I met Patrice Peck at a NY Association of Black Journalists Mixer and after talking to her for just a few hours- I knew we would be staying connected. In 2010, one year after graduating Amherst College, Patrice decided that New York was the only place she would be able to fully cultivate and nurture her professional and personal aspirations. Less than a year later she launched Xhibit P- the premiere destination for pop culture criticism.
Watch to learn more about Xhibit P:
Veralyn Media: How did you come up with Xhibit P?
Patrice Peck: The year after I graduated, I quickly became a blog troll! I would scroll through my Tumblr feed hungrily and other blog networks, awed and inspired by all of the writing, art and videos that people would post and re-blog. I realized that I wanted to share the same inspiration that I came across, but in a more organized fashion. I decided to put all of my trolling and following to good use. That trolling eventually morphed into a sort of online research savvy, which not only motivated me to reach out to others for original content for content to exhibit, but to also fill the dearth that I witnessed in the blogosphere. Basically, my Tumblr days paid off!
In terms of the name XHIBIT P, I wanted something short and sweet that described what we do: exhibitions! It’s funny because people sometimes ask if the P is for Patrice, which it’s definitely not! lol
VM: Your web-exhibits have a Multimedia aspect to them that includes article, videos, and pictures of the featured Artwork. How do you believe using multimedia enhances the experience of your site visitors?
Patrice:If you ask me what my favorite form of media is, I’d be hard pressed to choose just one, and I know many people feel the same. We’ve become a very multidimensional society when it comes to media, especially the generation’s age 30 and under. We have Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Kindles, Blackberrys, iPods and so much more; and we’re usually using these platforms and gadgets simultaneously! I can relate to this social transformation personally, so when deciding what content to feature in XHIBIT P, I initially asked myself what I, as an online reader and viewer, would want from an online platform. The answer came instantly so I knew without a doubt that XHIBIT P would go in a multimedia direction.
VM: How do you come up with the themes of you exhibits?
Patrice: I usually base the exhibitions on relevancy in relation to the month. For example, in February, our launch month, we decided to center the exhibition on the GRAMMYS not merely because the event takes place in that month, but because the awards show would be a hot topic in the pop culture sphere and the center of much public attention. Hot topics are essentially breeding grounds for social discussion so we wanted to take advantage of that and add in our views on the award show, which included discussions and commentary on gender biases, racial discrimination and capitalism.
VM: Your current exhibit is called “Babies having Babies” – A very hot button topic in today’s society. What’s the point of view of the artists featured?
Patrice: We had a group of amazing writers, artists and filmmakers contribute to the “Babies Having Babies” exhibition. They looked critically at the ways in which teen pregnancy and teen parenthood are being portrayed in the media. From Juno to Bristol Palin to MTV’s hit show Teen Mom, the exhibition contributors really went in on these issues and offered creative, intelligent pieces that address race relations, political identity, gender bias, media exploitation and much more.
VM: Why do you believe it’s important to think critically about social issues by using pop culture topics and images?
Patrice: We don’t want to dissuade viewers from other methods of social action, butoffering a fusion of pop culture and social issues is how we’ve approached addressing important issues in our society. We do what we do for those individuals who seek creative solutions through non-conventional methods, and for those who admittedly (and secretively) enjoy engaging in pop culture. Our goal is to put pop culture into perspective.
VM: It’s one thing to have an idea. Its quite another to actually see it come together. How did you get started?
Patrice: Having graduated in the midst of a recession and a seriously devastating job market, I learned to ask myself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” I did this in the case of XHIBIT P. What’s the worst that could have happened? That it didn’t take off and, possibly, that I lost a bit of money in the process. Okay, but what’s the best that could happen? That it blew up into this amazing, global phenomena and much, much more–the sky’s the limit when you ask yourself that question. So, it wasn’t a matter of if or how I would start XHIBIT P, it was just a matter of when.
VM: What has been the most challenging part of what you’re doing?
Patrice: I’ve had so many challenges and continue to face more as XHIBIT P continues to grow, but they are all certainly great learning experiences. I’ve learned how to communicate with a large, diverse group of people, from artists to educators to publicists. I’ve learned how to plan and execute events. I’ve learned how to manage a great team of interns–Ashley, Kelsey and Quinnee. XHIBIT P is my baby, so I feel like a mother who faces challenges but has managed to raise something beautiful in the process.
VM: What advice would you give to others trying to figure out how to do what they love and get paid for it?
Patrice: Remember to ask yourself, “what’s the worst that could happen?” If the answer is rejection or embarrassment, then that’s not bad all because you’ll learn why you did not succeed in the process and be able to strengthen your idea and fool-proof it any further.
Also, network, network, network your butt off! XHIBIT P wouldn’t be where it is today without the help and collaborations with fellow creatives. Don’t be afraid to hit up those people who are where you’d like to be. I’m always willing and able to meet up with those who would like to connect for advice!
*Join Xhibit P and Friends on Saturday, July 9th for: More Than A Game-3v3 Basketball Tournament & Art Xhibit! Lean more about this event here!