Interview by: Dr. Vernet A. Joseph, GLM
Joseph: Tell our readership about the Blackout Mix (TBM)
Hill: The Blackout Mix (TBM) is an organization in Phoenix, Arizona that collaborates with local Black organizations, groups, churches, community centers, museums, schools, festivals, and libraries in the Greater metropolitan area. TBM gives each organization the opportunity to advertise their events for free on the online calendar. TBM also hosts live events in the community that represent economic empowerment, education, culture, leadership, collaboration, and celebration.
Joseph: How does the Blackout Mix Online Calendar Work?
Hill: The Blackout Mix Online calendar is a platform to celebrate Black History Month through events in which leaders of the community have created.This year the calendar will reflect 29 days straight of accomplishments, culture, collaboration, education, economic empowerment, community, and celebration. The goal is to have consistent festivities during February. I noticed that each year during Black History Month our community only has a few days or maybe even a week of celebration. It’s time to have a full month of nonstop celebration each year. I will not settle for less than what we deserve. I never understood why the Black Community was given the shortest month of the year and yet never takes full advantage of each day to celebrate. So our objective is to represent each day.
Joseph: Donald, so how did your organization get started?
Hill: The Blackout Mix was created in October 2014. I created the TBM to institute a change in the Black community during Black History Month in Arizona. The idea was established as a one stop source where the Black community could collaborate and support each other’s events during Black History Month from an online calendar platform. There are so many Black organizations, fraternities, sororities, companies, families, groups, and nonprofits but they all seem to stay within their own circle. For some reason they have not unified and I feel we are powerless without unification. My goal was to break the cycle by coming together as one mix, meaning “The Blackout Mix” to represent the Black community leaders, educators, organizations, accomplishments, culture, collaboration, economic empowerment, community, and to celebrate.
Joseph: Why did you create an Online Event Calendar?
Hill: I felt there wasn’t enough recognition given to Black successful leaders that were establishing uplifting and inspiring events in Phoenix and surrounding cities. I noticed a few sites that recognized Black History Month but there wasn’t a single source that only focused on the positive events exclusively. There was no organization that had consistent events each and every day without a break. A majority of the events in the media were a mixture of clubs and parties that were not serving our Black community well. This issue became a trend each year during Black History Month in February. This trend made it literally impossible to find positive uplifting events to attend that represented the Black community as strong leaders and educators with a culture of collaboration, economic empowerment, and celebration.
Joseph: Explain the process behind the calendar?
Hill: With Phoenix being the 6th largest U.S. city I knew it was a possibility that greatness existed but there hadn’t been anyone to acknowledge it. I felt someone needed to create a community based platform that was easy to access that showed all the positive events taking place. I pictured it being a simple page of awesome events that aren’t usually advertised in the media. I knew for a fact that this idea should be in place and I just needed to find it. I started out by asking the community. Then, I researched all local magazines and newspapers. Last, I conducted online research for five months through websites and social media. But still couldn’t find anything like my vision so I created it then named it The Blackout Mix.
Joseph: Talk to me about the previous TBM Events?
Hill: Yes, TBM hosted a ball on the last day of February 2015 to celebrate the events that took place during the course of Black History Month. The Black History Month Ball theme was Red, Black, & White. At our formal ball we shared hors d’oeuvres, drinks, live entertainment, dancing, and awards. Our event was filmed and live streamed by AZ LIVE TV. We had Celebrity & Guest Appearances: Aimee Parker (Miss Black Arizona USA 2015), Steven Hunter (Phoenix Suns), Ben Franklin (Grammy nominated producer/song writer), and the Buffalo Thunder Band. Our proceeds went toward research and program development to support families caring for African American foster care children. We were able to use TBM proceeds to assist foster care parents who are not of African descent, and may not know how to meet the hair care, skin care, and healthy lifestyle needs of their African-American foster care children, by providing them with hair care products, skin care products, and specialized training.
Joseph: What does the future look like for TBM?
Hill: Well… I don’t want to give away too much… but let’s just say I’m planning to bring TBM to each neighboring state on the West Coast, then eventually branch off to each state throughout the U.S. Some of our next phases will include webinars, workshops, economic development, training, and education.
Joseph: Do you have any upcoming events?
Hill: Yes, We actually have an event on February 27th. The event title is The Black History Month Speed Networking Extravaganza. The goal is to celebrate the accomplishments of local events that take place during the course of Black History Month in Arizona. This event is also an opportunity for like-minded business professionals to connect through NetworkingSamples Speed Networking platform. There will be special guest appearances and features such as speed networking, drinks, entertainment, live music, live art, dancing, and awards. We will also share hors d’oeuvres. For more information and to purchase tickets please visit www.theblackoutmix.com
Joseph: Are sponsorship opportunities available?
Joseph: Do you need any volunteers or guest appearances for your events?
Hill: Sure. We are always looking. Please visit our website and leave a message and our staff will be glad to hear from you.
Joseph: How does someone find you on social media?
Hill: Facebook.com/TheBlackoutmix, Twitter @theblackoutmix, Instagram @theblackoutmix