What do one thousand entrepreneurs, revolutionaries, artists, and creatives have in common? Love…
…black love to be precise.
Just four days after Valentine’s Day, melanin-abundant bodies came together on Saturday, February 18th at the Anacostia Arts Center in Washington, DC to celebrate, create, and connect. This year’s fourth edition of The Black Love Experience was a night like no other. Hosted by Nubian Hueman every year at the juxtaposition of black history month and lovers’ day, this year’s the Black Love Experience was a night promoting black business, wellness, visual artists, musicians, and so much more . Not only was the night a chill get together, it was also a time of healing and rest from recent events (e.g. madness). Given the current sociopolitical environment (regardless of which side of the issues you find yourself), everyone in the building needed a safe space where it was possible to connect, create, and recharge for the weeks and months ahead.
“We need to be weapons of mass construction, weapons of mass love. It’s not enough to just change the system. We need to change ourselves.” – Assata Shakur
One of the highlights of February 18th for me was the various expressions of natural hair in her full glory.
As an avid naturalista, I appreciate and celebrate the beauty and diversity of Afro-textured hair like my own, as shown here and here. During the Black Love Experience Shani Crowe’s live hair braiding session of a local Nigerian-American model’s, Tobore Oweh, natural afro gave us all life (in Issa Rae’s voice)!
Shani is an interdisciplinary artist who uses hair braiding and other art mediums to portray the profound beauty that black women possess and inspire people to be proud of themselves and their culture. She recently styled Solange.
“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.” – James Baldwin
Another one of my personal favorites from the Black Love Experience was Hairpiq, commonly referred to as Pinterest for natural hair. This local Black-owned startup is the intersection of technology and beauty. The Hairpiq station allowed participants to search for natural hairstyles online and even share their own hairstyles via their personal Instagram accounts.
Although yesterday was the official last day of Black History Month (the shortest month of the year!), the spirit lives on and our history continues to be written. The Black Love Experience ensures that the essence of this past month lives on throughout the year via our online community. Check out #BlackLoveDC across social media platforms to relive the night and/or catch what you missed.
Yep, that’s right. Always and forever. So please remember to interact with the Black Love Experience on Instagram and Facebook to get some of that good good. After last night’s not so state of the union, trust me you’ll need all the TLC, empowerment, and community that you can get.
“I am what time, circumstance, and history have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all.” – James Baldwin