Why you NEED to attend “The Kick Back”
Every event that I attend I always look for the point, the reason so to speak of why we are all gathered in a pretty space with pretty food surrounded by pretty people. Sometimes its to raise awareness about a cause, sometimes it’s for art, other times it may be fashion or music. The list can truly go on and on but one thing is for sure and two things for certain, I have rarely attended an event where the entire purpose is to provide a safe space for black people (people of color) to talk about issues that directly affect us. People have asked me to explain what “The Kick Back” is. I usually say, “get a room, provide refreshments, add some young intelligent black folk, close the door, provide topics, and discuss.” That is the gist of it but its deeper than that, The Kick Back is a place where it’s okay to be black and talk about the shit that we can’t talk about at work or other public places as to not disturb the “peace.”
It’s bringing our black minds together and really connecting. Yes, we use social media while in the room, but there is a big portion of the discussion where all phones are down (a rare occurrence in our generation). We are simply letting our ideas and thoughts flow freely on whatever the topic is, and for the most part its with strangers. When I attended my first “Kick Back” (that was the second one) it was with a close friend (Hey Brandon) and I only knew him in the room, by the end of the event everyone was my fake cousin. This Kick Back III (the third kick back) I attended alone, as soon as I entered I was greeted with a hug from Natelege founder of Hearts Converse and I found a seat. Typically, I go to my phone to provide myself with some type of comfort when I attend events alone (it eases the anxiety). I began my routine and I was immediately interrupted by someone I befriended at the last event (we screamed in agreement about a relationship topic together lol).
The vibe in the room was different and because my mind is programmed to find comfort in my phone I hadn’t realized where I was. I was home. The home where you can get hugs and jump into conversations with strangers who look like you. Instead of girls exchanging death stares, they are passing plates to make sure you get some of the fried chicken that is provided. You make small talk about what you have been up to since the last time you have seen each other, and while I am a stranger I feel at home. Natelege usually tells everyone in the room to quiet down because the discussion is about to commence. Upon entering the room you are given a card with the Hearts Converse logo and a number written in the corner in red. Three chairs are placed in front of the room “the hot seats” and Natelege explains to us that at random she will call three numbers. If your number is called you are in the hot seat. The people who take the hot seat are given first dibs to answer the topic that will be talked about, and then after everyone in each hot seat has stated their peace the room gets to discuss. This happens about three times, with three different topics, and three different sets of people.
The topics range from relationships, gender roles, cultural appropriation, the list goes on. The topics are always diverse, Natelege actually emails us to ask for feedback if we would like certain topics to be considered for the discussion. I could go on and on about why you NEED to attend “The Kick Back” but to keep it simple, if you are looking for a safe space where your black voice matters, where what you say doesn’t provoke hate but discussion, where you can eat chicken and talk about real issues that effect and affect your life then The Kick Back is for you. I always leave feeling refreshed, restored, and usually mad that the time went so fast. But most of all I always leave feeling as though my views and thoughts are shared and I am not alone or being “extra.” A pretty space, with pretty food, and pretty people, and the point? To allow our beautiful black voices to be heard. Selah.
To catch the next Kick Back make sure you visit Hearts Converse !!!!
Spaces are limited, so please don’t play when you see the flyer posted…don’t be that person.