(SPECIAL) We Out Here: A virtual Juneteenth celebration highlighting Black excellence.
Juneteenth 2020 holds a special meaning this year as Black people look to uplift each other and support one another in spite of the many injustices that continue to happen against us. The holiday also serves as an accountability check for what genuine support of Black businesses and institutions should look like. “We Out Here: A virtual Juneteenth celebration of Black excellence” showcased that message perfectly with a gathering of Black influencers/creatives/business owners to craft a virtual celebration that was actually worth staying in the house for!
With 9 events in mind , each was curated to give those celebrating this beautiful holiday plenty of ways to do so. Our team coverage shows the diversity and range in just how creative and forward thinking Black culture and influencing can be.
Yoga, Poems, and Sweat.
written by: Kiku Masu
This morning was quite the experience. I got to be apart of a few different wake up, get up, and feel great activities. Being someone who thoroughly enjoys a good stretch the yoga session was quite awesome. Led by Ms.Yasmin Griffins the class was not only easy-to-follow but felt great with her thorough instructions and modified positions for those who don’t really do yoga often. Her step by step guidance and positive energy could make even a beginner feel like a professional and for this I have to say thank you.
Feeling balanced, refreshed, and realigned moving on to the next segment of poetry with Ms. Francine Tamakloe was simply stimulating. Being a creative mind myself I can honestly say that Ms. Francine beautifully articulated not only how it feels to be a woman but also a woman of color. Her poems gave a great reminder that it’s okay to feel good in the skin we’re in.
Feeling uplifted and lighter than life itself it was time to turn up the heat with work out instructor, Ace Clark. What can I say? This man had any and everyone participating soaked. I don’t know about everyone else, but ya girl had sweat literally from every part of the body. I mean places we ain’t even gonna talk about, I probably could have filled a mini pool. His high energy and drive kept me going until the workout was completed. But man, I thought I was in shape but sheesh! Talk about ready to drop. When it was all said and done, I wanted to be under my bed but my body felt so good. I can honestly say I had a blast with the whole virtual experience and will be looking forward to the future events of We Out Here.
The Season of Self.
written by: Khadijah Dennis
We live in a society ruled by the questions,”what’s in it for me?” and “when will my time come?” We find ourselves constantly trying to figure out where our purpose and paths will cross so that the struggle no longer has to be real. As I get older, I realize that there’s nothing actually wrong with wanting to achieve the best possible outcome for your life, but we have to be willing to go deeper than surface level when it comes to our thoughts, our actions and our intentions.
Author, Event Planner and singer, Brittany Martin just released her new book, “The Season of Self,” which tackles these questions in the very first chapter. During her reading of the chapter, “The Come Up,” she becomes transparent about what her come up looks like, and the mindset behind how we get to our own.
“The come up for me was more peace and having more confidence in myself,” Brittany says. In that moment, she also acknowledges that even doing something like this event, and releasing her book would have been an unbelievable idea years ago.
Her transparency about her faith in God also plays a big role in the story she tells within her book. Continuing her reading, she asks, “How do you feel about your come up? Does it look like what you and God had discussed for your life in this season?”
Upon hearing the question, I had a gut check of my own. In my current season, I’m going through a lot of different changes, and trying to find the proper footing in my own transition. Sometimes, my frustration can over power the big idea. Is this what God wants for me? If it is, how can I change my attitude towards where I am to get to my destination?
Brittany allowed for participants to take time and ponder the question as well. Continuing on, she acknowledged that change doesn’t happen as quickly as anyone would like it to.
“We can write down what we want it to look like and map it all out to the very detail, but it’s what’s happening on the inside that’s going to help us maintain what’s going on on the outside.”
Each chapter of the book ends with a prayer and affirmation. Upon the closing of this chapter, she prays: “God, thank you for helping me define what the come up looks like for me through You… Teach me Your ways and forgive me when I feel fear towards the unknown.”
The accompanying affirmation reads: “I am the architect of my life. I build its foundation and choose its contents. Today is the day my story changes for the better.”
Brittany takes that story of finding your come up, and couples it with another important lesson on patience.
“Sometimes in life when we are on the journey, we’re just cruising, trying to make it to our destination, and then suddenly, something unknown and unforeseen comes and causes us to slow down.”
Brittany used this example of her having to learn patience with Atlanta’s never ending traffic. Her frustration on the extended time she thought it would take to get to her destination due to delays was a perfect example of how things can quickly change when we just choose to do the less desirable option and wait.While she thought of turning around, and finding another way, the 11 minute slow down she thought she would have to battle would soon disappear. But that didn’t stop other cars around her from actually turning around and trying to find a different route to their destination.
“God shows us that sometimes we try to take the path of the least resistance because it appears like we’re moving forward when we’re actually just wasting time,” Brittany says. “I challenge you all today to see if there’s any area of your life where you’re trying to take a detour and where God is trying to tell you to just pause and be patient and wait.”
“The Season of Self,” is available on Amazon and on Brittany’s website at http://brittanyciera.com/.
Pour it Up! A toast to Black Excellence
I would like to formally give it up for black people in 2020.
We faced a global pandemic on top of our regularly scheduled racism and still managed to pull off a virtual Juneteenth celebration! That’s black excellence at it’s finest.
