Who All Over There?!
Good or bad, being raised in "Norf" Philly for the majority of my life in a large family made me who I am today. Growing up in a predominately Black community, my favorite memories include Unity Day, dope ass block parties, beach days at the Jersey shore, double dutch (jump rope) with the neighbors and Sunday dinners cooked by my southern raised grandma (i can taste her collard greens as I write this).
Through my trauma, I became quiet, shy, and socially awkward in my teens and beyond. I never thought life would lead me to being the face of change...I love it here.
Shot by Jenna (IG @black_girl_in_suburbia
...the Hood Advocate
Growing up Black in a racist, oppressive society that profits from pain since kidnapping humans was also hard to experience firsthand.
My own lived experiences include volunteering in the community, a public school, and with children in foster care, and raising my children highlighted the needs for our underfunded, underserved, stressed, and beaten communities.
In 2022, I am currently witnessing underserved generations of people who look like me barely survive. The minimum wage stuck at $7.25 for the past 15 years, fewer resources than problems, and the continuous flood of drugs, fast food, and guns into our communities promoting hunger, survival by any means necessary mentalities, diseases, and hopelessness... the agenda to profit from our pain continues to thrive.
I was a victim of sexual assault on multiple occasions with no justice. I experienced houselessness due to gentrification while in college.
My life's purpose is to advocate for those that look like me, who suffered/suffer like me, and welcome anyone ready to uplift, amplify, heal, and build our communities with me. Although the problems were overwhelming, leaving life to feeling hopeless sometimes, creating Philly Experiences to correct and eliminate a number of them took me by surprise.
During my first solo and international trip to Barbados, it was the deep conversations with locals that left me pissed and frustrated that they were dealing with gentrification in Paradise and that they didn't get the same pleasurable experience as the visitors. This led me to see Philly in a new light with great untapped potential.
My research revealed that my majority Black city was playing in our faces with over 7 BILLION dollars every year via tourism, yet our schools, potholes, and community issues are still an issue. I became increasingly curious to find out what would happen if I could just reroute 1% percent of that money into Black neighbors before they are violently gentrified.
Philly Experiences started as an opportunity on Airbnb Experiences to let visitors into the life of Black Philly with a trap music bar crawl at my favorite spots throughout the city. The support and feedback from the guests, locals, and businesses were more amazing than I could imagine. With this motivation, I curated and hosted Experiences such as adults-only game nights, wellness experiences, 3D paper flower classes, a thrift store crawl, and a soul food tour to give locals and visitors a city full of culture, communities, and connections!
The vision? Besides taking over the world lol. It's simple. Build Black Philly to be unfuckwittable (poetic license).
Ultimately Philly Experiences Aims to Be the Blueprint for:
- hiring locals at realistic livable wages
- providing experiences that amplify Black humans
- community healing meditation sessions
- building community among locals and visitors
- providing visitors with a full story of a city with over a million realities
- making visitors humans again instead of dollar signs
- fun and sustainable thrift store crawls
- increased foot traffic to businesses in the hood
- social impact and culturally relevant mural tours
I am soooo thankful that this brand is still standing during these unpredictable times. Since 2018, Philly Experiences has shown locals and visitors a city unmatched in Black, local and hood culture and communities filled with genuine humans. They can finally like or deeply fall in love with Philly by connecting both groups through real life, everyday experiences curated with love and a passion to heal, create, grow and turn up. Join us!