Drivers shouldn’t have a hard time finding gas by Memorial Day, one of the busiest traffic weekends of the year.'Outages should be <20%' »
Remember that scene from Poetic Justice when Lucky, Justice, Iesha, and Chicago tumble out of the delivery truck and finesse their way into the family reunion cookout happening in the local park? That energy of acceptance that brought them into the fold and rewarded them with beer, plates of food, and some much needed relationships lessons was something we could all relate to. That’s the exact energy The Creative Collective NYC embodies with CultureCon, the annual Black creatives event taking place virtually from June 7-13, 2021. Founded by Imani Ellis, the event that brings together success stories of the culture like Tracee Ellis Ross and Regina Hall to the stage as speakers is back this year with free admission to Black creatives looking for that cookout community we’ve missed out on since Covid restrictions turned our routines obsolete. That however, hasn’t stopped this team, or their work for the culture, as they’re back with an impressive lineup, featuring everything from speakers Chloe x Halle Bailey, Ziwe, and Quinta Brunson to workshops on generational wealth and how to build your side hustle. You might even see a few of your Unbothered faves in there too. But, an event that makes accessibility its first name by inviting not only the musicians, entrepreneurs, and actors of our culture, but all of us to come together to learn and grow in our passions, doesn’t happen out of sheer prayers, pixie dust, and durag swag bags — it requires a team of creatives who work as one to make sure CultureCon continues to be a hub for innovation. “Creatives of color deserve a space that celebrates the contributions of voices who too often are left out of these same spaces and conversations,” says CultureCon Project Manager Sunny Dae. “[It’s] a space where creatives of color can see themselves reflected in every fiber of the experience in a way that feels both natural and intentional.” To understand how this intentional experience comes to life, and continues to grow from its initial 150 attendees to 2,000 in 2019 and an anticipated 10,000 attendees this year, you have to hear from the team’s leaders themselves. Thankfully, we had the chance to do just that. Ahead you’ll meet the team that brought CultureCon 2021 to life. DashDividers_1_500x100 Sunny Dae Role: Project Manager, CultureCon & Event Producer, The Creative Collective NYC What would you say is the “secret sauce” to working with this group of friends on CultureCon? I’d say the “secret sauce” is really leaning into people’s talents and trusting their expertise. When our teammates deliver — and chile do they deliver — we celebrate their contributions in a way that makes them feel valued and empowered. Why CultureCon? In a world where mainstream culture and media often marginalize the very people that influence and shift every facet of popular culture, CultureCon creates an experience that centers the wants and needs of these people. Creatives of color deserve a space that celebrates the contributions of voices who too often are left out of these same spaces and conversations. A space where creatives of color can see themselves reflected in every fiber of the experience in a way that feels both natural and intentional. What advice do you have for those looking to make their passion their career? Don’t stifle your dreams by waiting for the “perfect” moment – it will never come. Be planful, be strategic, but remain open enough to seize your moment when your spirit tells you it’s time. Always bet on yourself. My advice for people looking to grow in these unprecedented times is to stay curious. Sign up for the class. Learn the new software. Listen to the podcast. Explore the neighborhood. Attempt the thing that scares you. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s taught us that you have to live life with immediacy. Favorite CultureCon moment? I knew CultureCon was different when I saw that we put satin bonnets and durags in the 2019 gift bags!! From programming, food vendors, activations, and swag, everything about CultureCon is planned with intention. Everything is culturally relevant. Everything anticipates the interests and needs of the audience in a way that feels natural. You can only create an experience like that when you have an intimate knowledge of the people you want to serve. In the case of CultureCon, it’s easy because our team directly reflects the community we serve. What’s the best lesson that CultureCon has taught you that you wish you knew earlier? The best lesson that CultureCon has shown me is that there is a world where you can have all of the things — you can do meaningful work, you can show up as your authentic self, you can contribute, and have your contributions celebrated. That world does exist, and if it doesn’t, create it yourself. DashDividers_1_500x100 