This may be a fashion blog, but let me tell you—nothing is more fashionable than a trendy Washington, D.C. hotspot full of inspired women determined to make positive connections. (We were also encouraged to “slay” in our best outfits, because ‘the friends who slay together, stay together.’) I went out to have fun, but the event was so outstandingly brilliant in concept and execution, I just had to write about it: “speed friending.”
The event, aimed at empowering Black women, was dreamed up by girlfriends Jazmin Childress and Lauren Ferrell just three weeks before. I briefly chatted with Jazmin about her goals for the event. Women, especially women of color, need more chances to meet and bond, not just network. So, why not create an event where we sit down, just like speed-dating, and then take turns chatting and moving around the room to see who we can connect with? Lovely concept.
In one Thursday night, I got wished a happy birthday about 10 times (that’s more times than on my actual birthday in early October), gained a personal invitation to hop on the “Wayne train” at the 14th and U Soul Cycle (that’s apparently the trendy cycling class slot for lots of local Black women), and for once, I met five—let me count them all again… eyup, five—Black women who are Washington, D.C. natives just like me. Trust me, I’m usually the only one in the room at most Meetups.
I’m grateful to The Sisters Who Brunch Meetup that emailed me about this event because it was definitely the real deal. At no point did I feel like it was just a gimmick, or a chance to promote a product. Our hostesses just wanted to pass on good karma. Jazmin and Lauren came up with an icebreaker activity (a kind of ‘who has done what’ bingo), Lauren grabbed the mic about an hour later and told us to split left or right if we were Fresh Prince of Bel Air fans or fans of the Martin TV show, and I even remember rushing to the right side of the room because I was an Idris Elba fangirl. (Honestly, I ran over there!) This game sent us giggling at each other every time. Jazmin and Lauren were warm and vigilant, bringing people extra chairs if they needed them and they didn’t let anyone wandering around alone stay unmatched for long.
Policy restaurant and bar in the U Street Corridor was also a great venue for them to choose. Policy is always both sophisticated and supa-fresh. I mean, I’ve attended many a team karaoke event there over the years and the fun Policy staff and drinks are always refreshing.
Even sweeter than that, Jazmine’s family, including her mother and aunt, helped to get people signed in and gave us all the bingo icebreaking activity when we first arrived. And, you’ve guessed it, they are DC natives too. Come to think of it, that makes eight women who are DC natives that I met. Aww… gotta love family collaboration.
At the end of the event, the emcee handed off the mic to any woman there who wanted to promote her business: we heard from women with their own clothing lines; were ambitious fashion gurus and personal stylists. I might actually buy the “Get yourself a Michelle, before you end up with a Melania” sweatshirt I saw on Carla Thomas from The Fly Girl Guide. It made me burst out laughing that night. And, the glittery black letters done in a kind of glam Soul Train scramble board font were cute. I also spoke with women who were into digital marketing, had aspirations to design shoes using 3D printing technology, were accountants, interns and I came across more fashion blogs than even I could shake a stick at.
My typical geeky contribution? Hopefully, I inspired a friendly mother to take her kids down to the best Pokémon GO spot in the city: the Roosevelt Memorial. There are about six Pokéstops in the area and I even caught a Pikachu somewhere inside of President Roosevelt’s second term.
The solid message of the night was, “we need to support each other.” And, I not only left with some new contacts for brunch and Soul Cycle in my phone, I also left feeling like someone gave me a great big hug and told me ‘girl, keep going.’
Which is pretty much what Lauren did when I thanked her and Jazmin for coming up with this amazing event. Thanks for that hug. “Speed Friending: Meet Ladies Like You” had every right to be sold out, and I am crossing my fingers that they do another one—please, please do another one soon!
…Because that was damn fabulous.
Did you really enjoy the event too? I’d love to hear your positive shout outs and reflections for Lauren and Jazmin. ❤