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Pride Month Spotlight: The Polished Kreative

In celebration of Pride Month, we sat down with the founders of The Polished Kreative, a dynamic venture by three African American queer individuals who united their diverse skills to create inclusive events in Arlington. Initially starting with small local gatherings, they rapidly expanded to vibrant festivals reflecting the community's diversity. By embracing "immersive innovation," their events foster genuine human connections and stand out for their unique, heartfelt experiences. With a focus on advocacy and inclusivity, they continue to nurture and expand their community, paving the way for future organizers.

Introduce us to your journey. How was The Polished Kreative born?

We are three African American queer individuals from diverse professional backgrounds – a mathematician, a luxury pet service owner, and a chef. Each of us bring unique skills and passions that drive change. The Polished Kreative was born out of a necessity to create events we couldn't find in here in Arlington. Starting with small, local gatherings, we quickly saw success and expanded our vision.

What ignited the spark to initiate inclusive festivals and events?

We wanted to create events that truly reflected the diversity of our community. Before COVID-19, Lindsey Hinton, one of our founders, recognized Arlington's need for a Pride Festival. She was right. Once the world opened back up, we turned that vision into reality.

By actively listening to our community, we continue to develop festivals that celebrate who we are. Stay tuned – more events are on the horizon!

You mentioned your commitment to engaging communities through "immersive innovation." Could you elaborate on how this concept is realized within your festivals? How do you bring "immersive innovation" to life?

While "immersive" often suggests technology, we believe it transcends that. Even technology strives to replicate real, impactful experiences. Our goal is to create events that transport people to a place of genuine human connection. In a world of chaos, celebrating our humanity is essential.

What sets your events and festivals apart? What makes them stand out in people's memories?

We prioritize the desires and needs of our community, crafting experiences that resonate deeply rather than forcing attendees into a one-size-fits-all event.

Building a community is crucial. Can you share your approach to nurturing and expanding your community?

Our approach goes beyond entertainment; it’s about meeting real needs. For example, our Pride Festival features advocacy in addition to entertainment, food, and drinks. This year, health and wellness are major themes. We've carefully selected vendors, including a vintage album seller, a massage service, and the PYNK Garden Party celebrating the sapphic community. There’s something soulful about browsing vintage albums and enjoying a massage amid the festivities.

Sapphic inclusion is often overlooked too, so we dedicated a section of Long Bridge Park to celebrate all things pink. With women DJs, pink drinks provided by Hornitos, and vendors celebrating the divine feminine, our message is clear: "We see you, we hear you, we gotcha."

As trailblazers in your field, how do you aspire to inspire other organizers and communities through your work?

We are kindred spirits bonded by shared adversity. If your work is your calling, persevere. Strive to be someone you’re proud of and ensure your work has a positive impact. Expect challenges, but stay encouraged. When doors close, bring your own key. If you’re not invited to the table, build your own and invite those who share your vision.

What upcoming projects or events are you most excited about?

Arlington Pride began in 2022 with one event. By 2023, we had three. In 2024, we're thrilled to present eight curated events, including Pride Speed Dating on June 17, a Beyoncé Cowboy Carter-inspired Ho'Down at Clarendon Ballroom on June 15, and the PYNK Garden Party at Long Bridge Park on June 29. These events reflect our vibrant community and its needs. Let’s love, dance, and celebrate together.