PDX Black Rose (@pdxblackrose) is a grassroots media platform formed by Steven Christian to share information and promote movers and shakers in Black Portland. By movers and shakers, I mean entrepreneurs, community leaders, and other Black people in Portland doing interesting things. All the content is produced in collaboration with Iltopia Studios, the Soul District Business Association, Flossin Media, and community partners. PDX Black Rose produces blogs, YouTube videos, weekly podcasts, and daily social media conversations to give Black people in Portland both the information they are looking for and the information they need to know to live fruitful lives. Our podcast brings in members of the community that push the envelope of equality and equity, we shed light on programs and events aimed at combating gentrification on our blog, and we connect with people through Instagram and Twitter to foster a sense of community that fills gaps in the Afro-Centric Portland webspace. As we continue to grow our following, we will solidify PDX Black Rose as an integral part of the cultural fabric with the power to enact positive change.
I started this project because I saw the need to bridge gaps in Portland’s Black community. I saw that there were tons of podcasts being created in Portland, but not many podcasts that were appealing to the Black community in Portland. More importantly, I thought about all the small businesses, makers, and creators that were staples in Black Portland that no one knew about. When it came to Blackness represented in Portland, I would always hear from people that they “didn’t know [insert Black creator or business] was out here.” That really stuck with me because it felt like we were invisible.
With the rise of podcast popularity, I saw an opportunity to start an initiative to help bring awareness to these amazing people that I grew to know during my time in Portland. I would like to point out that I have no problem meeting people. In fact, because of the various things I do with nonprofits and in the creative community, I interact with many Black Portlanders that are really doing their thing: CEOs of companies, physicians, entrepreneurs, etc.
With COVID hitting, I saw PDX Black Rose as an avenue to help foster a sense of community around those that were hit the most - Black businesses. I pretty much reached out to all the people I knew and had conversations about who they were, what they did, and why they did it. It was something that I was often curious about, but I also knew that the power of storytelling would really attract an audience. As a storyteller, I really wanted to use my skills to help shine light on the overlooked areas of Portland. It was a way I could give back to my community during such a tumultuous time.
Since Google started crawling podcasts this year (2020), I saw that I could use my skills in search engine optimization and content marketing to help Black businesses and entrepreneurs, that were not on the internet, have a digital footprint. I promoted it as a package of services the podcast would offer for their participation. That included: an interview on the podcast to share their story, a landing page for the podcast, a YouTube video of the podcast interview, a blog post, social media marketing of the episode, and promotional segments from the podcast to repost. I was producing all of this myself, and I use all these things to promote the other projects I do. It felt only natural that I could replicate this for other people to help them.
The best part about this project is that many people have reached out and told me how much they appreciate the project. I really put my heart and soul into sharing the stories of influential people that often go under the radar because they don’t fit the mold of what success and influence looks like in Portland. Hopefully, I can continue to do the work and not get bogged down by the demands of everything that this entails.