For many Black Americans, spades has always been the ultimate rite of passage. Many of us were raised in households where we grew up watching our parents, aunts, uncles, (and even grandparents) talking trash at the spades table and we couldn’t wait till we were old enough to play.
As the years passed, some of us were blessed to have friends or family that took the time to make sure that we learned, while others fell by the wayside. When this happened, it would forever divide us into two segments. Those of us that know how to play spades, and those of us that don’t.
No matter where you fall on the spectrum of “Blackness” (between people that can play and those who can’t) there is 100% agreement when it comes to how important spades is to the culture. This is where Blvck Spades comes in.
Understanding how important spades is to the black community, and realizing how many people there are out there that didn’t know how to play, I decided to do something about it! The very first issue that I wanted to address was the court. I couldn’t believe after the game had been passed down for so many generations, that we were still playing with cards that didn’t look like us. For spades to be so important to our culture, it just didn’t make sense to us that there wasn’t a deck that reflected the people that were playing it.
The second issue that I wanted to address was the fact that there were so many people that still didn’t know how to play. I realized that I could solve this issue by simply labeling the deck. I figured that labeling the deck would make it easier for people to learn the rules, and make it less likely that they would renege (and be shamed or completely disowned by their partner).
After labeling the deck, I realized that I had not only made it easier for people to learn to play, but it settled 2 MAJOR debates in the spades community:
1. Which joker is the Big Joker!?
2. What rules are we using?
After months of research, designing, redesigning, and trips to Egypt and China, my vision for Blvck Spades was a reality. I hope that each of you feel the same level of pride in owning a deck that I felt in creating it!