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Founder's Letter: Dreams Come True: Presenting The Black Ballad Weekender

Does anyone have a vision board? I do. I call it a prayer board (I have some scriptures on the board to help me remain focused and encouraged during the difficult moments.) This is where my deepest desires, ambitions and hopes sit perfectly curated together on a digital page thanks to Canva. Whether it be the places I want I travel to, the life and experiences I want to give my children, the personal dreams that float through my mind in the middle of the day and the career goals that fuel me each and every morning, they are on this digital document that I carry around on my phone.

This vision board gives me hope. In a world that seems fuelled by hate, this vision board, or my prayer board reminds me of the importance of holding onto my dreams no matter what happens. As black women, our dreams are often an act of defiance. In a society that both tells us and limits who we can be, our dreams act as the first port of call for allowing us to think outside the box. They allow us to see ourselves in situations, moments and even careers that society (read whiteness) can’t even fathom us being in.

When I hear the dreams of other black women, there is the commonality where dreams give black women permission to choose ourselves, while simultaneously hatching a plan to serve our communities. When black women turn their dream into a reality, they often carry our communities forward in ways that can make change, allow us to heal or simply bring us all joy.

So what are your dreams? What is the one thing you want to accomplish or bring to life? It is important as black women we ask each other. For the last few years, I’ve had a dream that, in honesty, I’ve been scared to bring to life. I’ve dreamt of bringing Black Ballad to life in the physical sense. To create a world that sees thousands of black women come together over multiple days to heal, laugh, learn and experience joy in a place that centres us like never before.

10 years of black women and black stories

With Black Ballad hitting 10 years, I decided to make one of my dreams a reality. So with a mix of joy and a little bit of nervousness that I can feel in the pit of my stomach as I type, I’m sharing my dream with you and announcing that on August 23rd-24th, Black Ballad will be holding a TWO DAY LIVE EVENT IN LONDON, (I’ve put it in caps as my husband said that when I have big news I slip in quietly to newsletter - e.g. announcing the birth of our kids, insert laughing emoji) that will see 2,000 black women have the event experience they have been waiting for and deserve. This event called The Black Ballad Weekender - a celebration of Black British womanhood. Think inspiring talks, workshops, shopping experiences that bring black women and the wider black community together. We want to celebrate Black British women like never before in a way that joyfully brings Black British culture to the fore and acknowledges the journey and contributions Black Britons have had.

Imagine a marketplace that is the perfect blend of Black owned businesses and more established businesses that understand our needs. Different themed rooms where panels, workshops and conversations take place? Well, at the Black Ballad Weekender, we’ll be having a Main Stage, Beauty room, Health room, Careers and Money room, Family and Identity Room and of course, a Book Room that will be in partnership with Penguin. Penguin and of course, Jendella Benson, will be programming the room to celebrate, discuss and dissect books by Black authors that have made us laugh, gasp and even have us in our feelings over the years.

And what is a celebration without food? We will be working with Just Eat to create a black owned food court where Black owned food restaurants will present to ensure that attendees have a choice of foods that celebrate Black Britishness in all its glory. Coppafeel! will join us on the day, bringing both the fun with a photo booth Jeep (yep you read that right!) and facts with a much needed health conversation. And that’s a tiny slice of what we have in store for you all.

The Black Ballad Weekender 2024

I’m so proud to finally make this dream a reality. For every person that told me Black Ballad wouldn’t work, wouldn’t last and to those that said Black Ballad would fail, (the words were a failing business to be precise), I have kept hold of this dream. It has stayed on my prayer board, because I’ve wanted to see black women be in a space with thousands of other black women and be carefree while celebrating each other and celebrating what Black Ballad has meant in this last decade.

So to every black woman, hold onto your dreams, even when the waters are turbulent, the road seems rocky and you are tired, because you will get there. Black women, continue to dream big, and never give up on your dreams, because it has taken me 10 years to make this dream, The Black Ballad Weekender, a reality. And on 23rd and 24th August, I can’t wait to raise a glass as we celebrate 10 years of Black womanhood, Black stories and Black Ballad against the sounds of DJs, inspiring talks and the joy of Black womanhood. I can’t wait to see you all there.

More details, including location, our first wave of speakers & ticket sales are coming very soon, so keep your eyes peeled to your inbox!