On March 15 I did one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done - I spoke on a panel at SXSW. Now, if you’re not in “the know” then you might not know that SXSW is a major music, culture, and arts conference that happens every year in Austin, Texas.
In July 2022, I pitched my panel idea, “Wellness Shouldn’t Imply Whiteness” to the SXSW community of reviewers. The next step after the pitch was to get my community of supporters to vote for the panel, then hope and pray that the SXSW reviewers were interested in the panel.
Imagine my surprise when I learned that the panel was accepted! Most people pitch to SXSW 2 or 3 times before they’re accepted to present or perform and I did it with just one pitch.
But over the past week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the event, what it meant for me to be there and how I got there.
And you know what? I keep going back to my community of Black Women who have shown up for me.
Nikki Porcher, founder of BFABW, eagerly agreed to moderate the panel and took it SO seriously! She did an amazing job. Youmie Jean-Francois, founder of Flex-N-Fly, showed up authentically at the panel, sharing valuable information with the audience. And my mostly Black Woman audience of supporters voted for the panel and sent me well wishes, hoping that the panel would be a success from all over the country.
Speaking at SXSW was one of the biggest things I’ve done in my career, but I’m also an anxious introvert. However, having other Black Women in my corner and on the panel meant that leading up to the entire event, I never felt nervous or worried that things wouldn’t go well. I just knew that I had my supporters and that I would be on stage with other capable women and because of this, I’d shine.
That’s the power of the community of Black Women. With them, I am excited about my future, I feel proficient and accomplished, and, mostly, I feel safe.
Of course this blog could’ve been a recap of my experience at SXSW (which was amazing), but when you walk the halls of the Austin Convention Center, you don’t see many Black Women and we can change that. I hope that you’ll take a chance on yourself and pitch to SXSW in 2024, that you bring other members of the BFABW community with you, and that there are more stories like this one about how good it feels to do big, scary, new things with Black Women at your side.