Black love is the focus of local “socialpreneur” Sabrina Madison’s project, the Conversation Mixtape.
The Conversation Mixtape series are private, and now public, events hosted by Madison that seek to look deeper into the topic of love and relationships for black individuals.
Madison developed the idea for the Conversation Mixtape about two years ago, while she was reading the book “The Conversation” by Hill Harpe. She posed a question about relationships to Facebook, which received more than 300 comments and decided there needed to be an offline discussion.
She got a small group together and they met at a friend’s apartment to discuss the book as well as general questions about black love and relationships, Madison said.
“Lots of people have never seen a healthy model of a relationship,” Madison said. “We have to be examples for each other. If someone has never seen a healthy example, how are they supposed to know what to do?”
Marcus Miles, a long-time attendee of the Conversation Mixtape and photographer for the event this month, said the positive, nonjudgmental nature of the meetings allows individuals to feel like they can relax and share their story.
The Mixtape started as an informal gathering, but has grown into something more organized that still feels like a small, single circle of people discussing relationships, Miles said.
“There’s a part of the gathering where people just get to be real,” Miles said. “They can tell some heavy stuff, and it is a safe place to be able to do that without people judging you.”
The Conversation Mixtape was an invite only event for about two years, before hosting its first public event at the Cardinal Bar in early October. Audience members asked questions of a small panel of individuals as well as of each other, Madison said. The theme of the event was “Black Love Matters.”
The number of new participants at the event at the Cardinal surprised Miles, but was a positive step for the Mixtape. The disparities in Madison can make black relationships challenging, but the relationships should still be celebrated, Miles said.
“The Mixtape is about black love, it’s about unity, it’s about a safe place to congregate,” Miles said. “It celebrates the relationships that traditionally, historically have had a lot of challenges.”
Madison wants to expand the Conversation Mixtape to start hosting live events in other cities, including Milwaukee and Chicago. The Mixtape may also begin to include other minority couples, as well as mixed-race couples.
The end goal is to develop the Mixtape into a traveling talk show, while still continuing to host the private events that have given people the changes to heal, Madison said. Every year, Madison hopes to host four public events and four private events.
Safe spaces for black individuals to work on loving themselves and others is limited, so maintaining the local component of the Mixtape is important, Madison said.
“I want to keep doing the private events because people are growing and healing and really getting better in their relationships and resolving things,” Madison said. “I want to stay true to that private space.”