Social Group BlkPrnt CLT aims to bring Black women in Charlotte closer together

Social Group BlkPrnt CLT aims to bring Black women in Charlotte closer together

Photo courtesy of Diamante McKelvie - Swnk Empire

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Raqilah-Sade Clyburn founded the nonprofit organization BlkPrnt (Black Print) CLT for Black women to connect and network in a city they can call home.

“Even if you don’t walk away with a best friend you can at least walk away knowing you were able to connect with some people who were like minded as you,” she tells Axios.

Why it matters: It’s hard making friends as an adult, whether you’re new to a city or a local and UNC Charlotte graduate like Clyburn. 

  • She is also using her organization for more than a means to connect, but as a way to fight against the stigmas of Black women. 
  • Some of the conversations during gatherings touch on the pressures of the pandemic and issues facing the Black community.

What’s happening: Clyburn, Nakayla Harris and Samantha Sim schedule monthly events across Charlotte. “A safe space is so important. Especially when women come by themselves, they can walk away with a connection that could last a lifetime,” Clyburn shared. 

Context: BlkPrnt originated from a TikTok video Clyburn made with a call out to ladies looking to meet up for brunch in February. 

  • Within a month, the video raked in thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.
  • Clyburn tells us the overwhelming amount of support from women in Charlotte and surrounding areas pushed the vision to foster connections.
  • The first meet up started with about 10 women and has grown into an event with more than 30 people. 

Photo: Courtesy of Diamante McKelvie – Swnk Empire

Zoom out: Social groups have become more popular in Charlotte, as more people are looking for community coming out of the pandemic. And TikTok has been a popular way to make that happen. 

  • Another Charlotte local started a social group through TikTok to bring people together. 

Zoom in: Most events are designed to be social, but Clyburn admits she wasn’t exactly a social butterfly before Black Print. 

  • “Social anxiety is relatable for a lot of Black women. I remind people who attend our events that this is for me, too, and it helps them feel more comfortable,” Cylburn said.
  • Some events focus on pushing people outside of their comfort zone and promoting mental health.

Photo: Diamante McKelvie – Swnk Empire

How to get involved: Anyone interested can find their events on social media and Eventbrite twice a month.

  • Past activities have included a hike, pilates and a social hour at Artisan’s Palate. An outdoor movie at Camp North End is their latest event to be held.
  • Some events are free but she does encourage everyone interested to still register online.
  • Clyburn has worked with local Black-owned businesses like Hip Hop Smoothies and plans to work with more to create experiences for the community.  
  • Women of all ages are welcome. 

 What’s next: There are plans to expand Black Print’s reach to the Triad area. 

  • Some women have traveled from Greensboro and Winston-Salem so Clyburn says she’s currently working to take what she’s created and plant it in a neighboring city. 

Luxury brunch during the summer. Photo: Diamante McKelvie – Swnk Empire

Photo: Diamante McKelvie – Swnk Empire

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