Amber Mayfield Role: Brand Experience Manager, CultureCon What would you say is the “secret sauce” to working with this group of friends on CultureCon? Because we are friends we have grace with each other and we have a good sense of humor. That gets us through the hard work and tight turnarounds. What advice do you have for those looking to make their passion their career? My advice is to go for it, and make that passion known to others. When you are honest with yourself about what you really want to do, and you start putting the word out, then your network can help you get there. My passion has always been centered on events and bringing people together. When I left my corporate job, I let everyone know my plan was to work on events. In doing so, Imani contacted me about CultureCon 2018 and that was how I got one of my first big contracts in events. How do you keep a ‘Creative AF?’ attitude as you’ve pivoted throughout the past year? I think the very definition of being Creative AF is an ability to anticipate trends, respond to new conditions, and pivot under pressure. We’ve all been Creative AF this past year! DashDividers_1_500x100 Skylar Kearney Role: Social Digital Manager, CultureCon & The Creative Collective NYC What would you say is the “secret sauce” to working with this group of friends on CultureCon? Our secret sauce is easily how diverse our backgrounds are. Each of us checks a box that’s required to make a successful conference like CultureCon come to life. We trust each other to make decisions and support each other as we build. There’s also so much love wrapped up in what we do. Each of us has a day job and we still spend hours pouring ourselves into this conference and this brand. It’s about the passion we each have to make an impact in our community. We all know this is bigger than us. It’s about the whole, not the individual. Favorite CultureCon moment? My favorite moment from CultureCon happened at the end of our conference in 2019. The entire team gathered backstage and you could feel the relief of having finished such a successful event. We were all worn out, having given all we could to ensure the day ran smoothly, but there was still so much energy. We were all buzzing, feeding off of the energy that this was actually happening–that WE did this. All of a sudden, our entire team is embracing each other, hooping and hollering, jumping up and down, and it was surreal. There was so much love and happiness in that moment. It’s a moment you keep with you forever. DashDividers_1_500x100 Carla DuBose Role: Digital Associate, CultureCon & The Creative Collective NYC What’s it like working on CultureCon with your friends? In one word — INNOVATIVE. Given how much our world has changed in the past year, it’s been exciting and gratifying to see how malleable we’ve all been with our ideas and execution of this conference. It’s beautiful really, we’ve all grown together through this. Patience has truly been a gift and virtue for all us throughout this process. Do you have advice for those looking to grow in these unprecedented times? To those who are looking to grow at this pivotal time in the world, stay the course. Be patient, applaud others until it’s your turn to be applauded. Rest when you can, not when you must. And above all else, know that nobody is going to do it like you because the power behind it all is you. Favorite CultureCon moment? I knew CultureCon was different because I never saw so many people who look like me convene in a space in such a capacity that wasn’t tied to a homecoming, a BBQ, or a church event. But in so many ways, it’s all of those things. You come to CultureCon to see the cousins you didn’t know you had, get reinvigorated about the work you’re doing and why your impact matters. It reminds you WHY you and your ideas deserve respect and the opportunities to thrive. How do you keep a ‘Creative AF?’ attitude as you’ve pivoted throughout the past year? I remind myself of my WHY. Because I’ve been inside for so long, like many of us, I need to motivate myself again about what I’m doing. Sometimes that requires days where I disconnect from everything and tap into the world outside of my screen. Whether that’s writing, drawing, or exploring a place (while social distancing of course). DashDividers_1_500x100 Kaitlyn Miranda Role: Digital Associate, CultureCon & The Creative Collective NYC What advice do you have for those looking to make their passion their career? My biggest advice to monetizing your passion is to be patient and live in the journey of it all. Tap into your talents, take time to educate yourself and perfect your craft. It’s so easy to allow social media to make you feel as if you have to rush into something but you don’t. It’s a marathon, not a race. Do things the way you want at the pace that keeps you at peace. What’s for you, will always be for you. You got this! Favorite CultureCon moment? My favorite