I had A BLAST in Washington DC this past weekend. The Blogging While Brown Conference was super super awesome for so many reasons. So take off your coat and stay a while. There’s much to gist you with.
The Conference began on Friday with a game night but Afrobella and I missed all those festivities because of janky Amtrak. UGH! *kicks trashcan* When we got to DC, we met Adria Richards at our hotel to complete our roomie trifecta. We ALL met last year at Blogging While Brown 2009 so this was a cool full circle weekend.
We managed to all shower and get dressed in under 1 hour. Ladies and gentlemen. For three ladies to do this was nothing short of miraculous. We wanted to catch the last bit of the Blogger Cocktail Party at the rooftop of the W hotel so we had to rush. It was hosted by Sunkissed Mommy (Mama NWA) and the lovely Andrea of Fly Girl Blog. We got there around 9:30 and there were just a few folks left. We missed everyone!!! *WALL SLIDE*
I still caught up with Mama Nwa though. I heart she murch. And it’s there that I met Panama Jackson of VSB and the lone VSS Liz Burr. Panama is indeed a 3, because he insisted on wearing sunglasses. At nighttime. But Panama gets upgraded to a 4.5 for buying a round of Kamikazes. lol
We were hungry so we ended up at Busboys N’ Poets for dinner. Although i wanted a big Mac from McDonald’s but they were hating on me and wouldn’t let me get one. HMPH.
This was THE day of the conference, chockful of panels. We may or may not have gotten there right after the introduction keynote was over (womp to us but what had happened was…. mmhmmm). Soon as we walked in, we saw folks we met from last year’s conference. April Davis of AroundHarlem is one such familiar face. HEY GURL!
When we settled in, we were at a table with my eSis PBG, Vivrant Thang, Wordyless, and Citizen Ojo. Ojo asked Adria to pass me a note and it completely murked me and had me cheesing like a cheshire cat. It read: “Just wanted to say my wife would die if I sat at the table and not speak to you. Your tweets are required reading at my house!!” Seriously, he made my DAY with that note. So to Mrs. Ojo, I give a shoutout!
The first presentation we caught was from Justice Fergie of Mama Law (and Blogalicious), representing the FTC and letting us know the guidelines on Bloggers’ Disclosing relationships with marketers. Then Scott Hanselman did the “32 Ways to Keep Your Blog From Sucking” and it was DOPE! It was one of the best “Do better” presentations I’ve seen pertaining to blogs, and I’ve seen a lot. Oh and here’s where I discovered that Scott was a fellow ratchet enthusiast. In the intro to his presentation, he mentioned that he was THAT white guy that was always around Black folks (because his wife and her entire family, are African). And as long as he had his shield, (an Obama tshirt) he was cool. He even had a picture to prove it. I (and the rest of the room) cackled.
The Business of Blogging panel was also good. Although I was getting restless because it was almost lunch AND I was nervous about the panel I was speaking on. EEK! I’m speaking in front of these 250 folks. *bites nails*
We broke for lunch and I met Elisa Camahort, co-founder of BlogHer. It was really cool to meet and chat with her. She’s also the bomb diggity (no doubt). She pumped me up even MORE about the Humor Writing panel I’m speaking on at the 2010 BlogHer Conference. So thankful to them for the invite.
My panel was called “Beyond Gossip, Hip Hop, Hair and Politics: Bloggers as Changeagents” and I was on it with Dr. Danielle N. Lee of Urban Science Adventures and Latoya Peterson of Racialicious. They REALLY came correct with their parts and I thoroughly enjoyed what they presented. Dr. Lee even mentioned that she live-streamed her dissertation defense (which I think is a pretty cool idea).
When it was my turn, I got up there and did what I know how. I spoke about my life’s work, The Red Pump Project. My thug was about to fail at different points in my presentation when the room applauded. But I held on tight.
People were tweeting about it and really giving love and it make my soul SO happy to see it. Like truly. When the panel was over, a good amount of folks even walked up to me to give props and say how inspired there were. I couldn’t have been happier or more humbled. All I did was take my passion for social justice (especially HIV/AIDS) and wear some red shoes. A year and a half later, The Fab Giver and I have created a movement. So to EVERYONE who supports us, I say a HUGE hearty thanks. Sidenote: Our new website is coming very soon. *sigh* Don’t judge us by the current one.
Social Justice + Fashion + Passion x Social Media = The Red Pump Project
One of the biggest highlights of the day was the last panel, which wrapped up the conference. The “Breakthrough Bloggers” panel moderated by Lola Adesioye, with panelist Baratunde Thurston, Afrobella and Anil Dash. This panel was BEYOND awesome. Those 3 are some powerhouses in blogosphere and they are so inspiring. Anil Dash, who has been blogging since 1999 (who knew blogs existed since then?) spoke about how people need to “just be the best” to get to the top. He made it sound so simple that I *facepalmed* and went “That’s all??”
Here are a couple of his quotables.
“Know your shit. And own it. And don’t be afraid to say you own it.” – Anil Dash
“I’m richer than 99% of the people who ever lived, and that’s when I was broke” – Anil Dash
They spoke about how you often have to face your fears to REALLY get to where you want to go. Afrobella revealed that she was facing her fear of public speaking by being on that panel. She also moved the room with her story of how Barack Obama’s Inauguration was the catalyst to her becoming a fulltime blogger. When she went to her boss at the newspaper she worked at, asking for time off to go to DC for the Inauguration and he responded saying no one cares.
“I felt trapped at my job. I created my own box. I could let myself out of that box.” – Afrobella
Her message was sometimes, you need to step out on faith to reach greatness.
Baratunde spoke on how you must do what you fear the most and read a quote from Frank Herbert’s “Dune.”
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
I wanted to get out my chair and dance in the aisles. Juking for Jesus was the only thing I wanted to do after that. But I somehow behaved. That panel gave me PURE. OXYGEN!!! The stories they told. The insight they gave. It was EVERYTHING!!! iLIVE!
But yes. That ended the conference and it was honestly one of the best I’ve ever been to. I walked out super motivated. Even more than I was before. I was on CHARGE! It’s always great to be in a room of like-minded people doing similar things as yourself. The community and the love in the conference was SO strong.
I learned. I met new folks. I reconnected with old folks. I inspired. I was inspired. I was proud. I was humbled. I was blessed with this experience.
That conference definitely makes me want to become an even BETTER blogger. Greatness, I need you in my lifespace! I couldn’t possibly list everyone I met or was touched by. But do know that you’re ALLLL fantastic. I look forward to Blogging While Brown 2011 in LA! Who’s coming???
To look at other pictures from the day, check out the Blogging While Brown Flickr Group.