The Chocolate Project is an initiative started in 2015, that strives to promote love, respect and sisterhood in the Black femme community through bonding and artistic spaces. Some of the spaces we create range from community talks, workshops, conferences, and photoshoots. The central focus on the initiative is to create a safe space for Black femmes to feel seen, talk about our complex experiences, and to create honest representations of Black femmes. All of which we believe prioritizes our healing, and exploration of the self.
Black femmes and our complexities motivate my work, the content I want to create, and the people I want to engage with. When I think about Black femmes I consider Black identity, femme identity, queer identity, class, ethnicity all of what that means about our needs and how we show up in spaces. Those stories are deserving of consideration, and exploration because they're the experiences of many of us. There are so much wisdom and knowledge if we took the time to consider them. Another big motivator is my strong belief that the liberation of POCs directly aligns with the liberation of Black femmes, Black nonbinary folks, and many others who weren't the face of these movements for so long. Through talking with these folks, and exploring our lived experiences, I think that we can begin to create a space for all of us to truly be free.
Since high school I've been the sole person working on the initiative. I've worked with many amazing people on smaller tasks or projects, but for the most part I've been on my own. I've also been the only financial support of the project, and have been using my own funds to support the project along these years. So, applying for this grant would help me fund alot of the monthly expenses regarding maintaining the website and software I use to create content. These expense range from Google workspace, Adobe Creative Suite, the website, and the domain name.
Mostly I would love to utilize this grant to start hiring interns to work on the project with me. Now that I'm in my first semester of graduate school I don't have the time to work on the project as much as I'd like, and working with interns would help me out a ton. However, I'm not a fan of free labor, and only wanted to hire on interns if I had to the funds to truly compensate them for their work. Aside from the help, working with interns would create fresher ideas, collaborate with people who have the same passion for Black femmes, and provide opportunities for Black femmes which is something I'm 100% in support of doing.
I would also use this grant to create art exhibits, workshops, and conferences that are more accessible whether that be adding various features on Zoom to increase accessibility or hosting an event at an accessible location within the Boston area.