We had the good fortune of connecting with Jazmine Jarvis and Meagan Kimberly Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jazmine Jarvis and Meagan Kimberly Smith, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Initially there wasn’t a ton of thought. Rather an enormous amount of feeling. We were separately going through an identity crisis of sorts looking for an authentic way to express our mixedness. We are both biracial black women who had a very white washed experience and longed for a mixed community. We realized that there was no place for mixed race / multiracial people to bond, connect or gather. We both felt so isolated in our experience and so we created the community that we ourselves desperately needed. And here we are 3 years later the Co-founders of Mixed in America. In hindsight we realized that we did something super scary. We made a business based off of our own struggle. But because we were willing to be vulnerable and honest about the mixed experience it opened the door to so many conversations. Eventually thousands of other mixed souls started flocking to Mixed in America. It was overwhelming to learn that we were not the only ones who felt isolated and alone. This is a huge issue within the mixed community and society has in many ways failed to see us. Mixed people not only feel like they lack community but also feel misunderstood by the various races that make them them. Through working with hundreds of mixed people we realize that the question on so many mixed minds is : What parts of me am I allowed to claim? And we facilitate safe spaces to really break that down for mixed people. We listen and empower them to step into their authentic expression. Whatever that may look like.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Mixed in America is a community organization looking to have a more nuanced conversation about race in America specifically through the mixed lens. Some of the ways we do this is by facilitating safe spaces, hosting events, programs and workshops for the mixed community, and providing healing resources via our website and Instagram.

Historically, the Mixed race existence has been erased within society. Multiracial individuals are often pressured to categorize themselves as only 1 of their multiple races. This denies Mixed people their full expression, limiting them to identifying as only a fraction of themselves. And let’s not forget, Mixed people tend to face similar racial traumas as their monoracial counterparts but often lack the community and support system to process it. The ways in which mental health affects the Mixed community has yet to be properly researched and understood. We assume the Mixed experience rather than asking Mixed people themselves what it’s like to exist in a multiracial body. The resulting wounds are oftentimes invalidated, misunderstood, and ignored, leaving us with very few resources to assist in authentic healing. Mixed in America aims to provide these resources and facilitate spaces to remedy these complex challenges.

Up until now there hasn’t been a safe space for mixed people to express their experience authentically. Here at Mixed in America we talk about mixed issues and spare no harsh realities or nuances. We dont sugar coat but we also leave judgement out of it. Many mixed people feel like they aren’t entitled to their feelings. For example, biracial Black people often feel too black for the whites and too white for the blacks. It’s completely isolating. So here at Mixed in America, we remind people that they are not alone. We validate their experience by building community and listening to their needs. We go beyond the glamorization and fetishization of mixed people. We work to heal their identities and help them flourish despite living in a label-obsessed world. We educate them on mixed history and empower them to express truthfully.

One of the biggest challenges we face in running Mixed in America is the backlash and criticism from other communities. Being that one of our main platforms is Instagram, we are no stranger to internet trolls. Social media can be a really scary and unsafe place especially when discussing triggering topics like race and identity. Unfortunately we have had some cruel people come through our platforms in hopes of spewing hate, ignorance, gatekeeping, and racism. We of course have zero tolerance for such behavior. But it absolutely takes its toll. What keeps us going is staying grounded in our healing message and remembering that for every nay-sayer there are thousands more who need and support our business. The overwhelming amount of gracious and positive feedback we’ve received from our community outweighs those who try to make us feel small.

We have MANY goals for Mixed in America, but overall our main mission is to make an impact and leave this world better than we found it. We want to change the way people talk about race and identity, especially when it comes to the mixed experience. We want to share the unique perspectives of mixed people from all walks of life. And more than anything we want to heal and uplift our community!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, lucky for them, we are two Las Vegas locals who definitely know how to have a good time. And in Vegas the options are ENDLESS! Of course everyone knows about the fun to be had on the Strip and we will get to that but let us not forget the beautiful desert scenery. Whether it’s hiking at red rock or indulging in the magnificence of the grand canyon the Nevada dry land has much to offer. So that being said, we’d have to get our hike on. Now we know that when people think of Vegas they immediately dive into the nightlife. But this is the city that NEVER sleeps. So we’d have to take our best friend to a fabulous Day spa. We recommend Drais, where you’d bust out your favorite bathing suit and enjoy a margarita, pool side, with an incredible DJ encouraging you to dance the day away. Now it wouldn’t be a best friend getaway without brunch! We’d have to go to one of our favorite off-the-strip spots for brunch, Bottiglia. There we can enjoy bottomless mimosas and a wide selection of yummy artisan dishes. The moment we’ve all been waiting for…NIGHTLIFE. We would have to give our bestie the full Vegas experience. So perhaps we get the adrenaline rush going with a roller coaster ride at the stratosphere. Then we can go to the gorgeous Cosmopolitan and enjoy live music and a secret pizza joint for our pleasure. And if you are in the mood to dance, the Marquee nightclub is ready for action. Another one of our favorites is Surrender Nightclub at the Wynn. You can not only enjoy a 5 star dinner at the Wynn but really get the Vegas club experience at Surrender. If our bestie isn’t thoroughly pleased by this point then they are a tough nut to crack!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
We want to dedicate our shoutout to the mixed community. To every mixed soul who had the courage to share their story in order to make other mixed folks feel a little less alone. It’s not easy to talk about race and identity as a mixed race person, so any community member who vulnerably expresses their experience is our hero. The main mission of Mixed in America is to uplift and share the unique perspectives of the mixed race community. Historically, the multiracial experience has been silenced. This community is what inspired us to create our business and brand. Without the mixed community there is no Mixed in America. We are in awe of them..

Website: info@mixedinamerica.org

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mixed_in_america/

Image Credits
Stefan Newman Brianna Saba

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.