I have always been interested in participating in the Indie Memphis Film Festival. So, when I was given the opportunity this year I immediately said yes. I had to work my full-time job and a bartending gig the same day as the first event, but I still showed up for the festival. This was an opportunity I could not miss!
Upon arrival, I started thinking about other big festivals like Sundance Film Festival, Cannes, and South by Southwest. I thought about how important they are to the film industry and how getting films entered into those festivals is major for filmmakers. Then I started thinking about Memphis and how we have a film festival that has been going on for 25 years. A festival that is bringing filmmakers/creators from Memphis and beyond, and cultivating local talent. It reminded me of how important Memphis is to so many different avenues! And the crazy thing is that the festival is just a piece of what Indie Memphis does.
Indie Memphis works year-round through its mentorship, providing grants, workshops, having a youth program, and so much more! With over 180 diverse independent films, the Indie Memphis Film festival gives an opportunity and a voice to all who desire to be heard and seen. Living up to the phrase I often saw throughout the festival, “Film For All”. This entire experience reminded me that Memphis is Art! There are way too many talented people and programs for us to not be associated with it! Artists are continuously being flown in and out of Memphis for their work and accepting awards for their accomplishments. Those artists and Memphis deserve acknowledgment and celebration!
Now, if you’re thinking about attending the festival my recommendation is to go VIP! Taking part in the festival VIP style will forever be how I must pull up! It spoils you, and you’ll never want to attend the same. With the VIP pass ($250 for non-members and $200 for members) you can select tickets for up to 15 in-person films, gain first access to in-person film tickets (one week before going on sale to the public), get invitations to pre-festival VIP Parties and special events, priority seating, 5 available virtual Feature Films (additional films $5/each), unlimited virtual short films, complimentary drink tickets and snacks, swag bags and more! It’s worth the price! I got to see a lot of films produced and created by locals, rate films, sit in on panels, and enjoy live music before each movie. I visited theaters I had never been to and met some incredible people. It was so amazing to be in the room with aspiring and accomplished filmmakers sharing their experiences and knowledge with one another. Even though film making is not my creative outlet I was glad to be in the room to absorb the energy.
Now I know you are thinking that $250 is a lot. I get it! However, you are paying to support the organization’s yearly efforts and for the experience. But if you don’t want to jump that deep into the festival your first time there are virtual passes and single tickets available. For those who have attended the festival before but haven’t gone VIP go ahead and prepare to do that next year! Lol
Huge thank you to the Executive Director of Indie Memphis, Kimel Fryer! I'm so happy they have you and can't wait to support even more!
Please be sure to follow @indiememphis on all social media platforms and support NEOW! Again, they have programs and grants so take advantage!
To learn more about Indie Memphis and its programs click here
Here are some of my favorite films from this year:
Homeboys Haunted 2
Faithful Witness: In The Middle
United Front- The Peoples Convention 1991 Memphis
Facing Down Storms: Memphis and the Making of Ida B. Wells
There were so many more I wanted to see. Next year I will have to free up more time to get more in!
1. The Supper Club On 2nd (SCO2) is finally opening August 23rd! I feel like this is the moment we have all been waiting for! If you don’t know, the infamous Devin “Steel” Butler, along with partners AG Granderson, Joe Johnson, and Robert Higgins are opening a new upscale restaurant in Downtown. The Supper Club, beautifully designed and an ode to the supper clubs of the 60s, is located at 85 South 2nd Street. SCO2 will be open Tuesday- Wednesday from 4pm-12am, Thursday-Saturday from 4pm-2am (kitchen closes at 1am) and include Saturday and Sunday brunch from 11am-3pm! For more details on grand opening day and access to reservations visit their IG page, check out their website, and this commercial appeal article below!
