We had the good fortune of connecting with Sema & Chelsea Monet Philice and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sema & Chelsea Monet, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
We both moved out here to LA around 2012 . I feel like most people who moved to LA we had a certain vision of what would happen when we got here and that all of our ideas and dreams, all the doors would open up wherever we went. Many times in the first couple years opportunities came where either we spent all of our money on something that was a “good idea” or something was a good opportunity/idea we didn’t have enough money to do it . We both have always wanted to do work in the community sector but weren’t really sure what that would be . I have more of a history in sports &!social justice and she has more of a background in marketing and social media management . We realizeas black queer women that the ideas of our peers, fellow queer people , black people, immigrants, POC There our ideas seem to be the last to get any love ,appreciation & light so we wanted to make a hub for our friends , our peers and anybody we would come across , that like us, may not be able to afford high quality content creation but has really great ideas or just needs to meet the right person but they haven’t met yet . We want to show people that you can start right now wherever you are and make your vision come alive . I think that’s something we all struggle with thinking that circumstances have to be perfect and everything has to be exactly as you imagined.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think really what sets us out from other people is that we are a creative couple very specific niche Sem is a first generation immigrant American 1st to go to college in her family . Me ,Chelsea is a third-generation Detroit ex-athlete . So it’s international black and it’s American black . Then on top of that we are women then on top of that we are queer. Like most people in the creative field it’s a lot of trial and error and courage to fail in front of a bunch of people you really want to impress . honestly it’s been really hard as women in this industry because people just don’t take your ideas seriously &always they want to man-Splaine Things to us like you can’t explain my experience to me. and there’s always a threat of violence or sexual assault in these different situations where a lot of times we are in the evenings . Its is also been beautiful and fun and that’s what we really are all about spreading love and a good time. A safe space for people like us don’t always have that a safe space. Been performing artists and being songwriters is really a blessing because we get to write about our struggles & our accomplishments and perform them and get out that type of energy . If we can go back five years I am pretty sure we will both tell ourselves to stop overthinking into just try and to really invest more money in ourselves &!merch & building our Fanbase . I think sometimes it’s a disservice to people sometimes on social media because they think if they don’t have 50 K followers are not doing enough but if five years ago we started collecting emails and really building connections with fans and we had 5,000 true fans right now I don’t think we will be mad . What we want the world to know about our brand is that black women can do anything and do it just as good if not better than anyone else in the world . And also that if it wasn’t for “immigrants” this country would be super bland and boring all the greatest everybody has been an immigrant because if you’re not Native American you are an immigrant.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Sunday I would definitely absolutely take them to Leimert Park farmers market on Sunday and grab some patties from Wose at Babas Vegan Cafe and then maybe get some coffee and hang around hot and cool Café where any given day one of the young or elder movers and shakers of black LA will be meeting or working. We could walk by the world stage where in the past couple years i’ve seen Terrace Martin and Robert Glasper for free after that I would take them to Crenshaw mall to see a black movie and maybe if we’re lucky it will be the Pan African film festival . Monday we would go to some museums ; MOCA ,the African-American Museum , take a stroll in the Rosegarden then head over to Mercado La Paloma for lunch . In the evening we would head to the infamous JuiceJoint (IG @thajuicejoint) spearheaded by Melanesia Hunter . In the perfect LA week Tues would be Bananas at Kaos Network Hosted by VerBs with DJ El Ray and Faze The LA DJ. Kaos Network and Ben Caldwell have provided the youth an artistic escape and place to belong. Local and out of town talent gather for a hip hop and r&b showcase and u could see a living LA legend anyday , Kendrick , Sahtyre , the artist formerly known as Nocando or of the dozens of Project Blowed alumni. Wed daytime I would take them to the east side for mariscos andMicheladas in Boyle Heights with the hood mayor and LBS collaborator Nancy Meza to talk about East LA , gentrification, and the immigrant struggle. At night we could def catch a show being promoted by EnclaveLA aka Tom also who is doing big things as the leader of the LA Progressive Shooters Club , Subsuelo stays putting on dope shows for lovers of Afro x Latinx music. Thurs we would go for a hike at Culver City Stairs and then head to Fairfax Little Ethiopian for lunch at our fav spot Merkato , featured on HBOs Insecure . Then we could head DTLA for art walk and catch a live show or art gallery then grab some food while we wait for one of VerBs afterhours parties to start around 1/2am Friday we would need to sleep in then grab some hangover coffee and food from our local cafe in Huntington Park, Cruzitas and maybe meet up with Shneaky from Shneaky Ent and talk music art and hip hop in SELA. In the evening we could head back to the Boyle Heights and catch a pop up at OtherBooks with LA Nostalgia Vintage owned and operated by our sister in stye Gloria Plaza who has been a vintage clothing collector for the past 15 years and has one of the dopest collection in LA. Sat morning we gotta hit the brunch at Party Beer in West Adams then head west to chill at the beach and grab some LA sunshine . Sat night in LA is sure to have some dope show maybe Los Rakas are in town with DJ Ethos or Earth Arrow is throwing a secret reunion show . After that show id invite all the homies back to LoveBoxStudios HW and we sip brew and smoke joints till the sun comes up
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Not to be cliché but really we have to give it up to our moms Stephanie and Lisa they both were really young moms 19 and 20 . they both tried to raise us up in a “normal” family and remarried when our own fathers weren’t really in our lives as kids. They taught us to be ambitious and to be smart , to value education and hard work. Tho Sema and I both didn’t finish college we continue to self educate ourselves , to read about our fields, to engage in things that give more learning opportunities . SEMA’s mom was 16 years old when she came to America from Jamaica And although she was already technically graduated in Jamaica she had to return back to high school. same kind of thing with my mom Lisa she skipped a grade so she graduated high school when she was about 16 going on 17 later in the year. They were kind of just thrown in the world to fend for themselves and they manage to do it without ending up cynical and cold. Both women were very smart and personable and everyone liked them and always gravitated towards the energy and they both always were very giving and making sure that anyone who is around us if they needed a plate if they needed a ride if they needed a hug if they needed five dollars that they would make sure that they had it . they definitely taught us the spirit of community and giving & just doing your best in really outrageous circumstance. I feel like they try to give it to us straight but also a little bit try to give us some semblance of the American lifestyle even though later we realize they were just living check to check like we are now LOL
-Amelia Burns -LoveBoxStudios -Angela Hall -Vivian Lee