19 Mar 2019 Black Love Experience: Curator Notes
This year marks the 6th Annual Black Love Experience and as we gear up for what promises to be our biggest yet, I wanted to take a moment and share my thoughts on this year’s theme and direction.
In thinking about where we are as a community, I was drawn to the aesthetics of organic chemistry equations because it reminded me how connected and harmonious we can be as a community. I was also thinking about what feels like a constant pushing of Black people to the edges of society and our resistance to being erased. This is what I pitched and it resonated with the team, so here we are.
One of the important things to note is that we are in a much bigger space! This year’s Experience will be taking place at THEARC in SE Washington, DC. With more room, in mind I have pulled together a wide variety of Black creatives, artists and healers in what I hope will be a memorable night that inspires and imprints on all who partake.
We begin with a performance art piece curated by Niama Safia Sandy. The Circle of Trust is piece that centers itself in healing and reconciliation. Featuring Maps Glover, Holly Bass and Donnie Most, this piece will officially open the event and be repeated again later in the evening in the main lobby area of THEARC.
As usual there will be some major conversations taking place. We start off with True Story: I am Black + Immigrant. Moderated by immigration lawyer and music artist Loide Jorge, the panel will get into the discrimination and plight of undocumented Black immigrants face on a regular basis, and will feature artist Mannywellz, Patrice Lawrence of Undocublack and writer Lauryn Fanguen. The second conversation later in the evening is a powerhouse panel of women-led brands. Branding Black will feature Dr. Yaba Blay aka Professional Black Girl, Jannah Handy and Kiyanna Stewart of Blk Mkt Vintage, Angela Anderson of The Spice Suite, Tahiirah Habibi of The Hue Society and the incomparable Jaymla Bennu of Oyin Handmade. Panelists will reflect on their mission and their experiences as Black brands and what they see as the challenge and joys of making it happen. Raymar Hampshire of Generation Titans will serve as moderator. In addition to conversations, the slated workshops feature some new facilitators presenting at BLE for the first time.
Angela Elizabeth, MS, CHHP, owner of Goddess Body will take female attendees through a workshop that highlights holistic and plant-based alternatives for womb health, sexual health and more. Another new-to-BLE facilitator is Esosa E., MS aka The Raw Girl. She will be offering tips and suggested protocols for how to bettter manage healthe and well being from a nutritional perspective. Long-time BLE facilitator, Amtchat Edwards returns to balance out the energy with the return of his Yang Builders session that focuses on harnessing dynamic yang (male) energy. He will also be leading two brand new sessions on platonic touch that I am really excited about. Studies show that touch is important to our overall well-being and that when it comes to the Black community, we could stand to have more touch interaction. This workshop will repeat twice, so that we can get as many people involved, so set aside some time to head upstairs. You will also want to make sure you head upstairs to experience the newly added wellness lounge, the Spirit Oasis.
Last year, we did a meditation session at the end of the night and it was well received, so it felt right to make use of the additional space this way. From 7pm-10:45pm, we will have massage therapists, spiritual readers and hair sprinkles happening for a small additional fee. There will also be a meditation room next door with aromatherapy and floor pillows to boot! After the lounge shuts down, we will be prepare for our final workshop of the evening, Tantric Energy Immersion led by Emmanuael Taylor. The workshop will demystify the art of tantra and teach attendees basic breathing exercises associated with the practice.
There is a great deal happening, so please make sure to visit the BLE site for more information and location details. See you Saturday!