One year ago today, Independence Day 2016, I launched #THECOLOROFINGENUITY. I remember how proud I was to post the first article. I was filled with nervous energy, excitement and a tad bit of fear from the moment I hit “publish” but somehow managed to do it anyway. After all, The Color of Ingenuity was going to be my solution to a problem.
The problem? I’d spent the last year, feeling powerless as stories dominated airwaves of African American’s who suffered “death by police” and heartbroken when their murders didn’t result in charges or worse– ended in acquittals. You see, we’ve reached a trillion dollars in buying power and we weren’t using it right. We weren’t demanding change by affecting bottom lines. We weren’t recycling our dollars. We were using our voices but our dollars didn’t reflect our stance. Social media was full of debates on the subject but no one had actually come up with a viable solution. My thought process was simple…we must spend our money with our own. We have to reestablish our sense of community and recreate our “village”. One way to do so was to make a conscious effort to “Buy Black” whenever possible. Perhaps other people were complaining about how to get that done because they didn’t know what businesses existed. The Color of Ingenuity was my solution!
But it couldn’t be just another directory! It had to be a vehicle to share the stories of African American entrepreneurs, innovators and visionaries. After all, I was a writer and storytelling was my passion; better yet my gift. One I needed to use to create a resource for other entrepreneurs. Hopefully, one entrepreneurs story would provide a solution to another entrepreneurs problem. Perhaps it would inspire the next generation of visionaries. Ultimately, It needed to propel consumers to patronize African American owned business because there was work to do within our community. There still is but I digress.
Even before I knew what the name of the site would be, I knew who I wanted to interview first. Kimberly Clayton-Thigpen, owner of The Bath Place, was a former coworker whom i’d admired from afar long after our working relationship ended. She’d managed to walk away from Corporate America and never look back. I’d seen her social media post transition from pictures of products displayed in her home to a brick and mortar establishment and ultimately to the shelves of Wholes Food. She was the ideal representation of what I wanted to showcase on The Color of Ingenuity.
Twenty-One interviews later, I’ve met an array of entrepreneurs blazing paths and creating legacies. The Color of Ingenuity is so much more than my response to my hopelessness. Its a platform with the capacity to extend far beyond what I initially envisioned. I’ve been told countless times by those whom I’ve featured, how “grateful” they are and how “I’m a great storyteller” but what they fail to realize is they first had a story to tell. I’m eternally grateful to each person that has allowed me to share their story because it inspired me and educated me along the way.
I’m excited to get year two started! Stay tuned, #BUYBLACK, #BANKBLACK and #StayDope!