A Conversation with JerLisa Nicole

A Conversation with JerLisa Nicole

A Conversation with JerLisa Nicole

JerLisa Nicole, founder of online initiative “#BHMKOTD,” a space where fellow enthusiasts show off their kicks during Black History Month. More than a sneaker enthusiast, JerLisa takes pride in giving back to her community since a young child. Influenced to give back by her environment, JerLisa’s giving spirit has followed her into adulthood by using her platform to gather donations for her community.

Tell us about yourself - who is JerLisa Nicole?

Hi, I’m just a girl! I wear a lot of hats both personally and professionally. I’ve always loved sneakers and was working as a stylist when I created a sneaker clean and care brand focused on proper fabric care. Gaining recognition for that on Twitter landed me as a host for a weekly Spaces meet up, ‘The Kickback,’ and a webshow with Sole Collector. I’ve since worked my way as a rising leader and voice in the online sneaker community. You can find me giving style and shopping tips, as well as advocating for people in need and creating ways to give back.

Tell us about BHMKOTD - how did it begin? What was the inspiration behind the initiative?

I was a moderator in the original Twitter sneaker community, Sole Food, and would create small fun spirit weeks. They weren’t getting much engagement, so I let the idea die down, but one friend remained persistent wanting one more. I jokingly said I would force her to do a month’s worth, then I sat back and thought why not? Black History Month deserves 28 themes. 

In other conversations I was constantly complaining about Black History Month sneakers, lack thereof, or the designs being related to the struggle story in Black American history. Things just didn’t make sense. I knew my relationship with Blackness, as well as others and that there were more stories and values to pull from. I wanted a way to show that off using the sneakers we already owned. So I created the Kick Of The Day challenge specifically for this entire month.

Your community efforts do not go unnoticed, let’s talk about your journey and involvement in your community and what it means to you.

Thank you. I was raised in a very giving environment. I had everything I wanted and needed for most of my childhood and was always pushed to give back to others. I don’t believe in owning an excessive amount of things when I know someone in my community may need them. I’ve always given away shoes, to my friends, my family, church members and at shelters. Nice shoes, before they got beat up or too small. I just wanted everyone to have the cool things with me. That’s stayed with me into adulthood.

My mother had a coworker who’s kids needed shoes. I tweeted asking for 2-3 pairs and people banded together and sent boxes. From then, I would offer people shoes that I saw tweeting needed them. I’ve also created in person events with friends' brands to collect shoes. It just naturally became my thing and feels right. I’ve noticed life gives back everything that I put out and more. So I try to put out my best, and giving resources is part of that.

What can we expect from #BHMKOTD in the future?

I want to eventually have a museum dedicated to the Black History of sneakers. I’ll settle for an exhibit. From Magic Johnson’s deal, to Venus William’s and of course with Michael Jordan being at the top (for me). I would love to show off designs led by Black creatives through their tenure, and highlight the people creating their own history now. Because that’s what it’s all about, celebrating the now. The themes will get more fun of course and I plan to take it offline more and have events celebrating us in different areas. While still taking dope photos of our shoes along the way. Because it’s still #KOTD.

Why did you choose beSocial Houston as the location for hosting #BHMKOTD Live?

I currently live in Dallas, but am originally from Louisiana. I also lived in California for a good portion of life. I’m always repeating “The South Got Something To Say” because I believe we get overlooked often. With no major black sneaker hubs in Dallas at the moment, I wanted to remain in the south and utilize a Black brand that I know and trust. With that criteria it was pretty easy.

Join us for #BHMKOTD Live at beSocial Houston on 3.2 at 7PM to celebrate culture through sneakers in real life with games, food, and friends that remind us what community and culture is.

RSVP here.