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Planting Seeds of Inspiration: Celebrating the Soul and Spirit of Black History Month

Get to know some of the talented and dynamic BIPOC partners across our sanctuaries as they share their stories of passion and inspiration.

Published on: February 13, 2024
The Plant Queen

As a brand and community built upon safeguarding the planet and all of its people, we make a conscious, continuous effort to spotlight and uplift our Black partners and neighbors year-round, but Black History Month offers a unique opportunity to further amplify their voices around the world.

As talented musicians, plant experts, mixologists, wellness practitioners, and everything in between, our BIPOC partners have played (and continue to play) a huge role in shaping the 1 world, and we want to honor them by sharing their insights with the world. We spoke with our talented Black partners across our properties to explore their expertise and shine a light on their stories. Explore the contagious joy, inspiration, and passion of these visionaries in-person as they host immersive events throughout Black History Month, from mindful mixology masterclasses to rooftop DJ parties and everything in between.


NICHELLE QUEEN PROCTOR, FOUNDER OF THE PLANT QUEEN | 1 HOTEL SAN FRANCISCO

Could you share the inspiration behind The Plant Queen, and how your journey has been creating the first Black and Asian-owned plant shop in Berkeley?

The inspiration for The Plant Queen came from my love for house and native plants, combined with a passion for interior design and creating a welcoming home. My partner and I are proud to be the first Asian and Black-owned plant shop in Berkeley, showcasing the strength of both communities collaborating to create something beautiful together.

Only one percent of all landscape architects in the U.S. today are Black. What do you think are the most important steps that can be taken to bring more people of color into the profession?

Increasing diversity in the landscape architecture profession requires a multifaceted approach. Fostering mentorship programs, promoting educational opportunities in underrepresented communities, and actively advocating for inclusivity in hiring practices are crucial steps. Additionally, creating awareness about the profession's potential and showcasing successful role models can inspire individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue careers in landscape architecture.

We are thrilled about the upcoming pop-up collaboration at 1 Hotel San Francisco. What kind of experience should guests anticipate?

Guests at the upcoming pop-up collaboration at 1 Hotel San Francisco can anticipate a warm welcome surrounded by lush greenhouse plants. The experience will include valuable plant knowledge, and for those interested, there will be a repotting station available. It promises to be an enjoyable and interactive event for all attendees.

As plant enthusiasts, readers often seek advice on nurturing their green companions. What tips or insights can you share for our readers to create a thriving and sustainable indoor plant haven at home?

Establishing a flourishing indoor plant haven is akin to nurturing ourselves—each plant, like us, has unique needs contributing to its overall well-being. Begin by comprehending the light requirements of different plant species and strategically placing them to receive optimal sunlight. Develop a consistent watering routine, adjusting it with seasonal changes and individual plant needs. Pay attention to humidity levels, considering occasional misting or placing water trays to accommodate specific preferences. Opt for well-draining soil and periodically re-pot to provide fresh nutrients, mirroring how we benefit from a nourishing environment. Maintain stable temperatures, acknowledging that, much like humans, plants thrive when their surroundings cater to their distinctive requirements. Regular observation and responsive care cultivate not just a collection of plants but a vibrant and flourishing indoor sanctuary, enhancing both the aesthetic and well-being of your space.
 

ASHLEY BROOKE JAMES, CO-FOUNDER OF TRILUNA WELLNESS | 1 HOTEL NASHVILLE

Can you tell us about TRILUNA and what inspired you to start the company?

TRILUNA is a premier wellness company that curates unique event experiences and enhancements. We present diverse wellness encounters to our clientele, from movement and mindfulness classes to on-the-go massages and a customizable DIY self-care bath-salt bar. Our primary objective is to enhance the quality of corporate conferences, meetings, and retreats. Beyond the corporate realm, our customer base extends to support various groups, including small businesses and medium to small-sized gatherings.