For the section called “Poured Up”, the lovely Ashley Lampkin blessed us with some tasty cocktail recipes to make our turn up a festive one. As a bartender and the founder of The Perfect Mix, LLC, she’s mastered the art of getting lit. She started with the Jubilee Rum Punch. Now there’s only two rum punches I was familiar with prior to this broadcast: the ones made by our creative director, Kendall, and the ones from the Royal American, but I was blown away when she topped that thing with the ginger beer. I think I got tipsy just watching!
Next, she served up a delectable Mint Julep, which I also learned was created by black bartenders in Kentucky. You probably said the same thing I said. What the hell is a mint julep? Whatever it is, it got alcohol in it and she made it look like it was ordered from a five star restaurant.
She brought it home with a drink perfectly named the 1865, a black twist on the Bourbon Smash literally made with blackberries. All while being blackity black and playing Auntie jams in the kitchen. This was some of the most fun I’ve had from home just watching black people be happy during a time where our lives are publicly under attack again.
This event really reinforced the strength of my people by showing that even in being in a struggle within a struggle, we can still smile and celebrate ourselves.
We Gon’ Be Alright! A Word on Food and Fellowship
written by: Khadijah Dennis
Brandon Sullivan, of BJ Cooks did not come to play! Dressed to impress with the familiar ballad of Kendrick Lamar’s “We Gon Be Alright” at full blast in the kitchen, it was clear that we were in for a full meal and positive fellowship.
Brandon came immediately with the energy we needed to kick off the evening portion of the Juneteenth celebration. “We gon’ have a good time tonight, trust me!”
The featured meal was Jerk Chicken Pasta. Now, anyone who actually knows me KNOWS that I have an obsession with Jerk Chicken. Take me to any Caribbean restaurant and it’s the first thing I’ll inquire about. While I have an appreciation for all of the other delicious foods with Caribbean flare, I will admit that jerk chicken just reminds me so much of my hometown, Kingtree, SC and our fresh off the grill barbecue favorites.
To prepare for this feast, you needed chicken, of course, but Brandon also says this recipe will work with shrimp as well if you wanted to try another alternative. Penne pasta, or any pasta you prefer, peppers, onions, jerk seasoning, minced garlic, all purpose seasoning, heavy whipping cream (to make your own alfredo sauce), parmesean cheese, chicken stock or chicken broth, and parsley for the finishing touches.
Brandon carefully walks you step by step to make your Juneteenth meal. Starting with the prep of your chicken. While that marinates, you’re getting things going while you work on your flavorful sauce. After a few moments of preparing your noodles, and getting your mix on for your sauce, it’s time for that sizzle of your chicken.
What a plate! With the help of his step by step teachings, Brandon shows us what our final product should look like, and I don’t know about you, but this is about to be a regular new addition to my evenings!
Brandon doesn’t end the night without a note of seriousness. “Make sure you are registered to vote. Not just nationally, but on a local level. It’s critical, ya’ll.”
Black, I’m so Black, My Thoughts So BLACK.
It was a backyard barbecue, an island getaway, and church all in one.
It was so dope to attend one of the We Out Here, Juneteenth events from the comfort of my home. It was just another highlight of my Blackety Black Day.
I had just left a really dope Jazz show at a Black-Female owned spot, Chayz Lounge and the house band Rod Foster & Company did a tribute show to Andre Harell that played many Hip Hop and R&B classics, so I was already fired up.
After the show I came across a Black owned food truck that sold fish so while digging in my plate good I was able to jam to the mix DJ Scrib put on.
DJ Scrib gave us a good time. As I was twerking, rapping, and singing along to the jams I found myself loving the sets so much that I said “man if I ever get married Scrib spinning at the Wedding” .
I love how DJ Scrib brings so much needed joy and passion to his sets. He just knows how to move people. It’s his gift. Transitions are always smooth and he knows how to keep us on our toes with surprises. He can pull off mixing any genre of music and wow the crowd. He gave us R&B hits, Hip Hop vibes, and music for the ratchets like myself who like to twerk to nasty lyrics.
I am grateful that from start to finish I had a Blackety Black Ass Day and I ended my Juneteenth night on the vibes of DJ Scrib. In days of mourning and rage it’s people like Scrib that give us just another reason to keep on pushing.
When I think of how we came together for this set and watching the comments in real time I think of freedom. We were so free with each other , not worried about judgement of how we may look to each other. It was an unspoken comfort we shared.
The times have been very challenging as we are in a pandemic and THEE Revolution is amongst us. Deaths and Injustice that weigh on us everywhere we turn.
I’m reminded of the scripture “Weeping May endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning “ Psalm 30:5 .
As much as it is okay to cry, be angry, feel confused, it’s also okay for us to breathe and share joy. Black Joy Matters. Much love to DJ Scrib for creating an experience that we can cherish in these times
Whether or not you got to experience the entire event for yourself, or you were able to come in, and take what you could, this event was truly a grand display of Black excellence. A celebration of the many things we do so well and all of the talent we possess. We hope that today is the catalyst for how we must always celebrate, and truly love on ourselves no matter what.
You can catch a replay of each event on We Out Here Juneteenth’s Twitch channel:
Make sure you are following each host:
And don’t miss out on any of the updates from this platform. #WeOutHere
“With all of the most recent Black Lives Matter protests and movements in general, I think that it’s become more exceedingly important that we celebrate us even though it doesn’t feel like we’re being celebrated.” – Kayla Simone, visionary of #WeOutHereJuneteenth