CultureCon moment was definitely witnessing the conversation between Tracee Ellis Ross & Elaine Welteroth. The energy in that room full of thousands of creatives was so magnetic. Also – it was so inspiring to witness badass, powerful women take up space. A feeling that I’ll always remember. What’s the best lesson that CultureCon has taught you that you wish you knew earlier? The power of collaboration is INSANE! CultureCon has truly taught me the force you can create and the magic you can make by collaborating with like-minded creatives. Finding your tribe is super important. DashDividers_1_500x100 Kirby Dixon Role: Talent Associate, CultureCon What advice do you have for those looking to make their passion their career? Just start. It’s so easy to get stifled by wanting everything to be perfect: to want to create the perfect product, team with the perfect people and brands, and come out with the perfect rollout strategy. But none of those goals can come into fruition if you refuse to just START. I’ve grown in my passion as a creative by being pushed and inspired by my peers, friends and newfound contacts as a result of CultureCon. Seeing so many beautiful, creative minds step into their purpose by pursuing their passions has given me the permission and drive to do the same. There’s nothing more inspiring than being in a room – whether virtual or in person – that is filled to the brim with new and established Black and Brown creatives from all parts of the industry including media and entertainment, tech, business leaders and beyond. My advice for those looking to grow in these unprecedented times would be to not be afraid of speaking your dreams out loud, seek a close circle of friends and peers to hold you accountable for those verbal manifestations, ask for what you want and deserve, and foster true, genuine connections across various divisions. It takes work, but if you put it in, I promise you it will be worth it. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?
A dozen years after bitcoin was introduced, some crypto investors are having a hard time using their increasingly valuable digital coins to buy a house.
Welcome to Money Diaries where we are tackling the ever-present taboo that is money. We’re asking real people how they spend their hard-earned money during a seven-day period — and we’re tracking every last dollar.Today: a naval officer who makes $60,000 per year and spends some of her money this week on ramen. Occupation: Naval OfficerIndustry: MilitaryAge: 25Location: Yokosuka, JapanSalary: $60,000Net Worth: ~$86,000 (Checking: $2,985, savings: $19,933, share certificate: $4,923, roth IRA: $19,609, Government Thrift Savings Plan: $39,022)Debt: $0 (I pay my full credit card statement at the end of the month)Paycheck Amount (2x/month): $2,270Pronouns: She/herMonthly ExpensesRent: $1,912 (I live alone in a rented apartment off-base. I get an Overseas Housing Allowance as part of my salary, which covers about $1,800 a month of my rent bill. I pay the rest out of pocket. Most people who get the same allowance as me choose to rent and not spend over the allowance, but I decided the extra money per month was worth the beautiful apartment in a neighborhood I love.)CAUSEBOX: $250/yearYouTube Premium: $11.99Cell Phone: $73.32Amazon Prime: $9.92 Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?Definitely. When I graduated from high school, I didn’t feel ready to go to college. I didn’t want to “waste” a lot of money earning a degree I wasn’t sure about, but my parents told me it was go to college or leave their house and support myself. I knew I couldn’t afford to rent my own apartment or car payments making minimum wage, so I earned an ROTC scholarship that took care of my tuition and applied to colleges. My dad paid for my room and board, which I paid back after I graduated. I worked part-time in college to pay for groceries and gas. Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?My dad always took me to the bank with him when he needed to run errands. He explained to me how he put everything in savings except for the money he was okay spending, and how he figured out what percentage of his paycheck should go into the spending category. The idea of interest compounding the sooner you put your money into the bank stuck with me even when I was little. I knew that I could put money away when I didn’t need it and it would turn into more money in the future. A guy I dated in college explained I should open an IRA even before I started working, so I started mine when I was 19. What was your first job and why did you get it?My dad didn’t want me to work when I was in high school. He grew up supporting younger siblings (his younger siblings were orphaned when he was 21 and they were minors) and I think he didn’t want me to feel stressed or burdened about financial hardship. I also think he didn’t have the money to help me get a car or the time to drive