The inception of TRILUNA was fueled by a recognition of the need for increased diversity within the realm of wellness. A common perception confined wellness to the confines of traditional workouts, a notion we sought to challenge and reshape. We firmly reject the idea that wellness is a one-size-fits-all concept. Acknowledging the uniqueness of each individual, we believe that personal well-being should manifest differently for everyone, guided by the distinct needs of the body, mind, and spirit, ultimately fostering a sense of personal enjoyment and safety.

As a Black-owned business, TRILUNA brings a unique wellness and events industry perspective. How do you see your identity as co-founders influencing the way TRILUNA operates, and in what ways does it contribute to your mission of making wellness more inclusive and accessible?

When Elizabeth and I joined forces, our primary commitment was to carve out spaces where individuals could truly see reflections of themselves, embracing diversity in race, body types, abilities, and disabilities. This was a response to the void we both experienced while navigating the wellness world. We aim to establish safe havens, particularly for people of color, and in recognizing the absence of such spaces, we took it upon ourselves to create them. The foundation of these spaces lies in our deliberate choices concerning instructors, vendors, and brands with whom we collaborate.

Simultaneously, we were driven by a desire to open doors for minority-owned businesses, mainly supporting black, brown, and women-owned enterprises. By connecting our corporate partners with local community entities, we aimed to expose them to unique companies that might have yet to be on their radar. Our ongoing commitment involves facilitating access to untapped opportunities for our community partners, empowering them to thrive in new spheres.

Diversity and community are integral to TRILUNA’s core values. How do these values manifest in the events and experiences you curate, and what steps do you take to ensure that your wellness initiatives honor and celebrate differences in your audience?

Step one involves a thorough venting process for all individuals we collaborate with, ensuring a harmonious alignment of values. Our selection of people, whether vendors or instructors, is centered around the shared commitment to the core values of diversity and community, both in life and during events. This foundation sets the tone, permeating every aspect of our events with this intentional and inclusive mindset.

As a team, we prioritize communication. We go above and beyond to articulate various facets, from the diverse individuals we'll engage with to the comprehensive planning and execution of events from inception to conclusion. Our approach is marked by intention, purpose, and meaning, ensuring that each event resonates with and upholds the fundamental principles that define us.

Can you give our readers a glimpse of what they can expect from TRILUNA events at 1 Hotel Nashville?

TRILUNA is deeply committed to fostering wellness in every facet at 1 Hotel Nashville. Our partnership extends across various realms, from facilitating general movement and mindfulness experiences for guests to orchestrating comprehensive wellness initiatives for large conferences hosted by the hotel. Collaborating with the spa, we curate mini-retreats designed to rejuvenate and revitalize guests. One particularly cherished aspect of our collaboration is supporting 1 Kitchen, where we unite the community in meaningful conversations and introductions to diverse individuals. This partnership aligns seamlessly with our mission, and we couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity it provides.

Are there any practical wellness practices or strategies you recommend our readers incorporate into their routines to maintain their well-being and decrease stress?

My personal favorite involves encouraging people to take a moment for mindful breathing! "Deep Breath In... Long Breath Out" is my go-to mantra because, in life, we often find ourselves holding our breath without realizing it. It's a simple practice—inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. I strongly advocate for everyone to incorporate movement into their routine, tailored to what's accessible for them—whether it's increasing walks, stretching in the morning or evening, or gently rotating the neck. Movement is fundamental.

At the core of my mission is urging individuals to prioritize their well-being. I aim to inspire others to discover what suits them, simplify their wellness journey, and embrace it as a lifestyle adaptable to change. 
 

ASHLEY WIMBUSH, AKA DJ ALPHA WHISKEY | 1 HOTEL NASHVILLE

What inspired you to become a DJ? Any particular moment or artist?

I have always wanted to become a DJ ever since I was a little girl. I was in the band in middle and high school, playing the clarinet and bass drum. My parents had a lot of vinyl records that I loved to listen to every day. The artwork on the album covers also attracted me. As I got older, I would download and listen to lots of music. While attending Hampton University, I would DJ my friends' parties. In 2008, I met DJ Donna Baby and danced the night away while she spun house music. She inspired me, showing that women can DJ even better!

