap photos,” Williams said, noting that community partners will be releasing messaging and imagery within their own spaces and social media platforms as well.
Other community partners for the 2022 #SELFLOVEERA project include: Monarch Cigars, Top Gun Barbershop, Clippin 2 Please Barbershop, BoxOut Stress, Day28 Wellness, Dottie’s Kitchen, Iris Agency, Just Right Boutique, Chuck Brown Productions, Ultimate Game Night and Nick Bindope.
The Blakk Co. released #SELFLOVEERA hooded sweatshirts to raise funds that will go toward purchasing billboards in urban areas with the goal of spreading awareness in their communities.
Click here to purchase a #SELFLOVEERA hooded sweatshirt.
Inspired by the men within The Blakk Co.’s social club, the club will be hosting a community prayer vigil at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 at its Midtown location.
“Our members wanted to challenge men — and of course women are invited to come too — to be thoughtful in group prayer and figure out how they can make a difference in their community,” Williams explained. “But again, this is not something that Tamela and I said we should do; the members are the ones who inspired this. We’re just here to provide them a platform to do these things.”
Keeping February hustling with collaborations, The Blakk Co. is hosting a For the Culture Crawl, featuring more Black-owned businesses — including some #SELFLOVEERA community partners.
Book discussions, happy hours, cinema nights and exercise stress relievers are just a handful of events taking place throughout the month of February with the For The Culture Crawl.
Click here for a full calendar of For the Culture Crawl events and ticketing.
“There’s a lot of events within the Culture Crawl that can really help you tap back into self-love,” Williams said. “… Although this is kicking off in a month known for love, I am hopeful that the impact will extend far beyond February. Loving yourself has no expiration date.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.