me to work anyway, so my first job was working in a cafeteria when I was in college after I left home. This money was what I used for groceries and going out. Did you worry about money growing up?No. I know my mother clipped coupons and planned our meals based on what was on sale or in season, and that my parents would carpool to save gas, and that we didn’t have cable because it was expensive. We also didn’t take family vacations. However, my parents definitely spent money, investing in my sister and me and supporting us in different hobbies and activities. There was always money for me to get a musical instrument or my sister to get new running shoes for track, but we didn’t get fancy electronics as holiday gifts like a lot of my friends did. Do you worry about money now?Not really. I don’t travel much right now due to COVID and I don’t have any “expensive” hobbies that require me to buy equipment and gear. My biggest expense is food. I barely buy anything else, and I know that I could even cut down on the snacks and eating out if I had to. At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net?22. I wasn’t paying for my own rent when I was in college — I paid for about half my living expenses. My safety net was my parents. Now I’m on my own, and I think if I absolutely needed help, I could ask, but I am very resistant to that idea. I’d have to have less than $1,000 in the bank to go to them for something like rent or food. Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain.Nope! Day One 6 a.m. — I wake up early, at 5:20. It’s still dark outside but I’m excited because it’s a Friday and I’m planning on making today a half-day. I hit snooze for ten minutes, getting out of bed at 5:30. I rush through getting ready and catch a train at 5:50 ($2 to swipe my train pass). I respond to Facebook Messenger and texts as I ride the train in. I usually wake up to some messages because while I sleep, my friends in the States are still awake and send me things. $2 12 p.m. — After a busy morning at work, I go on a run during my lunch hour. The weather is beautiful, sunny, and mid-60s and it’s too nice to resist. I drink a chocolate milk box I have at the office. 3:30 p.m. — I walk to the Pizza Hut that is next to the pier that my ship is on and buy some breadsticks ($3.50). I am not sure when I’ll be getting dinner because I’m supposed to leave around 4 for a spontaneous road trip this weekend. It’s the second weekend I’ve been allowed to do something besides be at home or work (COVID-19 precautions), and some friends booked an Airbnb over the weekend at the base of Mt. Fuji. I Venmo a friend ($90) for my two-night stay. $93.50 5 p.m. — The trip is off to a semi-late start. My friend and I are driving together and we stop to get gas. I run into the mini-mart and get gum, granola, and candy ($17.48). When I get back to the car, my friend and I realize we don’t have an exact address to go to, just the city we’re planning to visit. While we wait to receive the Airbnb address from the friend who made the booking, I run back inside to pick up some hard cider and lemonade for the evening’s festivities ($34.35). Since I didn’t pay for gas on the trip, I offer to pay the tolls ($12.40). $64.23 Daily Total: $159.73 Day Two 9 a.m. — After a night celebrating the fact that the group could actually go on this trip (we’re all vaccinated with some restrictions lifted), I’m the first to wake up in the Airbnb. I make a mug of tea and look through a magazine on the coffee table. It has an ad for a breakfast spot nearby and I convince everyone that waffles are the way to go for breakfast. One of my friends picks up the bill, so waffles are on him! 12:30 p.m. — Japan is famous for its onsens and I’m determined to go and relax at one since I haven’t been allowed to in over a year. My friends and I drive to one that is accepting of guests with tattoos (usually a taboo) and I break off from my friends to go alone into the women-only bath. I pay cash for my entrance fee. Later when I get out of the baths, I realize I should’ve brought or purchased a towel. Oh well. I drip dry before changing into clean clothes. $8 6:15 p.m. — After the relaxing onsen, we decide we want to get massages. I pay $60 for a 30-minute foot and calf massage and a 60-minute body massage. I can hear another person so relaxed that they have fallen asleep and are snoring on the massage bed next to mine. $60 8 p.m. — After a full day driving around and relaxing, my friends and I stop at a ramen place for dinner. We all try different types of ramen (I opt for pork and vegetables) and I end up paying for the group. $72 Daily Total: $140 Day Three 9 a.m. — My friends and I get up and decide to visit a gem museum. I pay cash for the entrance tickets for myself and two friends. $18 10:15 a.m. — We are back at the waffle place for brunch! This time I order a basil and tomato sandwich and it’s amazing. The tomatoes are piping hot, so I go with a brownie and ice cream for dessert. I pick up the bill for this breakfast for my friends. $54.45 12:30 p.m. — After eating, we take a gondola up a mountain with amazing views of Lake Kawaguchi and Mt. Fuji. I pay for my ticket ($5) and enjoy the short ride. I do not mind heights. At the top, I pay for a small fortune at the shrine ($1). It’s a good one! I pick up some souvenirs at the top to send to friends before we hike down ($22.32). $28.32 3 p.m.