https://www.supperclubmemphis.com/The Commercial Appeal
2. JUICE Orange Mound has its very own shoe! One of my favorite nonprofits just debuted a sneaker to bring awareness to our homelessness crisis. The Orange Mound awareness shoe plans to help eradicate homelessness with help from the profits from the sneaker. Designed by Edward Bogard of SoGiv, a nonprofit organization that designs shoes for various non-profits/initiatives to assist in their philanthropic efforts. To learn more about the sneaker and JUICE Orange Mound click the links below.https://orangemoundshoe.com/products/orange-mound-shoe
JUICE Orange Mound
3. The Mud Island make over is finally starting. If you’re from Memphis or have been here for a long time you probably have fond mud island childhood memories! You remember this cool place away from the city that you took field trips to or splashing around there during the summer. But fast forward to now you notice that it still looks the same as it did many decades ago. Well, recently I read that Mud Island is currently undergoing some infrastructure renovations and that the park may become a Memphis adventure park with a zip line, climbing walls, and aerial challenge course. Exciting right! I’m personally geeked! Lol For more details on the proposal check out this Memphis Business Journal article!
4. Café Lit has a signage up! Back in 2019 I posted about this amazing African American literature themed supper club opening in Downtown! It was set to open mid 2020 but of course the pandemic had other plans so opening was delayed. I’ve been checking for updates ever since so I knew opening was planned for this year but when I saw that the building had a sign, I knew it was real! Café Lit is located at 111 Madison and will feature a soul food menu, 3 bars, and pay homage to Memphis and black culture. Follow Café Lit on Instagram and Facebook. For more info on the project check out this article below by The Daily Memphian.
5. As if him coaching our beloved Memphis Tigers wasn’t enough, Penny Hardaway has now thrown his hat into the restaurant business. Penny’s Nitty Gritty, will be a downtown upscale southern restaurant located inside of The Westin Memphis and set to open this August. I’m so excited about this and love to see Memphians investing back into the city! We adore Penny and we know he loves us too so I can’t wait for us to be able to dine! For more information on the restaurant click below!
If you’re like me and like to know what’s going on redevelopment and community wise follow the Daily Memphian, Memphis Business Journal, Downtown Neighborhood Association, Memphis River parks, Downtown Memphis Commission, Memphis City Council and the Commercial Appeal.
*Some photos used were not taken by any member of plug901 and credit of said photo belongs to original owner
Hey hey!! As some of you may know Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence day but it commemorates Mexico's victory over France at the Battle of Puebla. It's also not a huge deal in Mexico but of course in true American fashion the United States have found a way to commercialize and profit off of someone else's culture! Last year my manager (who is Mexican-American) asked that we celebrate respectfully and that we make sure to spend money at authentic Mexican restaurants! I mean if anyone should benefit off of the day it should be the Mexican community, right??
Below you'll find a small list of authentic Mexican restaurants to patronize on today! I encourage you to eat and drink at these places and still find some margarita specials because I'll still post other celebrations on my Instagram and Facebook stories. Let's remember to always be respectful of other people's culture AND to know exactly what /who we are celebrating! I've included some links that give a little more information about Battle of Puebla Day AKA Cinco de Mayo below!
Cinco de Mayo
The Forgotten, radical roots of Cinco de Mayo
Have Fun, be safe, and drink responsibly! I'll continue to add restaurant as I come across them!
Agavos Cocina and Tequila
2924 Walnut Grove Rd, Memphis, TN 38111
Frida's Restaurante Mexicano
1718 Madison Ave, Memphis, TN 38107
4650 Merchant's Park Circle, Collierville, TN 38017
Maciel's Tortas & Tacos (2 locations)
45 S Main St, Memphis, TN 38103
820 Cooper St, Memphis, TN 38104
Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana (2 locations)
6300 Poplar Ave #115, Memphis, TN 38119
1215 S Germantown Rd, Germantown, TN 38138
El Palenke Express (Food Truck)
629 N Highland St, Memphis, TN 38122
TACOnganas (4 Food truck locations)
4255 Summer Avenue Memphis, TN 38122
2760 Perkins Road Memphis, TN 38118
1080 N Germantown Parkway Cordova, TN 38018
2120 Central Avenue Memphis, TN 38104
8100 Macon Station #102, Cordova, TN 38018
EL Mercadito de Memphis
3766 Ridgeway Rd Memphis, TN 38115
TACOS Y MARISCOS MÉXICO EXPRESS#2
6496 Winchester Road Memphis, TN 38115
3875 Hacks Cross Rd. Memphis, TN 38125
4002 Park Avenue Memphis, TN 38111
5689 Quince Road Memhis, TN 38119
Taco Cat (Food Truck)
610 N Germantown Parkway Memphis, TN 38018
4818 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122
5967 Knight Arnold Rd, Memphis, TN 38115
El Mercadito de Memphis
3766 Ridgeway Rd, Memphis, TN 38115
Cevicheria and Grill Chilemon
