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As a foster kid who grew up in Memphis, Kashá Taylor never expected to find herself building a community of like-minded women in Tulsa, Oklahoma through her own organization, Melanin Vibes.
Yet, after receiving a promotion to develop a new Chick-fil-A store in the state in 2020, the millennial self-starter eventually traded in her corporate shackles for the freedom of entrepreneurship.
Alone in a new city for a year, Taylor first sought out community through online apps. Yet, when virtual conversations never materialized into physical interactions, Taylor became determined to build an authentic community of BIPOC women ready to unleash their full potential.
In 2021, Taylor brought together eight young women to have brunch and conversation at Bramble, a local breakfast joint. From there, the nonprofit Melanin Vibes was born.
“I wanted to give women that look like me the opportunity to be successful in their community. And empower women to reach out and get connected and the benefits of sisterhood,” Melanin Vibes founder Kashá Taylor told The Black Wall Street Times.
The birth of Melanin Vibes
The mission of Melanin Vibes is to “uplift and empower BIPOC women to live happy and successful lives through community and sisterhood,” according to their website.
Through intimate gatherings of 10-15 women at restaurants and community spots around Tulsa, Taylor said she’s recognized that a lot of women who move here through programs like Tulsa Remote often feel lonely.
“We think of vibing as going out and having fun,” Taylor said. But for her, it’s also about helping each other flourish through mental health, entrepreneurial resources, and a community of sisterhood.
“I saw a lot of people moving here with no direction. One thing I wanted to do was give them direction and immediately get them involved in the community.”
For Taylor, moving to new places alone was nothing new. After growing up in Memphis, She moved to Illinois in the 10th grade and eventually went on to obtain a bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Mississippi.
Her own experience inspired her to create vibes that ripple out into the community. Now, her goal is to remain “someone you can share your experience with and not feel judged. So that you feel you can be your authentic self. And someone you can learn from and grow with,” Taylor said.
“Thank you so much for the invitation. I’m so ready for the next one,” IG user @iamvanessacoke posted after a recent Melanin Vibes gathering.
“Where is the next one,” IG user @crystalrene44 added.
After a worldwide pandemic that shuttered doors and forced people into isolation for months, some people might be weary about joining large gatherings of any kind. Yet, with Melanin Vibes, the gatherings emphasize quality over quantity, with groups that are never larger than a dozen or so people.
“I wanna be accessible to these people,” Taylor said.
Moving forward, Taylor wants Melanin Vibes to be a resource for BIPOC women worldwide. She’s even started getting requests for visits from folks in her hometown of Memphis.
“Get out of your comfort zone and be your authentic self and let the world see that we need more of it,” Taylor said.