Today we’d like to introduce you to Akil Hutchins.
Hi Akil, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’m from St. Louis, MO; born and raised attending an overwhelming Black district for the better part of my life. After graduating high school, I decided to attend the Missouri University of Science & Technology.
I did this for a number of reasons like the need to be exposed to cultural differences which were unlike mine and finding comfort while being uncomfortable.
A campus that was full of engineers and “high achievers” who looked or acted nothing like me. This was my chance of getting a glance into a microcosm of corporate life and what I would eventually be challenged with.
While in college, through organizational work I was able to develop a knack for event programming, organizing teams, and being able to market events to different audiences. One of my biggest and most consistent opportunities was through my fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc the Epsilon Psi chapter. We hosted an annual fundraising dance (Xplosion) competition with accompanying events that at one point became the biggest collegiate Black event in the state of Missouri.
This ignited a passion of mine to bring individuals together for not only amazing experiences but also tying in a purpose other than self-gratifying fun. After graduation, I was able to move to Columbia, MO after taking a position in the area. I started up Dollar & A Dream, LLC. A company dedicated to throwing safe, culturally forward events that brought people together for a purpose!
Events included community outreach, school drives, brunches, networking nights, paint parties, holiday celebrations, etc. I’ve hosted events in St. Louis, Columbia, and Kansas City. As I worked full-time as a professional and continued my entrepreneurship journey I still was engaged with organizational work as a key piece of Kansas City Greek Picnic.
Kids, Community, Growing Prosperity is a non-profit with the mission of providing mentorship and resources for Kansas City’s urban youth to accomplish their goals and strive to make their dreams come true.
We host an annual fundraiser KC Greek Picnic in which we invite Black Greek Letter Organizations out from all over the region to Kansas City and to Swope Park for a day of strolling, competitions, music, vendors, health screenings, and networking. We host our 10th annual picnic this year Saturday, July 23. Over the years of hosting and organizing this event, I’ve been introduced to valued members of the Kansas City community.
I started working with Black Excellence Kansas City as an executive member in 2021 to help facilitate events for the organization. I believe in this organization so strongly because they are what I envisioned when I formed Dollar & A Dream. An organization not only dedicated to bringing amazing experiences to the black experience but also to developing talent professionally and collaborating with other standing organizations to accomplish complex goals.
My ultimate goal is to push our communities to engage with one another through collaboration and sharing of resources so we can positively impact our future and our present.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Some of the challenges are being in areas where there isn’t a lot of support for the black community to network or find one another.
Generally, in larger cities, it’s easier to find your tribe but in cities that are less concentrated with your target audience, it is harder to reach them.
This is compounded by the fact that Kansas City is a transplant city. Individuals who get jobs or promotions are moved here and might find it difficult to find their comfort zone because it is hard connecting to our culture.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Specialize in event planning and hosting.
The item that sets me apart is my branding; I encourage people to find balance in their life. I push people to have sophisticated tastes but to not be afraid of being ratchet. Ratchet stems from the word wretched or bad, and in black culture has a connotation of grunge-like behavior.
I’m extremely proud that BXKC (Black Excellence Kansas City) is leading the charge in collaboration with other organizations in the area to help promote diversity and exposure to black culture and black professional development and retainment.
If someone has heard of me they might have been to one of my events. Could be the Dance Xplosion in Rolla, KC Greek Picnic, or any number of the events I have done over my 14+ years of event planning and programming.
How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
You can follow me and the organizations that I support.
Instagram: @A_Kil0 (Personal), @CorporateHoodrat (Business), @BX_KC (Black Excellence KC), @KCGreekPicnic (Kids Community Growing Prosperity)
Any sponsorship or collaborative opportunities can email at email@example.com.