Your sound is very eclectic and covers a lot of ground. Which artists/musicians/DJs have inspired you and helped to influence your sound?

My favorite artist is James Brown! I love James Brown's moves, band, voice, and funkiness. His music is universal and will have you dancing all night! I love listening to DJ Rashida, L3ni, and Uncle Waffles spin; they inspire me to go a little harder. My favorite DJ is Natasha Diggs. She is such a great DJ and person. She is also dubbed as the "45 Queen," and she can play every genre really well! She plays all around the world, bringing nothing but good vibes and love! I have had the opportunity to meet her and spin on her DJ platform, Soul in the Horn, a few times.

How do you use your platform to inspire and mentor the next generation of Black professionals in aviation and entertainment during Black History Month and beyond?

As a 10-year veteran Air Traffic Controller, I host aviation day events every year that expose youth from diverse and underserved backgrounds to career fields in aviation and space! The majority of the students that I take up for discovery flights (their first flight) want to become pilots or become interested in learning more about aviation. If anyone is interested in learning more about aviation, they can visit my website www.alphawhiskey.com. As a female DJ, I co-founded SheDJs901 with DJ Crystal Mercedes; it is a social community for female DJs and artists to meet, support one another, and learn how to grow their brands. SheDJs901 hosts various events throughout the year, showcasing all female DJs. We also partner with Women in Memphis Music (WIMM) to host events as well. You can learn more about us on our IG page (@SheDJs901).

What can attendees expect from your upcoming sets at Harriet’s Nashville? 

Everyone who has attended an Alpha Whiskey set has thoroughly enjoyed the first-class experience they receive. I take my guests on a flight all around the world! My music selections are always chosen in real-time, as I love to feel the energy of my audience to make sure they are enjoying it. I enjoy spinning at 1 Kitchen during Saturday brunches, giving guests a musical boost to get their day started. I also look forward to my Valentine’s Day set! I have been collecting some great tunes for guests to enjoy on the day of love!

Can you provide a glimpse into the process behind curating the Sounds of 1 playlist, with a focus on celebrating Black History Month and spotlighting emerging black artists?

I love all types of music that have great meaning, messages, and purpose. There are so many talented Black artists that I have met along my musical journey. I have developed some great friendships with a few along the way, and I want to make sure they get their flowers on the Sounds of 1 playlist. Enjoy the flight!

VICTORIA EADY BUTLER, MASTER BLENDER AT UNCLE NEAREST 1884 TENNESSEE WHISKEY | 1 HOTEL WEST HOLLYWOOD

You’re the first known African American woman Master Blender in the spirits industry. Can you speak to the journey of bringing Nathan "Nearest" Green's legacy to light?

Nearest Green is and will always be the inspiration behind everything we create. His story, his experiences and his legacy are front of mind in everything we do.

Uncle Nearest boasts an all-female executive team. How has this unique leadership dynamic contributed to the brand's success, and what impact does it have on the whiskey industry's landscape?

The relationship that our executive team has is one of openness and radical transparency. Everyone's opinions and ideals are valued and appreciated. In addition, we're all multitaskers as each one of us wears more than one hat. Our all-female executive board is the first in the industry. Through our hard work, commitment, and dedication we've been a visual example that women have the necessary skill-set to lead a successful brand.

The launch of the $50 million Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative is a significant step towards supporting minority-founded and owned spirit brands. Can you elaborate on the mission of the fund and its role in fostering diversity within the industry?

It is a three-prong initiative comprised of the Nearest Green School of Distilling, Leadership Acceleration Program (LAP), and the Business Incubation Program. It was created to improve diversity in our industry, specifically a way to get African Americans into top positions. This unique collaboration is an avenue to help advance the next generation of African American leaders in our industry.

EMPOWER BLACK STORIES

We hope these conversations inspire you to explore the stories of BIPOC friends and neighbors in your own life, celebrating their achievements and triumphs this month and beyond.
 

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