Montreal was all abuzz with BLAXPO taking front and center this past weekend at Elevation and Co. Presented by Four Brown Girls, the event celebrated the exploration of black culture through art, commerce and conversation. I’m a born and raised Montrealer, so needless to say, it was beautiful to see my hometown celebrate all facets of black culture on this level. Everything was on display and thoroughly explored over the span of two days. The vibes were right, the attendees turned out in numbers, and it was a solid and proper launch for Black History Month. There is so much to say about the event, but I will give you a short synopsis of my experience.
I took in 3 out of the 5 events – the vendor expo, the art exhibit and Brown Beauties Brunching. I did hear that great conversations stemmed from the other two events – the Black Dolls Be Like workshop and the Brothers & Their Business panel. If it was anything like the Brown Beauties Brunching, I’m sure there was some serious knowledge being imparted with. But I’ll get to that in a minute. Festivities on Saturday included the vendor expo and exhibit. The expo had a nice array of products on display. From dashiki dresses, colourful statement neck pieces (you know how much I love a neck piece!), and natural hair and skin care – it was all there for your purchasing pleasure. I know a lot of people were in the purchasing mode. Of course, I left with a few goodies that you will see me sportin’ on Instagram in the near future. Had to support the peoples!
The art exhibit was fantastic and introspective. Under the glow of spotlights, the pieces highlighted art from Benny Bing (whom I already own a couple of pieces from), Leona Art, Keish and Coloured Conversations to name a few. Colours were vibrant, and statements were made through mastery and craftsmanship.
Sunday, was the cherry on top. Brown Beauties Brunching was a palate pleaser and also served up nourishment for your brain and soul. While I only had a couple of appetizers, I can`t fully have my word on the food. But what I did have was tasty. Hosted by Christelle Francois, the afternoon was chock full of inspirational and weighted tidbits. The panel consisted of journalist and Canadian TV personality Namugeni Kiwanuka, Chief Financial Officer of Imvescor Restaurant Group Inc. Tanya Clarke, journalist and author Marie-Louise Bibish Mumbu and lastly, mother of hockey powerhouses PK and Malcolm Subban – Maria Subban. Each one of them left us all with a host of wise words to ponder upon. I feel that one of the truest statements made was from Nam, who stated, “You cannot allow your circumstances to dictate your future.” Judging by the fevered pitch of applause, I would say that everyone took heed to that. Discussions touched upon how to deal with each other as sisters when we are our worst enemy; how to carry ourselves in the boardroom in a male, Caucasian-dominated world; the importance of mentor-ship for ourselves and the young ones, and how we should support our own as every other community does. Why is it so hard? What are we doing to move forward together? And most of all, do we know what we are about and+ what we want out of it all? I think that they are all very pertinent questions. The questions posed to the panel, as well as the those from the audience, were stimulating, engaging and thought-provoking. Take a look at my tweets for some of the prominent quotes that stayed with me after the event.
While mostly everything was on point, there were a couple of things that came to my attention. There was no mention of social media handles for panellists or the hashtag for the event. It would have been nice to have the info posted around or at least mentioned before the panel. And the vendor room was a little dark and hindered me from seeing some of the product at certain tables. Hopefully, those two nuggets will be taken into consideration next year. The positive thing for me was looking around the room and taking in all of the women who were stylin’ from head to toe, educated, well confident in their skin and willing to learn from others. The banter and vibes were incredible. People who didn’t know each other when they walked in were connected when they walked out. Events like these are always high on my list, it’s definitely a beautiful sight to see. It irks me when people are quick to say that black women do not get along, and how we are quick to bicker and have an attitude. Events like these challenge the stereotype perpetuated and show everyone exactly how we are and what we have to offer. We are bold, fearless and unified. And we will not let anyone tell us otherwise. Lastly, I can’t forget to mention that your girl won a prize from 23h15 Lingerie & Lifestyle! Can it get any better than that? 🙂
I am so looking forward to attending this amazing event again next year to make new connections and celebrate our culture in full effect. A special thank you to Four Brown Girls for all of their hard work and for bringing together such an amazing weekend for us to learn, aspire and enjoy. Well done!