Hey beautiful people. I’m Tavares and this is my first blog for The Clubhouse Blogs [insert any loud and joyful sound of your choosing]. To say I’m excited to share with you all is an understatement. I’m EXTREMELY excited about the opportunity to share my journey perusing these Clubhouse spaces with you! With that said, I hope you are able to answer with a STRONG and PROUD “Yes” to the question posed in the title — are you For(bes) the culture?!
Strolling through the hallways of Clubhouse, you can find just about any room you desire discussing a plethora of topics. For me, it’s all about being open to these spaces and being clear about where and with whom you want to spend your time and energy on the app. On Tuesday, February 3, 2021, I was doing just that when I stumbled across a room entitled “State of Black Entrepreneurship x BHM”. Though this topic grabbed my attention, it was the name of the club that caused my interest-antennae to perk up with full intrigue. The club was called For(bes) the Culture and this is where the foundation of this blog idea started manifesting.
What is For(bes) the Culture?
For(bes) the Culture is a community of culture makers who formed a community to create equitable pathways for e(lit)e Black and Brown professionals. It’s been in existence since 2017 and has been in partnership with Forbes since 2019 (For(bes) The Culture, n.d.). With their membership reaching over 5000, this group of entrepreneurial professionals set the intention to seek to support, amplify and advance the state of Black Entrepreneurship through the cultivation of sharing resources and information along with networking opportunities globally. I felt at home with these budding Black entrepreneurs and was immediately drawn to the room.
With that being the foundation of what grabbed my attention, entering the room did more than satisfy my curiosity. Here’s the thing: going into a room centered around Black Entrepreneurship during Black History Month was more than a welcomed treat for me. There are not many spaces in the social media world where Black people with common experiences can congregate to talk to each other about these commonalities. So, to see this happening in Clubhouse was especially beautiful to see in real-time. The co-moderators, Mendell Grinter (founding member), Rashaad Lambert (organizing co-founder and club administrator) and Vinasia Miles (co-founder) did an amazing job of sponsoring and holding this space and when I entered, the business owners were already having a robust conversation with each other answering two focal questions:
1. What is the state of Black Entrepreneurship?
2. What do you need to help elevate your business?
I was able to chat with Mendell in his Instagram DM (@mendellll) while the room was taking place and when asked about the goal of this room, Mendell stated, “We opened this room to provide a space for Black business owners to come and share more about their business.” While sitting in the room, not only was that goal clearly realized and masterfully moderated, but it was also noted by many of the participants who were brought to the stage to give their perspectives. This introspection often led to them gaining clarity about themselves as individual people and why they chose to give their lives to entrepreneurship and service. Various industries were represented ranging from renewable energy to curriculum design to personal development coaching to the non-profit sector to real estate development to Black hair care. Talk about diversity WITHIN the Black community!
So, what IS the State of Black Entrepreneurship?
The moderators curated a welcoming space that fostered honest conversation from those who felt brave and safe enough to come to the stage to offer their responses to the questions posed. According to many of the speakers invited from the audience, this is what they had to say about the State of Black Entrepreneurship:
- concerns about the ratio of Black entrepreneurs in particular business spaces in comparison to the presence of White entrepreneurs.
- needing more Black people to get into spaces that aren’t heavily represented by Black people like renewable energy and tech.
- reaching young Black and Brown children to equip them with entrepreneurial skills and showing them how economic expansion can happen through them and from what they learn about owning and running a business.
- challenging the Black Entrepreneurial community to learn to be more willing to share knowledge within this small community.
With Clubhouse being what it is and with it having the potential to exponentially grow into so many amazing things, Black entrepreneurs have a unique opportunity to expand their reach and build a strong community with each other on the app. According to Mendell, “So much of the experience of being a Black entrepreneur happens in silo.” He went on to explain concerning the potential of Clubhouse to advance and further Black business owner conversations, “Clubhouse goes a long way towards building community and eliminating the barriers for business owners to communicate with one another.” The ability to go into rooms that hold space for the diversity of Black businesses and even the ability to create rooms designed to build a larger and more cohesive community follows the vision and mission of For(bes) the Culture.
The Tavares Review
When I say that there is nothing like Black Excellence on full display in all of its glory, I really mean that and that is what I saw in this room full of young, gifted and Black entrepreneurs! I learned a great deal in this room. Having a short attention span, I know a room is a winner when I’m able to sit, listen and learn for an extended period of time. Though there were two people moderating, during my time in the room, Mendell was primarily leading the discussion. Mendell moderated the room with respect and grace. He held the room to focusing on the questions posed while using his quick wit to periodically reset the room to make sure any newcomers were able to come into the room and quickly learn what the room was about. The speakers all moved in step with the room’s expectations and were able to add insight and an engaging perspective that held my interest for the duration of the room (which was around 2 hours). I would gladly return to another room that Mendell moderates.
For more information about For(bes) The Culture, check out this article on Forbes.com
Follow me on Clubhouse, Instagram & Twitter at tavaresteaches; comment and share this blog with your friends. See you next blog!
For(bes) The Culture [forbestheculture]. (n.d). Posts [Instagram profile]. Retrieved February 3, 2021, from https://instagram.com/forbestheculture