October 26, 2021

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Don’t Not Try This At Home: A Reflection On The Four Year Anniversary Of For(bes) The Culture

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Written on October 2, 2021 at 4:20 am

First, HAPPY 4-YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO THE FOR(BES) THE CULTURE FAMILY!

In a few moments of full transparency (and acute sleep deprivation), I want to share something with you, and by you, I mean the over 20,000 people who read this For(bes) The Culture newsletter twice a month (thank you all as well, members and non-members alike)

When I woke up on October 2, 2017, much like I just did 3 mins ago, I didn’t know that night would be the start of the movement now known as For(bes) The Culture. We are all often marching towards moments of destiny unbeknownst to us, and this was one of those times, but I was skeptical. The words “don’t try this at home” echoed in my mind multiple times throughout that day as I was calling restaurants and trying to find a home for this meeting of the 25 invited minds of Black excellence. We wanted to discuss in private what wasn’t being discussed in public and be able to provide actionable solutions to our respective communities. However, a gathering of Black excellence is often met with resistance.

“Don’t try this at home!” “Don’t try this at home!”

Over the years, I had read about and witnessed many people take a stand or take action when having similar feelings to the original group of invitees, yet it didn’t always turn out successful. 

During American chattel, slavery gatherings were met with whips and other forms of punishment; during the Jim Crow era, there were lynchings, during the civil rights movement, there were dogs and fire hoses, and during recent years there have been police called and in some instances fatalities. To me, all of that screams, “Don’t try this at home!”

Or does it?

We purposely didn’t publicize that original gathering, not because we wanted to alienate anyone from attending but because I was concerned with the safety of the attendees. Throughout the night, as that 25 attendees grew to 100, then 200, then closer to 300, my anxiety increased as if we were actually committing a crime, but all we were doing was working to create change to the very system designed to make us feel like our congregation was still illegal somehow. 

…operating in fear won’t take you anywhere but the depths of your mind…

Rashaad Lambert

I talked to the owners, and they agreed to stay open as long as we needed and that they had no intentions on contacting law enforcement. (S/O to Anthem Kitchen & Bar in Boston). 

At that moment, I heard a new message: “Don’t NOT try this at home.” My translation of that was that moving and operating in fear won’t take you anywhere but the depths of your mind, but pursuing with purpose is the ONLY way we progress. 

So, with that said; currently, the state of the For(bes) The Culture is strong. Very strong, actually. 

Not just due to allyships & partnerships of this magnitude, but because we as a people are finally coming to the realization that our strength is in our numbers, and that genuine connection & fearless collaboration is the only way to change the game… Not just for us but for the next generation behind us. 

Again: Happy 4-Year Anniversary, family!

P.S. Oh, and in case you forgot, we’re too major to be minorities. ✊🏽

Peace ✌🏽

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