While Black History Month (or any month that recognizes and celebrates marginalized communities) is important for reinforcing our understanding of American history, we have reached a time when it is not only reasonable, but also quite simple to honor and support Black heroes and pioneers every single day.
Most likely, you’re doing it already. And if, by chance, examples of Black culture and achievements that surround us daily are not familiar or recognizable, this local mother helps to make them known. From her collaborative events and her nonprofit organization to her well-established foodie blog and national media invitations, Kiva Williams is truly an inspirational mom to follow, support and befriend.
TBPM: From the Tamron Hall Show, Good Morning America and multiple local media appearances for The Fun Foodie Mama, Mahogany Kids Fine Arts Foundation, Tampa Bay Black Excellence Challenge and your own PR clients, 2022 was truly a year that established the foundation for many of your professional brands. What does 2023 look like for Kiva Williams, your personal brand?
Kiva Williams: Wow! When I sit back and think about all of the things I accomplished in 2022, I can’t help but smile! I’m truly grateful that I’m in a space professionally where I’m not afraid to step out and tap into my many talents. For me personally, 2023 will be about securing the brands that I’ve started and taking my vision for each to the next level.
TBPM: As entrepreneurs, both you and your husband have found unique ways to combine your work with your passions and your children. Where does the drive, creativity and unwavering dedication come from?
Kiva Williams: For both of us, our children are our greatest motivation. We know that we have three children’s futures in our hands, and we want to do everything in our power to set them up for success. Also for me, I started my brand as a family blog and my nonprofit focuses on children, so it’s only right to have my own children at the core of what I do.
TBPM: As someone that I see as a true ‘Community Hero,’ who is your Hero?
Kiva Williams: I love that you called me a “Community Hero” because I truly do care about my community, and I think of it as a privilege to impart and impact any way that I can. When I think of my own personal heroes, my parents immediately come to mind. My mother was born with sickle cell anemia, and she has faced breast cancer twice. My father comes from humble beginnings, and took a leap of faith as a family man with a wife and two young kids to move us overseas to Germany for eight years to pursue a better life. I can’t think of two more courageous people in my immediate life that I could look up to more, and I am motivated and inspired by them daily. I would be remiss not to mention MLK Jr. as my hero as well. I stand on his shoulders, and am grateful for what he stood for and fought for all Americans.
TBPM: The mission of Mahogany Kids Fine Arts Foundation is to empower minority youth through music, art and dance. Can you share what inspired you to create this nonprofit group and how you became connected to the arts?
Kiva Williams: As a child I was heavily involved in performing arts and developed a love for dance so much so that I pursued a degree in dance at the University of South Florida. There I worked on mastering my dance technique in hopes of pursuing dance as a career professionally. Unfortunately, I did follow my dreams of moving to New York City. Not following my dreams led me to want to tap back into my love of the arts years later, and hence, my nonprofit was formed.
TBPM: How can the Tampa Bay community support Mahogany Kids Fine Arts Foundation? In what ways can children join the events you have planned?
Kiva Williams: We are always looking for community partnerships! Please email us to inquire about partnerships or to join our newsletter to stay in the know about upcoming events. email@example.com
TBPM: Let’s talk about the Tampa Bay Black Excellence Challenge and how your collaboration with Karimah Henry (@craftingafunlife) has supported so many Black-owned businesses. What was your initial vision for this project, how does the challenge work, and how does this work fulfill you?
Kiva Williams: We wanted to showcase women coming together in support of a greater good. Individually, we enjoy supporting Black-owned businesses but joined forces to amplify our voices. Making it into a game puts a fresh spin on our overall message of supporting minority-owned Tampa Bay based businesses. Follow us on Instagram @tampabaybec to learn more about the challenge.
TBPM: In February, we have the opportunity to learn about and celebrate Black History Month in so many ways. What does this month mean to you, and what do you think the most important takeaway is for families in Tampa Bay?
Kiva Williams: My family looks forward to BHM every year. We explore documentaries, visit cultural art exhibits in the Tampa Bay area, as well as patronize Black owned businesses. Attending local cultural events throughout the month is a great way for the Tampa Bay area to get involved and celebrate Black History Month.
TBPM: What do you and your family love to do most in Tampa Bay?
Kiva Williams: We love the Tampa Riverwalk! Taking a low key family stroll while enjoying the downtown sights is the perfect family outing for us.
Originally published in February 2023 of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.