Keeping it candid seems simple enough — it alludes to living in your utmost truth and sharing that honesty as your unfiltered identity on all levels; from face-to-face interactions, to your presence on social media. But as millennials, ‘keeping it candid‘ has possibly become the most challenging milestone for us. We’re so dependent on filters and overly-calculated identities on social media that we no longer value the raw honesty and vulnerability of self-expression. Cue Patriana Jones, a young LA native and budding actress-turned-entrepeneur, who recognized this problem and worked to resolve it by completely putting herself out there. She built an entire brand around showing us how its done, creating a safe haven for millennials in her own home and unapologetically sharing her incredibly personal and vulnerable testimonies to the public to spark much-needed conversations. Her honesty, vibrant spirit and purely candid energy resonates with people not only in person — but on social media, showing that a perfectly calculated life doesn’t hold a candle to living your truth and encouraging others to do the same. Her monthly playhouses now boast more than 150 attendees and bring together millennials of color for an unmatched interactive experience that leave attendees in deep thought about the importance of transparency, and healthy relationships.
Header Image: Clothing courtesy of Vanity by Kenya K
Editor-in-Chief Gabriella Layne enjoyed the exciting opportunity to sit down with Patriana Jones to discuss the roots of We Keep it Candid and what we can expect to see from the budding media brand in the future. Read the interview for more below and follow Patriana Jones to attend their next event!
Can you explain what ‘We Keep it Candid’ is and what this self-made platform contributes to the black community?
It’s a platform dedicated to promoting healthy interpersonal interactions for black people with other black people, other people of color, and also, with non-POC.
We focus on subtopics that fall within the categories of sex, sexuality, dating, and relationships. Essentially, we focus on progressive communication habits that can be used with sexual partners, family, friends, strangers, and even with yourself! Can’t forget about communicating healthily with ya Self!
You are an entrepreneur and event host, but your background is in theatre and acting. How did your artistic talents lead you to creating We Keep it Candid, and how have you incorporated your talents into the essence of this brand?
Ya know, my talents didn’t lead me to We Keep It Candid. Heartbreak and recovering from a domestically violent relationship did!
My talents did, however, provide me with the tools to evolve WKIC from a monthly meet up in my home of about 50 people to packing out venues with 150+ beautiful souls.
My acting background is inherently integrated in the culture of WKIC. People say, ‘‘wow she’s a great host, I love her energy, girl where do you get all that energy from ’’….. and I can only accredit it to all them hours I spent in improvisation workshops or on stage having to be big, bold, and loud enough for every audience member in my college theater house to hear me. Also, WKIC is working on expanding with the events and digitalizing the platform with media content such as podcasts, talk shows, short films, etc.
Why do you think that interactive experiential events are so important ‘for the culture’ during this digital era?
It gives everyone a chance to voice THEIR stories, experiences, opinions, fears, concerns. I’m not a fan of panels. I always would leave feeling disappointed because I wanted to speak or there wasn’t a panelist that touched on what I wanted to specifically hear about. So I am very adamant about audience centered forums, and the best way I can achieve that is by making their asses loosen up and feel comfortable enough to even open up. I do this with innovative games, making a fool out of my damn self, and being as vulnerable as I can.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced in fostering such a strong sense of community with your brand, and what do you think are the essential keys to maintaining authenticity in building a brand/legacy?
For me it’s always practicing the very core values of WKIC. Which is listening to learn and not to spew out a reply. As a facilitator who is passionate like me, it has been a strong learning curve. One that I appreciate but also that challenges me like no other. Sometimes people will say something and it takes everything in me not to be like, ‘‘GET OUT’’ lol. I have to hone in like, ‘’noooo Patriana. Take a deep breath Patriana. Yes you don’t agree but you are stronger than your emotions.
The main keys for me in maintaining authenticity is being authentic. Dassit and dasall. Lol, it’s honestly that simple and cut throat.
I’m not perfect, don’t try to be, never will be. I have my thoughts, my prejudices, my stubborn ways. But I want to do better, be better, learn and grow. Just like the WKIC tribe. That’s our vibe. We ain’t perfect but dammit we growing.
It is more important now than ever for entrepreneurs to come out of the shadow to be the front face of their brands. From your experience, what are the key factors to defining your presence as a digital thought leader on social media? How have you used your thought leadership on social media to get people to take action and come out to your events?
Well I was me and became a brand by default. I would write on facebook, instagram, about my life. And people were super taken back by how candid I was.
‘’Did she really just put herself on blast like that?’’….Yes, yes I did, cause why not? I did it, so ain’t no hiding it.
WKIC became a physical space of the conversations people had with me on a daily. So when I created a space for candid dialogue, I didn’t have to convince people. They knew cause they knew me. It was word of mouth really. ‘’Yo you gotta come to we keep it candid, it’s a straight word’’. That’s why I call it the tribe vibe. Cause the folks that come out, they’re family and friends who bring out family and friends that become family and friends.
Where do you see Keep it Candid in 10 years?
As a multifaceted platform. We’ll be expanding from the interactive forums to also doing workshops, retreats, maybe even a liberation festival. And also, a strong digital subscription based platform aka the woke Netflix. But, just stay tuned really cause talk is cheap y’know.
You describe your personal style as ‘Afro-futuristic.’ Can you define this aesthetic and how it contributes to defining your brand among your key audience?
The future of black people is progressively acceptive of their roots, culture, skin, hair, and history. It’s doing what you want and how you want without the validation of white folks weighing down on your creativity and livelihood.
Limitations is a myth. So the definition of afrofuturism…is unapologetic black folks. We
Keep It Candid provides the space for the execution of that. It is a space where we can sit down and work through our stuff with no judgment and finally start defining ourselves for ourselves.
You are hosting your event , Sex in the Summer, in LA on July 29th. Can you tell us a bit about what people can expect at this event?
I can tell you to expect clarity, happiness, community, liberation, and peace of fucking mind.
We have a great line of. Some sexy games, dope demonstrations, give aways from some amazing black owned businesses, our open audience discussion where we’ll be exploring casual sex, consent, communicating healthily, being safe, and so much more.
You can expect to feel just that much closer to your truest self when you leave the space.