By Shayler Richmond
Imani Mixon, the Detroit based and embraced writer and producer is defining dope through self exploration and storytelling; she’s centering women in every conversation and empowering all to manifest their authentic self.
“Everything I write, I want to sound beautiful and feel beautiful, so instead of giving a run-of-the-mill story, I think a little harder, and give it that much more time. Letting myself enjoy the story I’m telling allows it come on the page a lot better,” said Mixon.
Mixon writes for the Metro Times and she founded, “The City Proper,” a digital medium. Mixon also produces and host, “Proper nouns,” an interview segment on Youtube and she has curated a podcast for a National Public Radio Station, titled, “Morningside 48224.” Most recently she narrated, wrote and co-created “Showing Up Showing Out: a film about the past, present and future of Motown," presented through collaboration of Carhartt WIP, Dazed and NTS Radio (Margot Bowman, director, co-creator).
“To be a member of the media, and a member of a very tight knit community, can sometimes be a point of tension, but more often than not, its been a relationship where one feeds the other,” said Mixon.
Detroit is a part of her lived experience. She knows Detroit intimately, therefore she writes about Detroit. Due to her relationship to the community and within the community there are Detroiters that trust her to tell their stories.
“Detroit has been a really good starting point, and has fed me in a lot of ways, but I’m still able to write for anyone, and about anything, if I choose to do so,” said Mixon.
As a freelancer, she expressed, “ it feels a lot like endless possibility!”
She is reframing adulting in a way that targets limiting beliefs, constricting environments and traumatic events that have happened personally and professionally; a practice that dissociates growing in age from losing vulnerability, instead suggesting; remain open, and raise the bar to meet you where you are.
Creating boundaries and forming non-negotiables before you walk in the door is essential to setting your standard of beauty and obtaining it.
“It’s like forming a bubble around yourself when you can choose who gets to come in, instead of being exposed to anything and anybody. If you care deeply about your work, then you should care deeply about yourself and how you get the work done,” said Mixon.
“It’s a really cool challenge to have to ask myself what I need to get the work done and have the life I want,” she continued.
Imagine a world where the boundaries you set aren’t as often honored, your well-being isn’t prioritized and your body isn’t protected. Would you then struggle with finding beauty in the process? This isn’t imagination for minorities; it’s lived experience.
“It isn’t really something I can always afford to do being a Black women working for myself,” said Mixon.
This is the world of many Black women and other marginalized people. By definition, to be marginalized means to historically not have a seat at the decision making table.
“We need to dig into why, and have candid conversations around it,” said Mixon.
This detrimental dynamic highlights the importance of relationships, both personal and professional. The need for community among Black and Brown people is rooted in basic survival with an added innate duty to lift up mutuals you respect.
“I’ve seen some really bland places become cool the moment a Black person walks in, and I don’t think it’s by coincidence. I believe a lot of us are able to make anything happen, and we’re able to make even more happen when we get the resources we need,” said Mixon.
Mixon works to bring people in and ensure they are taken care of, while also taking care of herself. She faces life’s perplexities as intimately as she faces telling each story.
“I want people to love what I do, so it’s always in the back of my mind; am I doing this right; am I treating myself lovingly while I do this; am I telling the story with close intention and care,” she said.
Work from a loveless place is absent purpose. Allow yourself to be present and fully accounted for. Life spent chasing beauty is missed opportunity to find beauty through, and in, all experiences.
You will be lighter spiritually and effective practically if you deal with life in the now, with consideration of what has worked, what won’t work, and what will work, instead of waiting for everything to be solved.
“I’ve found that the idea of perfection and the theory that once you make it over this hump, there’s no more humps in the world isn’t really true, so [beauty] is letting whatever has already existed before the beauty came still exist, alongside whatever your beauty is,” said Mixon.
There is no current blueprint or model for independent Black creatives, so there’s a lot of beautiful struggle in motion still ensuring our stories are told.
“I like to think that I’m figuring these things out for myself, and hopefully for generations after me, and if I do it the right way, it will last long, and people will still be reading my work later,” said Mixon.
Legacy, legacy, legacy.
“I want to continue to elevate the work I’m doing in a way that reflects what I’m interested in at the moment, without feeling tied to one genre, one publication, one way of writing or storytelling. I want to come from all angles in a way that feels natural to me,” she continued.