Where Fashion Met Art & Hip-Hop
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 and fashion have collided to embody culture. The merging of art, fashion and music always creates 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! Last Friday evening, 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.
in the words of Carmen, the co-creator of the event, "this event brings black innovation, culture and commerce through usage of music and black art by various women entrepreneurs". There was jewelry, paintings/sculptures, photography, handbags, crotchet toys... basically, anything you would not usually think of was showcased that night. Everything there was so authentic and original that it was screaming out, "I am different yet DOPE". Even the DJ, was a woman--shoutout to all women disc jockeys. RESPECT! That is what I adore about art, fashion, and music; these art forms allow you to express yourself in any way imaginable and it also 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 learned a little bit more about why such an event was needed and why the location was chosen, it all made sense. The location was a perfect place to hold an event because it was deep in a district where black businesses thrive and the house has always fostered black excellence. Allow me to provide some brief history on The Ballard House Project:
Built in the 1940s by a black physician, Dr. Ballard, this house 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 place 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. 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. The event was thrown to see if anyone in Birmingham was interested in such events and the turnout was amazing. 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 to shine, because there 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.
Author Brittany Boykin