4509 Summer Ave, Memphis, TN 38122
El Palacio Authentic Mexican Restarant
4969 Park Ave, Memphis, TN 38117
Koco Loco (Ice cream Shop)
2548 Covington Pike, Memphis, TN 38128
Meet Memphian and Certified Public Accountant Ashley Garrison. A graduate of the University of Memphis, she was a member of Beta Alpha Psi (a national accounting honor society), president of the Black Students Association, and a member of the Epsilon Epsilon chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She graduated with a Bachelor's and Master's in Accounting and went on to secure a position with Fortune 500 company, International Paper. However, in 2020 she decided to make a career change and start working for herself! She is now the owner and managing partner of a full-service boutique accounting firm, GRF Financials, LLC., headquartered in Memphis, TN. Outside of running her business, she is currently involved with two local nonprofits, 'Youth Behind The Music' - board member and 'STS Enterprise - exec team member. She is a mentor, an amazing mother, and a closet painter! And Oh! My girl is currently a member of the National Society of Black Certified Public Accountants. Apart of an industry where she only accounts for 2%,(according to New York Times and multiple other articles black accountants only make up 2% of the industry)Ashley is thriving growing at a rate of 150% each year since going full-time. She is extremely passionate about accounting and her city! She attributes that passion to why Memphis was the only place that came to mind when she thought about starting her company.
"It was important to me that I start my company in the city that raised me. I wanted the work that I do to reflect the amazing city that I am from."
Specializing in small businesses, she offers a variety of services. She can assist with your individual taxes, business federal tax reporting, state business regulations, and be your virtual CFO. I can personally attest to the level of professionalism and hard work that's offered by GRF. I am currently a client (individual taxes for now) and never worry about anything tax-related. I literally just give Ashely all of my tax documents and wait on an email from the IRS saying documents received. And even when an issue arises she handles it without hesitation. For example, I received a letter in January of 2021 stating that I owed the IRS $800+. I was thoroughly confused and furious. I file my taxes every year and allow the max to be taken out of any income. I informed Ashley, she immediately told me to scan the document to her and that she would contact the IRS on my behalf. It wasn't long before I knew why I owed the IRS. The fee was due to me not having insurance for two years. I was still mad, the reason I didn't have insurance was due to me being unemployed for two years(scressful). However, Ashley assured me that everything would be okay and that she would handle it. She also told me that she could get the amount lowered. She was successful! That's what kind of service you can expect from GRF! You can expect to be handled with care, someone that is knowledgeable, professional, punctual, and thorough.
"I want to use my skills and gift (of all things accounting) to make a difference. To give individuals and business owners a full understanding of their financial position and tax liability."
Now that you have been properly introduced to Ashley and GRF Financials, I highly suggest that you contact them now! If you're a business owner, thinking about starting a business, or want to get your individual tax situation in order, contact GRF ASAP! The last day to file your federal income tax isn't until April 18, 2022, so you have time to make GRF Financials your new firm!
For more information and a list of services, please visit GRF's website! Follow them on Facebook and Instagram!
Aligned with our theme of “Indulging in the Culture" to honor Black History Month, I attended the premiere of Memphis Jookin’: The Show Friday night at the Orpheum Theatre. This original production featured dance artist, Lil Buck, as he paid homage to his hometown, Memphis. Jookin' is a dance technique that originated in Memphis during the 80's.
I love that the tour premiered in such an iconic venue, The Orpheum. It’s important that our culture is showcased in beautiful venues and is valued as art. Because Jookin’ is just as artistic as ballet, tap, and any other dance form. The show was phenomenal and Memphis AF! They took the audience down memory lane paying homage to the legendary DJ Spanish Fly and his contribution to creating gangsta music mixtapes. My favorite part of the evening was the throwback rendition of Crystal Palace skate nights. From the music, to the disco ball, and a few of the performers actually roller skating on stage, it created the ultimate nostalgic setting of Memphis in the 90's. It felt like I was on those hardwood floors at the Palace watching a live Jookin battle! Oh wait. I was watching a live Jookin battle! Out of nowhere the performers came to the front of the stage, asking the audience, "What hood you from?" Screams of NORTH, SOUTH, MOUND came from the crowd. Two sets of dancers battled each other, representing North Memphis and South Memphis. They were gliding across the stage and breaking ankles left to right.
