The idea for Offbeat was born from Rollins' invitation to be a part of the Mississippi Black Leadership Institute (MBLI), which inspires, connects, and uplifts forward-thinking black professionals across multiple disciplines. "At the time, I worked at the ACLU as a Youth Justice Organizer, and all of my classmates [at the Institute] were doctors, lawyers, councilmen, and so on. I walk in, and they're like, 'Oh yeah, you're a DJ,'" Rollins laughs.
At the close of the Institute, members were tasked with creating a product that positively impacted the community. Whereas most of his peers went on to run for public office or start a practice, Phillip wanted his contribution to be more hands-on. To him, there wasn't a much better or more diverse gathering space than a local book and record shop that also acted as an art gallery for emerging minority artists.
At Offbeat, Rollins is broadening what constitutes art in the world of alternative culture, from vinyl and artwork to clothing, comics, Japanese toys, model builds, games, and more."
At one point, some of the only places you could get this kind of work would be in cities like New York, L.A., and Miami. I wanted to see if I could bring some of those things down here and inspire people, and also display our local talent," Rollins said.
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