by @KiaTheWriter

An Emerging City Champions micro-grant funding and the credibility of the Knight Foundation halo that came with it allows me (Octavia Darko) the chance to take my first steps toward becoming a Hip Hop Social Entrepreneur.

 The Knight Foundation gave me validity, 8 80 Cities gave me a starter kit of tools, the Arts & Science Council’s Culture Blocks program allowed me to cut my teeth in community music programming and small event coordination and budgeting. On top of that, a growing Hip Hop Orchestrated ensemble was pushing me into a position of leadership. I was growing and learning through trial and error.  Much like the tales of the Hip Hop Moguls I loved learning about.

By December 2016, I was still in the mental mode of asking permission to make things happen. The seed funding of K880 Cities was gone and I had to really understand how to pull in the sponsors and create revenue models that would put Hip Hop Orchestrated on a sustainable path and go beyond a one-off, pop-up project.

By the time December 2016 came around I had to really jump into the social entrepreneurial shark tank and learn how to swim and survive in the deep waters of business.  I needed to see a metaphorical marine scientist with years of understanding and experience navigating the social entrepreneurial waters of the Charlotte business marketplace.

Lucky for me, the Charlotte Program Director of the Knight Foundation was the personified metaphor I needed to see. The always busy schedule of Charles Thomas had a rare lull right before the Holiday Break. So on a December day I made my way from K-town (Kannapolis) to Uptown for a Knight Talk with Charles Thomas.

 If you want to know what we talked about checkout my Creative Loafing article >>