— After the natural beauty of the mountain and lake, we go to the Aokigawahara Forest for a short hike. While walking, we decide to see some famous caves formed from lava tubes. I pay my entrance fee ($3) and prepare to duck through a lot of small spaces. $3 5 p.m. — Everyone is tired and ready to head home from the weekend. I wanted to find a smaller restaurant, but the group votes for a well-known sushi chain. I eat and stack my plates. We pay and hit the road home, opting for a scenic and toll-free route. $15.25 Daily Total: $119.02 Day Four 5:50 a.m. — Another early train ride to work ($2). I definitely stayed up too late the night before, video calling a friend. I’ll be on the ship all day today. I skip breakfast and munch on chips for lunch. Not the healthiest, but it’s my duty day so I cannot leave the ship to pick up something else food-wise. I stay on the ship working all day long. $2 6 p.m. — I eat a cup of Annie’s mac and cheese for dinner before my evening workout. I buy 12 packs of these cups on Amazon whenever I run out. I work out and then go to bed on the ship. Daily Total: $2 Day Five 6 a.m. — I wake up on the ship today and skip breakfast per my usual routine. 12 p.m. — At lunch, I’m really hungry so I walk to an on-base cafeteria and order Japanese curry and rice. $55 p.m. — Now that we are allowed to eat in restaurants again, I take two friends to an udon restaurant they’ve never been to before. Since I treated him to a few meals over the weekend, one of my friends pays for my dinner.6:30 p.m. — We aren’t allowed to go to bars, so after dinner, my friends and I go to a convenience store to buy a drink ($1.51), which we (classily) drink in a park before our 8 p.m. curfew. Canned chuhais come in different “strengths” (alcohol content) and flavors and are pretty cheap. I take the train home ($2). $3.51Daily Total: $8.51 Day Six 6 a.m. — The usual morning train to base ($2). I made a 2021 resolution to buy no drinks in plastic bottles, so as tempting as a morning coffee or tea from the vending machine at the train station looks, I ignore them. $2 5 p.m. — After my Clif Bar breakfast and running through my lunch break, I’m SO ready for dinner. I have spent the whole day thinking about going to my favorite cafe. The woman who runs it has a changing menu board based on what she feels like cooking that day. Today, I decide on her roasted chicken. The meal set includes soup, salad, fresh-baked bread, and tea at the end of the meal, and it’s phenomenal. I could eat here every night. The quality of food is miles above what I could make. If I wasn’t so full, I would stay for dessert too. $16.51 7 p.m. — After that delicious meal, I wish I could stay outside and walk around. Unfortunately, the curfew is still in effect and I take an early train home. $2 Daily Total: $20.51 Day Seven 6:20 a.m. — I wake up to a dead phone which means I slept through my alarm. I change in literally two minutes and run for the train station, catching the last train I can take without being late ($2). I have to run from the train station to the ship, so I roll into work sweaty and holding nothing but my ID card, a credit card, and some cash rubber-banded together in my pocket. It’s easier to run when everything you carry is lightweight. $2 5 p.m. — I ate a Cliff Bar and some pistachios from my snack drawer at work throughout the day, so I take the train home ($2) and get to dinner hungry again. I order ramen at my favorite spot in my neighborhood. I choose curry ramen with an extra egg and yuzu juice to celebrate the end of the week ($11.01). I accidentally thought it was Friday the whole day, and I’m going to keep up the end-of-week mindset. $13.01 Daily Total: $15.01 Money Diaries are meant to reflect an individual’s experience and do not necessarily reflect Refinery29’s point of view. Refinery29 in no way encourages illegal activity or harmful behavior.The first step to getting your financial life in order is tracking what you spend — to try on your own, check out our guide to managing your money every day. For more money diaries, click here.Do you have a Money Diary you’d like to share? Submit it with us here.Have questions about how to submit or our publishing process? Read our Money Diaries FAQ doc here or email us here. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?A Week In Queens, NY, On A $220,000 SalaryA Week In San Francisco, CA, On A $104,000 SalaryA Week In Northern New Jersey On A $76,686 Salary