The “I am Northwest Arkansas” podcast episode featuring Jasmine Hudson, J’Aaron Merchant, and Madia Willis from Black Paper Party highlights their innovative approach to holiday celebrations with a focus on cultural representation. The trio, who launched Black Paper Party as a wrapping paper company in Arkansas, aimed to introduce more Black representation in holiday imagery. Jasmine and J’Aaron, both residing in Northwest Arkansas, have backgrounds in corporate retail and illustration, which they used to identify a gap in the market for products celebrating the Black community.
I am Northwest Arkansas Posts
Daniel and Leah Jordan of Pearl’s Books join Randy Wilburn to discuss their journey in the independent bookstore world. Opening in February 2021, Pearl’s Books has become a local favorite, innovating to stay connected with the community despite the prevalence of online giants like Amazon. They host pop-up events, support local authors, and foster book clubs, proving the relevance of brick-and-mortar bookstores in the digital era. Pearl’s Books is a testament to the enduring charm and importance of physical bookshops in fostering a love for literature.
Margot Lemaster and Monica Kumar delves into the Welcoming Week NWA initiative. Margot, integral to Engage NWA since 2017, discusses her role in promoting inclusivity and community growth. Monica shares her transformation from grappling with racial challenges to advocating for racial equity. They explore the power of diversity, personal connections, and community engagement in fostering a welcoming Northwest Arkansas. The episode is a call to action, inviting listeners to join these efforts through Engage NWA and the NWA Council.
Randy interviews bladesmith Kenneth Webb, owner of Webb Blades. Kenneth discusses his passion for creating bespoke chef knives and outdoor blades, emphasizing the artistry and utility in knife-making. His dedication to quality and intricate designs has garnered a following among chefs and enthusiasts. The episode explores the transformative nature of his craft and celebrates bladesmithing in Northwest Arkansas.