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Young, Black and Social!

Young, Black and Social:

8  Social  Tips  for the Urban Young Professional Living in Boston 

by Farrah Belizaire, Founder and Managing Director of LiteWork Events
First Published: January 5, 2018 | Updated June 25, 2019

Known as both a college town and an early-career launchpad for millennial “go-getters”, Boston attracts a pretty large and diverse crowd of ambitious transplants and area natives, alike. Yet, in an area where it seems almost everyone is driven by one ambition or another, the Northeast gets a bad rap for being “cold” in more ways than one.

However, it doesn’t mean great connections and memorable experiences can’t be found! The truth is, your social experience is an important part of who you are here. Depression is real. Isolation is real. Just plain boredom is real. If you’ve found yourself in any of these predicaments lately, and if you find yourself asking “Where are all the Black professionals in Boston?” (a question I hear a lot), then check out these social tips for the urban young professional living in Boston!

1. Attend a networking event

Let’s get the obvious one out of the way… you’ll definitely have to consider attending a social networking event to expand your social circle. If you’ve found your way to this post, you’ve probably figured out what the LiteWork Events brand is about 😉 Think the opposite of nightlife – networking events/ mixers (#LiteWorkAfterWork), day parties and the arts.

Photo cred: Past #LiteWorkAfterWork event

There’s also the Boston Young Black Professionals (YBP), which organizes after work meetups, an annual beach day, and pretty much anything that might get Black and Brown folks to try something new. You may find one of the local Divine 9 orgs (see Fraternal Organizations) hosting a seasonal mixer as well. Civic organizations such as the Young Professionals Network of the local Urban League Chapter (YPN-ULEM) and the Boston Branch of the NAACP also occasionally host pop up after work gatherings. The Collier Connection is another resource for transplants and natives alike. For the guys, you can also make great connections at the Boston Men’s Dinner Group.

2. Join a professional organization 

If you’re a young and career-driven Black professional in Boston, you are not alone! There are many ways to surround yourself with like-minded young professionals in your industry. To name a few, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)National Association of Black Accounts (NABA), and the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA)  all have active chapters here in Boston. Did I mention that they are all co-hosts of Black Boston’s biggest formal affair – the Ebony Winter Gala?! Click HERE to view our list of Black Professional Organizations in Boston.

Photo Cred: @NSBEBoston

3. Try a party that’s not at the club 

Nothing says “Black Millennial” like a good old brunch, day party or early evening social. Check out brunches like NYA Boston’s #RnBrunch and casual get-togethers like Kickback Boston’s Trappy Hour. Vibe at day parties like CLLCTV.US‘ The Wave, where you’ll find dope people without the clutter and big-to-do of typical nightlife.

Venture out of the Boston bubble with events like LiteWork’s own #ENVYMV Day Party on Martha’s Vineyard.

Photo Cred: @DFilmz
  1. I’ll admit, some of these events are not without the occasional scatterings of cliques and pre-formed friendship groups, but if you’re out to have a good time, you’ll run into the approachable kind, too!

    Now, don’t get me wrong… There’s nothing wrong with a good night out, so I’m not knocking the club completely. 

    • Monday: Umm… Catch up on reality TV and club vicariously? Boston doesn’t really have a Monday night club scene but the W Hotel Lounge is a low key alternative!
    • Tuesday: Stay home & read book…. Again, nothing’s poppin’.
    • Wednesday: Not my thing, but I’ve heard people enjoy Storyville!
    • Thursday: Meet @PrittyUglyMedia at Venu Boston!
    • Friday: Head over to Savvor for @Play_Fridays or another @PrittyUglyMedia night at ICON!
    • Saturday: Unleash your Afro-Caribbean moves at @Afrique_Events‘ Passport Saturdays or join the high-ballers at @BijouGoldRoom, hosted by @IAMBOSTON. Turn up a bit more intimately at Kingston Cuts with @PrittyUglyMedia
    • Sunday: I’m sure you’ll find a day party. Boston loves Sunday parties. Seriously, they’re everywhere! But if you must hit a club scene, look for @PrittyUglyMedia once again.

4. Support Black Business

Although limited, Black-owned businesses in Boston do, in fact, exist. Start with the South End! Darryl’s Corner Bar + Kitchen is known for its intimate jazz nights and Southern comfort food where you’re always likely to run into a friendly face (especially if Denise is behind the bar)! The Urban Grape was named 2019’s “The Best Wine Shop in Boston” by Boston Magazines and features Black-owned wines from wine-makers such as Maison Noir. Slade’s Grill and Bar will give you a bit more of a down home atmosphere and the fried chicken is a local favorite. Savvor Restaurant & Lounge is newer on the scene and mixes it up between regular Friday and Saturday night parties, private events (see below) and a Caribbean-inspired menu… Now there you have at least 4 places to #BuyBlack!

Click here for a list of “20 Minority-Owned Restaurants Catering to Black Professionals and Millennials in Boston”!

Photo Cred: Afrique Events

5. Reconnect with your Alma Mater 

Put your “alumni” status to good use and get involved with a local chapter of your alumni association. Maybe you’re not yet ready to write off checks to your beloved institution, but there are other ways to give back! The HBCU network in Boston is represented by chapters of FAMU, Morehouse, Spelman, Clark Atlanta, Hampton and Howard.

Photo Cred: @Morehouse_Boston

6. Don’t just cash a check; explore your passion! 

Got a side hustle keeping you up at night? Cultivate your passion by exploring one of Boston’s many professional and creative resources. Conferences like MIT Sloan Africa Innovate Conference attract local and national innovators, entrepreneur hubs like the Hunters Space and BREAD Boston bring together local visionaries to nurture connections, and accelerators like the Fairmount Innovation Lab provide support to local creative enterprises. Even if your passion is just a hobby, there are tons of ways to connect with people aligned with what makes you, you!

Photo cred: @BREADBoston

7. Volunteer 

Insert a social responsibility lecture here… No, but really! As young professionals, we have both the privilege and responsibility to lend our unique talents to serve our local community. Youth organizations such as BUILDMinds Matter, and the Big Sister Association are always seeking professionals of color to mentor youth, especially toward college readiness. Non-profits such as Cradles to Crayons are also often seeking extra pairs of helping hands. Groups such as VIBE – Volunteers Incorporating Black Excellence – curate special opportunities for Black young professionals to giveback. In the process, you’re bound to meet other professionals committed to service, too!

Photo Cred: iPhone Goodies

8. Don’t just get connected, stay connected! 

This one is basic but, I’ll end with this… the key to building your social circle is to follow up! After the mixer or meet up, don’t be afraid to exchange business cards, IG handles or other personal information. One thing you may learn about Boston is the fact that (in most cases) social opportunities won’t just land on your lap. Join a mailing list, Facebook group or a big ol’ group chat with mobile platforms like GroupMe or WhatsApp to keep the connections going!

Photo cred: Getty Images

Bonus tip!

Summers in Boston will definitely give you a lot to do! Be on the lookout for trips to Martha’s Vineyard, the annual Juneteenth Picnic, day parties where the sun is actually out (lol, see below), and rooftop mixers!

Photo cred: Another gem from my iPhone 😉

Questions, comments or suggestions? Email me at info@liteworkevents.com!