Georgia native, Genese Jamilah arrived in New York City nearly eight years ago to pursue a career in communications. Now, she’s the Digital Production Manager for Ebony.com and the Editor-in-Chief of the I Don’t Do Clubs event blog, which is the go-to source for all things fun for young black professionals. This month, Jamilah launched the inaugural “Black-Owned Restaurant Month” in NYC with a Washington, DC edition coming up in November. PYNK sat down with the blogger to find out her inspiration to launch the site, the concept of the restaurant month, and how she balances her work and personal life. Get to know Genese below as she discusses her business endeavors and future goals.
Photo Credit(s): Beautifullybrown.co
What made you want to do the IDDC site?
I started IDDC after about four years of living here [New York City]. I never liked clubs and when I first moved here I never had any friends, which was weird for me considering I was always involved in school. So now I was the new kid in the city and it was mind blowing to me that I had to make friends. As the years went on, I made new friends and started to get invites to brunches and mixers and at the same time I started to read a book about blogging, not because I wanted to start one at the time, I just wanted to know how they worked. I started writing down notes and then that’s how I came up with the idea for IDDC.
What was the book you were reading?
Angel’s Laws of Blogging by the founder of the former entertainment website, ConcreteLoop.com
As a New York transplant what’s one part of the city that you enjoy the most about living here?
I like that there’s always something going to do here. I feel like if I was in the South I’d be married with kids now. Because I’m not, I feel like I’m never bored here because there is something for me to do.
What’s one thing you miss about the South?
I miss my car mostly and not having to pay for a cab to go everywhere. I miss my freedom of just hopping in the car and go.
What do you hope to achieve in launching the Black-Owned Restaurant Month?
I have always liked New York Restaurant Week. Every time it comes around I participate. In the spring, I started doing black-owned businesses for IDDC and from that I was thinking how could I build on this so it’s not just a list that you can go to but something more exciting and continuous. So I came up with the idea to do Black-Owned Restaurant Month. It’s Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday until September 30, with a $35 three course prix fixe dinner menu. Each restaurant has their own menu and their own mix of dinner and drinks and cocktails.
Some bloggers are self-employed, but you still have a full-time job with Ebony while managing the site and various events you coordinate. How do you manage a positive professional work/blog work/personal life?
I’m a very organized person and I’m a very focused person so I get up early. I go to the gym from 6 a.m.-7 a.m. I go back to my apartment and go straight to my computer for a few hours, doing both Ebony and IDDC work, then I come into the Ebony office and do work there until 6 p.m. I really do believe in office hours because if not you’ll go crazy. That’s why I don’t have IDDC emails on my phone. It’s about prioritizing and not being afraid to get up early. I need rest, I need to go to happy hours, I need to have a balance. It can be done to do it all, but you just have to be really focused.
Photos courtesy of BeautifullyBrown.com and idontdoclubs.com