This past July, Black Girl Magik tapped into their “global sisterhood” of artists, healers, and activists to bring awareness to The Loveland Foundation, a nonprofit organization started by writer and activist Rachel Cargle.
BGM founder Shydeia Caldwell and co-founder Brittany Josephina hosted a three-day weekend digital festival titled “Better Together,” centered around musical performances and intimate conversations in order to raise money for Loveland and provide free therapy vouchers to black women and girls.
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Loveland holds personal significance to BGM’s founders because the nonprofit has aided them on their individual paths with therapy. “I’m so grateful to see what Rachel Cargle is doing with amplifying the necessity and importance of black women and girls having access to mental health resources,” Josephina told NBGA. “During a pandemic, where people are experiencing an array of emotions, they should have access to therapy. Finances should never be a barrier to healing,” she emphasized.
The “Better Together” fundraiser occurred in the middle of BIPOC Mental Health Awareness Month. “We wanted to unite music and therapy because music is such a healing avenue and gives us space and the room to evoke feelings,” Josephina said.
Among the performers was Brazilian-Norwegian jazz chanteuse Charlotte Dos Santos, powerhouse singer-songwriter Diana Gordon, and the soulful artist Liv.e. Rapper Sampa The Great sent a meditative musical love letter and performed her very fitting singles “Healing” and “Black Girl Magik.” Londoner Arlo Parks moved viewers with an acoustic performance of the track “Black Dog,” which explains being a support system for someone battling depression. After each set, the hosts engaged the artists in questions about mental health. Musicians expressed how therapy has intervened in crucial moments of their lives and that of their loved ones.
In addition to the musical highlights, BGM chatted with other members of their community including poet Aja Monet, spiritual podcaster Juju Bae, and more. The topics over the weekend ranged from ancestral healing to diversity in wellness. House of Aama co-founder Akua Shabaka also dialed in to talk about working with intention and seeking respite in nature.
“Many of the women featured at Better Together are like sisters to us,” Caldwell told NBGA. “We wanted it to feel like you’re in the living room with us and experiencing this conversation too.” Caldwell founded Black Girl Magik in 2015, with a goal of curating safe spaces for women of the African diaspora to bond and heal. That summer, a case of divine timing crossed her path with Josephina’s ahead of the first BGM meetup. Upon attending that inaugural event, Josephina found herself in awe. “I was literally blown away. It was incredibly emotional for me and for all the women who showed up.” From here, the pair’s mutual admiration brought them closer together.
During “Better Together,” BGM raised a total of $3200 and they were delighted while recapping the event. “Each moment impacted me and brought different perspectives to the space created digitally,” Caldwell said, to which Josephina agreed. “It was very important for us to be in communication with our own community of artists and practitioners who are black women [and] who ought to express their experience with their own healing journeys,” she told NBGA.
Caldwell and Josephina’s relationship sets a strong foundation for what’s cultivated throughout their healing network. At meetups, they hold space for others and participate in the collective healing that transpires. “One of the key parts of our meetups is opening up the room for women to voice their truth and tell their stories,” Josephina said. “As one woman tells her story, she’s also telling someone else’s story and evoking all these feelings. It’s a safe space to practice how to be in sisterhood with one another.”
BGM has hosted healing circles in Brooklyn, Austin, and Atlanta among other cities. As the community expands, the intimate bonds formed during these gatherings remain strong. “The women are often coming by themselves, but they’re almost always walking away with a sister,” Josephina shared.
A podcast is also in the works — so community members will soon be able to tap into BGM’s enlightening conversations from wherever they are.