We had the good fortune of connecting with Nakeysha Roberts Washington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nakeysha, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I remember feeling spent by giving everything I had- energy, money to other people. At this time, too, I began considering what I was leaving behind. Was it that I only wanted to spend myself for others or could I begin to build something tangible that would make me happy. There, I began to conceive of my company Genre: Urban Arts. I realized that many of my happiest moments were where I was able to write and create multidisciplinary works, so I made a space where I could create. Genre was to be the community I built around creativity. It began with a website, a vision for a publication, pop up exhibition performance platform, and then grew into an educational consulting agency utilizing the network of artists I found my tribe with.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Here is my formal bio: https://genreurbanarts.
I am a writer mostly. I write poetry and creative nonfiction. I love to add visual elements into the mix with my writing to deepen or contrast the message in the writing. I have been an educator for over 13 years. In Genre, I found a way to wrap in both my creativity and my love for teaching. It has been one of the most fulfilling things that I have done to see this Genre grow. There have been times where I wish I had done better or knew better, but I take all things as lessons to learn and be better. If I find a challenge, I let myself feel what I am feeling for a day, but then I figure out how to fix my problem the day after that. I read and research and make a plan to do better. My only competition is myself. I want to do better than I did last year each year, each day.
I want the world to know that I supported my own brand financially until I didn’t have to come out of my own pockets. I want people to know that I love what I have created and see something that came of thought and became reality.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take them to see art, street art around the city and to a taco truck. I would find somewhere we can lounge, talk about ourselves, our loved ones, and how we have grown into the people we are now.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate this Shoutout to my uncle Meko Roberts. Early in Genre’s life he sat on the phone with me and encouraged me daily. He became an ancestor far too soon; however, I also feel like he has taught me everything I will ever need to know. I can recall things he said before he passed that will guide me in any situation.
I dedicate this to Alice, Celie and Shug, queens of my life forever. To Zora who encourages me to travel and document. To my first love, Langston, who told me I should write. To my momma and my daddy, my grandparents, my kids, and my husband. To poetry and nonfiction, to photography and all things creative. To my uncle Adrian, my cousin Kevin and my friend Fatima.
To Black girls and Black women.
Other: Find us everywhere @GenreUrbanArts
Photographer of the images of the shoes and girl w books: Dupreé Armon Photographer of Bowery Poetry image and image where I am snapping: Zin Qin Photo of me in my office.. selfie lol