Black lives matter, but so does black love, according to Sabrina Madison, also known as "Heymiss Progress."
And for the upcoming Conversation Mixtape this weekend, restoring that love is crucial.
Madison is the founder and organizer of the Conversation Mixtape, a social gathering for black men and women to discuss the mechanics of building and sustaining long, healthy and loving relationships. The event has been occurring for about two-and-a-half years.
This Sunday, the Conversation Mixtape will host a live, recorded event for the first time, so those who can’t make it don't miss out. The event is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Cardinal Bar, 418 E. Wilson St.
Panelists for the event, who will start the conversation on "black love matters," are Angela Fitzgerald, who works in policy research around juvenile justice; Angela Ferguson, who owns a child care center; Jamaal Eubanks, who works with young adults to prepare them for college; and Damion Catledge, a writer and poet. Audience participation is encouraged.
There is a $12 cover at the door and people can expect food, drinks, a DJ, an art showcase, video recordings by Tony Star Media Group and giveaways.
The idea for the Conversation Mixtape initially rose out of a Facebook conversation, where Madison noticed a disconnect and lack of understanding between black men and women in the city. She organized some lunch dates to bridge the gap, which later turned into meetings at some of the participants' homes. After those initial meetings, she decided to create something bigger where black men and women can have such conversations in a social setting.
Sabrina Madison is in the process of creating a formal organization which will include the Mixtape; other events will be geared toward families, parents, high school and college students and other demographics.
“What we were seeing in the Mixtape was although we were talking about relationships between men and women, a lot of folks were asking questions about raising children and other stuff. So there were a lot of family issues brought up in the Mixtape even though we were there to talk about our intimate relationships,” Madison said.
Since the Conversation Mixtape first launched, Madison said there have been some success stories. One couple who met at the event got engaged while in other cases, there have been a few children born. Madison refers to them as the “Mixtape babies.”
In another case, a couple was going through a rough time, but after an hour at one of the house meetings, they took away tools to help restore their relationship and later got married, Madison said.
“We have people who also build friendships that come to this," she said. "Other relationships are being built, not just intimate relationships."
“One of the biggest complaints I hear is black folks new to the city don’t know how to get connected and they feel left out, so what this is able to do is create collaborations that allow people to connect with one another and offer support,” she said.
Madison said she plans to have four recorded events each year.