Since 2016, District Motherhued, a DC-based nonprofit organization has engaged, empowered, equipped, and most importantly, championed Black mothers, providing unique in-person and virtual opportunities for moms to connect regionally and nationally. Founded by Nikki Osei-Barrett and Simona Noce Wright, the organization was originally created to foster community for fifty Black, millennial moms in the DMV area. Today, the influential mom community is composed of over twenty-two thousand millennial BIPOC moms nationwide. 

The brand's biggest event is their annual, nationally-acclaimed The Momference event. As the nation's premiere, full-scale conference specifically for Black moms, the annual event is a weekend full of building connections, riveting main stage conversations, tracks and hands on workshops addressing topics including breaking generational curses, traditions passed down, financial literacy, estate building, entrepreneurship, maternal health and more. This year’s “Legacy” themed conference, during the weekend of May 20 – 22nd, will focus on "solidifying our past and securing our futures" and feature a keynote speech from singer Kelly Rowland. 

The founders with panelists Julee Wilson and Kahlanna Barfield Brown at the 2018 conference. Image courtesy of: Iris Mannings Photography

In addition to fostering community, District Motherhued® has also become a social organization turned 501(C)(3) non-profit. Recent philanthropic efforts include the Hurricane Harvey Giveback,  Kassandra's Donation and Diaper Brigade, The Distance Learning Support Box, March of Dimes NICU KIts and The Christmas Project.

Ahead of their big event, the Motherhued founders chat with EBONY to discuss their journey to creating their impactful organization and what drives them to provide selfless service positively positioning Black motherhood.

EBONY: What inspired you to start this conference? 

Nikki Osei-Barrett and Simona Noce Wright: Back in 2016, we would host regular events for local, Black moms residing in DC, MD, VA, and we’d receive so much positive feedback from moms in other cities and states asking us to bring our unique gatherings to them. At the time, it was just the two of us producing these events, so we knew we couldn't travel with the concept. Then we had the grand idea to create The Momference - a full-day experience where moms could meet and mingle, shop Black-owned, mom-owned brands, receive complimentary micro-pampering services, enjoy activations and hear candidly from a celebrity keynote, influencers, and experts about any and every topic as it relates to Black motherhood. We knew we'd need a team to execute such a huge undertaking, so we put out a feeler on social media to join our “Mom Squad” planning committee. God sent us a team of 25 incredibly selfless, talented, professional, Black mothers to cultivate our vision. The Momference debuted May 2018, and the lives of hundreds of moms have since been forever changed.

Why are events like this so necessary for Black mothers? 

It’s important for Black mothers to have a space to celebrate our unique motherhood perspectives, and The Momference provides an unparalleled opportunity for like-minded moms to gather, fellowship, cry,  learn and laugh together. The Momference is also a platform that positively reflects Blacks motherhood, which is important for brands and the masses to see. While we face distinct struggles as Black mothers and have maternal mortality health statistics to combat, we also experience immense joy, success and prosperity, and have so much pride in who we are and how we show up in the world; our #BlackMomMagic is on full display.  

Prior to 2016, brands discounted the influence of and economic contributions from Black (millennial) mothers, and through District Motherhued and The Momference, large brands and corporations now see the value in our demographic and are marketing goods, products and services accordingly. In addition, The Momference “Mommy Market” has served as a springboard for several small, mom-owned businesses that are now on track to become household names.

What is the biggest struggle that you hear from women who attend the conference?

The everyday struggles we hear from The Momference attendees range from finding that ever elusive work and life balance (especially amidst a global pandemic), regaining your sexy post baby, the difficulties that come with raising special needs children, learning to accept help when offered, and recovering from generational traumas, to name a few.

"Motherhued" isn't one size fits all; our journeys are so different but we all have a common goal - to raise happy, healthy and whole children, enjoy motherhood, and leave a beautiful legacy behind. We’re honored to do this work of community building at micro and macro levels, and love to see that it has inspired the creation of similar communities that focus on nurturing Black mothers because we need it the most.

How do you want attendees to feel and leave with after the event is done?

That after The Momference glow is indescribable, honestly! It lingers for weeks post event. Moms leave our conference not only with tangible information and resources to enhance their motherhood journeys, but also with a newfound sisterhood in motherhood. Attendees from across the nation fly into DC for this one-of-a-kind experience, and meet moms from all walks of life that become sisters despite geographical location. We’ve seen mom tribes form, where the woman that sat beside you at the conference is now a bridesmaid at your wedding or an international travel partner. We reiterate that you’re not meant to mother alone; we cannot stress community enough, and guarantee that if you attend the conference by yourself, you won’t leave as you came.