Tuesday, February 4, 2020
Meet Today's Black History Makers & Trailblazers!
So often, when we study, analyze, observe or teach Black History our focus is limited to the contributions of famous Civil Rights figures, celebrities or Blacks who are sadly no longer with us. My series here is to demonstrate that Black History is alive and well. That it's the embodiment of Black leaders of the past, present and future generations. It is the collective talents, gifts, vision, wisdom of: writers, scholars, policy makers, entertainment icons, thought influencers, change agents and "unsung" heroes.
With this being said, today I'd like to welcome to Pen & Prosper the President and Founder of Black Bloggers Chicago, Danielle Sanders. She's increasing the visibility and opportunities for bloggers of color in the Windy City.
Please make her feel welcome with your comments, suggestions or questions.
THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY, DANIELLE. CAN YOU TELL PEN & PROSPER READERS A LITTLE ABOUT WHO YOU ARE AND HOW YOU BEGAN BLOGGING?
Sure. My name is Danielle Sanders. Everyone calls me “Danie”. I am a single mom of three teenagers and a music and entertainment blogger. I have a website called “Black Widow’s Web" that focuses on R&B, Soul and House music. In addition, I am also the Founder & President of Black Bloggers Chicago. I started blogging about 20 years ago as a hobby. Like many, I had a blog on a free platform and used it to write about my life, love and relationships. I became a Spoken Word Recording Artist making “house music” about five years ago and decided to create a blog to promote myself as an artist. That eventually evolved into a website dedicated to my favorite music genres and its history and culture.
DESCRIBE YOUR “BRAND”.
Black Bloggers Chicago is an organization dedicated to supporting, educating and connecting Chicago Content Creators and Bloggers of Color. Black Bloggers Chicago was created with the belief that content creators of color have influence and impact on the culture. It is all about telling stories. Specifically, sharing “our stories”.
WHAT IS THE MISSION OR PURPOSE FOR CHICAGO BLACK BLOGGERS?
Our motto is Meet…Connect…Collaborate and Build. We are committed to supporting and assisting Black Content Creators in the building and development of their blogs and websites by providing educational resources and by connecting content creators to brands to form long lasting and mutually beneficial partnerships. In addition, this organization is committed to connecting bloggers with one another and forming a community of influencers who affect our communities positively.
WHAT ONE TIP CAN YOU GIVE TO NEW BLOGGERS SEEKING TO BUILD A PLATFORM AND INCREASE THEIR ODDS FOR SUCCESS IN THIS INDUSTRY?
Blogging and Content creation is an ever-changing industry. I think the most important thing a new blogger can do is to learn the “business of blogging” and to create authentic content consistently.
WHAT CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2020?
Our organization was fortunate to collaborate with various companies and organizations in the past year. I am thankful to continue those partnerships and pass those accompanying opportunities to our members. Most recently, some of our members became contributing writers for the Chicago Defender and are currently writing articles for the newspaper. We intend to expand our writing team in the 2nd quarter of this year. In addition to our monthly meetings and quarterly social events, we are also expanding our learning series, called, “Blogger Edu”. These workshops will cover Blogging Basics, Advanced Blogging, Monetization, Partnering with Brands and more. The goal is to assist our members in not only creating their blogs, but in providing educational support for our members to help them grow their brands. In theory, we are an organization that believes if we build together, we can also grow together.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR LITERARY INFLUENCES OR ROLE MODELS?
I love incredible storytellers who use language artfully. Toni Morrison and James Baldwin inspire me. The way they tell our stories is so vivid. As a spoken word artist, I also am incredibly inspired by poetry. Warsan Shire, Sonia Sanchez and Ursula Rucker are a few of my favorites. The way they paint pictures with words is incredible.
I also follow some great content creators and influencers who have made incredible strides in the industry and have created these incredible businesses as a result. Women like Jamilah Lemieux, Demetria Lucas and Candice Benbow are bold, unapologetic and incredibly authentic in their writing. I admire and aspire to achieve that in my writing.
WHAT CHALLENGES YOU THE MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER/BLOGGER?
I think balancing the business of blogging and being creative is my biggest challenge. Nowadays, you cannot be “just a creative”. In order to succeed you have to know your niche and the Blogging Business. You have to learn social media marketing, analytics, SEO, and so many other things. Trying to do that while remaining creative can be challenging.
AS WE STUDY THE WORKS OF FORMER BLACK WRITERS AND HISTORIANS, UPON REFLECTION, WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE YOUR FUTURE LEGACY TO BE AS A WRITER?
I want to tell “our stories” and document our history. That is so incredibly important to me. Sharing our experiences and documenting our experience in the American Fabric is the legacy I hope to leave, whether through my blogs, song lyrics or poetry, I hope I leave stories for future generations to connect to.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?
A Shameless Plug!!!! Black Bloggers Chicago is always accepting new members to join our organization. You do not have to be an experienced blogger to join.
Image credit: BHM LOGO Pixabay.com