Sep 27, 2022 - Things to Do

Social Group BlkPrnt CLT aims to bring Black women in Charlotte closer together

Photo courtesy of Diamante McKelvie - Swnk Empire

Raqilah-Sade Clyburn founded the nonprofit organization BlkPrnt (Black Print) CLT for Black women to connect and network in a city they can call home.

“Even if you don’t walk away with a best friend you can at least walk away knowing you were able to connect with some people who were like minded as you,” she tells Axios.

Why it matters: It’s hard making friends as an adult, whether you’re new to a city or a local and UNC Charlotte graduate like Clyburn. 

  • She is also using her organization for more than a means to connect, but as a way to fight against the stigmas of Black women. 
  • Some of the conversations during gatherings touch on the pressures of the pandemic and issues facing the Black community.

What’s happening: Clyburn, Nakayla Harris and Samantha Sim schedule monthly events across Charlotte. “A safe space is so important. Especially when women come by themselves, they can walk away with a connection that could last a lifetime,” Clyburn shared. 

Context: BlkPrnt originated from a TikTok video Clyburn made with a call out to ladies looking to meet up for brunch in February. 

  • Within a month, the video raked in thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.
  • Clyburn tells us the overwhelming amount of support from women in Charlotte and surrounding areas pushed the vision to foster connections.
  • The first meet up started with about 10 women and has grown into an event with more than 30 people. 
Photo: Courtesy of Diamante McKelvie – Swnk Empire

Zoom out: Social groups have become more popular in Charlotte, as more people are looking for community coming out of the pandemic. And TikTok has been a popular way to make that happen. 

  • Another Charlotte local started a social group through TikTok to bring people together. 

Zoom in: Most events are designed to be social, but Clyburn admits she wasn’t exactly a social butterfly before Black Print. 

  • “Social anxiety is relatable for a lot of Black women. I remind people who attend our events that this is for me, too, and it helps them feel more comfortable,” Cylburn said.
  • Some events focus on pushing people outside of their comfort zone and promoting mental health.
Photo: Diamante McKelvie – Swnk Empire

How to get involved: Anyone interested can find their events on social media and Eventbrite twice a month.

  • Past activities have included a hike, pilates and a social hour at Artisan’s Palate. An outdoor movie at Camp North End is their latest event to be held.
  • Some events are free but she does encourage everyone interested to still register online.
  • Clyburn has worked with local Black-owned businesses like Hip Hop Smoothies and plans to work with more to create experiences for the community.  
  • Women of all ages are welcome. 

 What’s next: There are plans to expand Black Print’s reach to the Triad area. 

  • Some women have traveled from Greensboro and Winston-Salem so Clyburn says she’s currently working to take what she’s created and plant it in a neighboring city. 
Luxury brunch during the summer. Photo: Diamante McKelvie – Swnk Empire
Photo: Diamante McKelvie – Swnk Empire

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