The entrepreneurial endeavor Melanin Magic was publicly announced in the evening of Sunday, November 3, 2019. The fateful evening marked a monumental step in the endeavors of the four women behind this dream they co-created together; the dream was to create a sustainable urban environment in which a diverse group of professionals had a forum to form connections and have meaningful conversations around race, culture, diversity, and inclusion.
The announcement of Melanin Magic was a huge step but the dream to create this community was manifested long before November 3rd. The manifestation of the magic began with the women who founded Melanin Magic: Latoya Beverly, Olivia Halliday, Tiesha Harrison, and myself, Ria Martinez. Four women, four queens who could not be more different in individual upbringings, professional backgrounds, spiritual beliefs, and cultural experiences but shared the passion to bridge the gap within a divided urban community and the desire to be the leaders for change. How we came together was nothing short of divine timing and intervention.
For me, Melanin Magic began with a journey for personal growth and the first steps of me walking directly into purpose. I had just started my blog, The Mental Wealth, and wanted to do more but without the knowledge of how. So I sought inspiration from other women that might, and I began attending networking events for professional women hoping to find encouragement from the experiences of others. While the stories of the women who spoke at these conferences were eloquent and resonated with parts of my spirit, it was hard for me to find connection in these events, and I felt like an outsider looking in. I was acutely aware of the lack of diversity at these events I attended, and that the marketing of these events were designed to attract women of a certain lifestyle and breeding that I just did not fit into. In spite of this, I pressed on with attending these events in hopes of finding my professional tribe.
On September 19th, I would meet my first Melanin Magic sister at one of these events. Always one to arrive early to everything, I wandered into this event to find myself and Latoya Beverly, CEO and business coach for Creators of Change Agency, the first to arrive. During the event, our energies seemed to gravitate to each other as we talked about lives and passions; it was a true meeting of the minds. It was at this event the concept of Melanin Magic was born in the shared observations of the networking events Latoya and I were attending. It was there where we both agreed on a need to create a more diverse experience for the community we lived in and a partnership was formed.
A partnership between two turned into a sisterhood of three on October 5th when I Love This Journey’s artistic events maven Tiesha Harrison joined the first official meeting to create the foundation of Melanin Magic. Magic truly did happen in that meeting as we solidified who we were as a collective, our mission, our values, and the structure of events. Energy and creativity flowed as each of us collaboratively dreamed, manifested, and formed this vision into reality bringing our individual gifts and talents to the table making this endeavor feel effortless.
We began planning our first 2020 event to take place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the theme “I Have A Dream: Defining the American Dream, Success, and Entrepreneurship.” As we pressed on with undertaking our first event, our team was rounded out by the spiritual guru and leader Olivia Halliday of Only Love Studio. With Olivia, the sisterhood became the perfect representation of the diversity the collective was intended to be. Melding spirituality, artistry, creativity, and business with the shared passion for change solidified Melanin Magic, and the women running it are the embodiment of the beauty in differences.
Our dream has grown beyond just changing the conversation in our local community but a vision of changing things on a national scale to create a melanin movement. We are manifesting a world where people embrace differences, the image of what professionalism is culturally diverse, and that people are truly seen for the power they have to change their community; we are manifesting that people see the magic in melanin, no matter the shade. It starts with us four but Melanin Magic is destined to grow beyond us; it’s manifested in the stars and in our belief of ourselves to change the conversation.