The show also had a few tear jerking moments as the youngest cast member shared her experiences with the dance team and how much it mean to be living out her dreams at 16. Another soloist did a tribute to his late father ,OG Willie, who introduced him to the art of jookin. Lil Buck also performed with a video playing in the background describing his passion for the dance community in Memphis. He jokingly shared how he first saw Jookin at the crystal palace and how OG dancers critiqued his work saying his moves weren’t “gangsta” enough.
But with grind + grit, in true Memphis fashion, Lil Buck has perfected his art and is sharing his love for Jookin across the nation. Be sure to follow his IG and check out the tour’s website so that you won’t miss the opportunity to see this showcase in person!
By Janessa - Blogger, Plug901
February 15, 2021
This list continues to grow! Here are some Black Owned businesses for you to check out. I will leave an asterisk symbol (*) beside places I can give insight on. Think of it as your little black book, a black owned business directory.
Food and Beverages
The S.O. What! Foundation*
This organization helps youth overcome obstacles and eliminate excuses
by providing hope, love, support, encourage, direction, and training.
Memphis Urban League Young Professionals*
This organization is a service oriented leadership organization promoting
the development of young professionals and serving their affiliates
through social and community actions.
This organization is a development organization for
high school and college students in the Mid-South.
901 Natural Cutie
This organization's mission is to promote positive images, people
and activities in the African American community.
Cynthia Daniels & Co.
This organization creates events for professionals. Cynthia Daniels & Co, is a full-service event planning and design company that specializes in executing large-scale corporate and social events.
JUICE Orange Mound
This organization exist to unite, empower, and support each resident
in HISTORIC Orange Mound by finding and funding innovative ideas within the community.
This organization's mission is to inspire and cultivate creativity within the
our community, to provide a platform for African American artists in Memphis to display
their talents, and use that creative expression as a vehicle to uplift our community.
Just City Memphis
This organization's mission is to advance policies and programs within Shelby County and the State of Tennessee that strengthen the right to counsel and mitigate the damage caused to families and neighborhoods as a result of contact with the criminal justice system.
Perfectly Me & Proud LLC.
This organization is committed to eradicating stigma and low self-esteem
in women by embracing, educating, and empowering the total woman.
Facebook and Instagram @Perfectly Me & Proud
Memphis is filled with history so, I wanted to share ways to really embrace and indulge in the culture!
Places to Visit
The museum that showcases 260 artifacts and interactive media covering five centuries of African American history, The National Civil Rights Museum. The museum is Located at the Lorraine Motel
Learn more about slavery when you visit one of the Underground Railroads safe haven stops for slaves on their way to freedom, Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum. Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum is housed inside the historic Burkle Estate that was owned by a German immigrant apart of the anti-slavery movement.
Now, at first I wasn't too sure about this one. I have always just walked straight passed this place because I wasn't certain what information it held but according to the website The Cotton museum will tell the complex history of cotton and it's contributions to the city. Let me know how it goes!
Take a trip Downtown and check out the Withers Collection Museum and Gallery located on Bale street. View photos taken by the legendary Dr. Ernest C Withers who was a trained military photographer and one of the first nine African Americans appointed to the Memphis Police Department. His collection features life during the Civil Rights movement, the 20th century, and present day.
Celebrate musician greats like B.B. King, W. C. Handy, Isaac Hayes, Hank Crawford and research the impact Memphis has had on music by going to the Blues Hall of Fame, Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studio, Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum or W.C. Handy Home and Museum.
blues.org/ staxmuseum.com/ www.sunstudio.com/
Take a trip to the first African-American neighborhood and stop by "The CMPLX" to celebrate the art created by today's Memphis talent! Brought to us by way of The Collective, The CMPLX is a black owned art gallery and event space displaying the creations of native Memphians.