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Letter to the Black Brilliance Collective

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“When I found I had crossed that line, I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was such a glory over everything; the sun came like gold through trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in Heaven.”


-Harriet Tubman


This month we held a Black Brilliance Collective, ten Black and brilliant minds gathered together to explore the creation of a new narrative. Our retreat generated over 700 ideas for how B is for Black Brilliance will amplify, cultivate, and celebrate Black brilliance and nine other fleshed-out innovations. We carried each other’s ideas, spoke truths, embraced, affirmed, challenged, and made space for Black brilliance. This letter is for you, Black Brilliance Collective.   


Dear Black Brilliance Collective, 


As Harriet watched us, we laughed, cried, rested, and centered each other. I felt what it felt like to be in a space that centered Black joy, Black love, and Black brilliance. My feelings, ideas, risks, fears, and hopes were held and celebrated.  


You proved that when Black brilliance is amplified, cultivated, and celebrated, that phenomenal, mind-blowing conversations and ideations happen.  


You seeded ideas, explored possibility, and blue-skyed about how B is for Black Brilliance might amplify, celebrate, and cultivate Black brilliance. You dreamed of a world where our bodies are safe, our brilliance is nurtured, our traumas are healed, our energy is preserved, and our power is funded.


There were 11 of us in the room while millions of us search for a similar room.  When we closed, it felt bittersweet. I missed the space we created together and was grateful for it. I wondered how many Black people and creatives needed the connections and love we built, experienced, and felt. 


As I designed the space, I used a set of principles to guide the work. I want others to feel what we felt, so I am sharing those principles to honor our time together. May it lead to more gatherings, more brilliance, more Blackness, more naming, more reclaiming. 


Three Principles of Design for Black Brilliance Collectives:  


Brilliance breeds brilliance 


When we shed oppression and drop the masks, we’re left with pure uninhibited brilliance. When we are safe, healthy, and free, our brilliance grows and then compounds. Black brilliance is everywhere, and you’ll find it in all industries. As we gather, we center Black brilliance every step of the way. Our brilliance connects with other brilliance, and as it builds, it gets deeper, and movements emerge. 


Your network is your net worth 


Our souls are connected. Our experiences are similar and different, and that is our strength.  When we connect our networks to one another, magic happens, communities get built, and revolutions happen. When we move as a collective, we find the possibility in our Blackness. 


We are powerful beyond explanation 


There are times when our words cannot capture the power of our Blackness. We say whole sentences with one word, “girrlllllll” or a look (you know the look). We silence thousands with our songs, dazzle millions with our bodies, and create empires out of scraps. 


We are powerful. When we embrace that power and the power of others, systems get broken and rebuilt. Make space for the power to emerge. And, when it comes, because it will come – give it more space. 


You are everything. Thank you for steppin’ out on faith.   


Above ground,