Your information to the Black Pleasure Parade in Oakland this weekend

Your guide to the Black Joy Parade in Oakland this weekend

Black communities in the USA have skilled tragedy and trauma from the second we first landed on this earth. A lot in order that holding on to pleasure can generally really feel like attempting to maintain sand from slipping via your fingers. Particularly when contemplating the current tragedy of Tire Nichols, unhappiness can appear all-consuming and endless within the Black expertise.

The Black Pleasure Parade

Sunday, February 26 in downtown Oakland

The parade begins at 12:30 at 14th and Franklin streets.

The competition’s primary entrance is at nineteenth and Franklin.

Extra information right here.

In response to this, Black Pleasure is a subject that has gained momentum in recent times, and using the social media hashtag #BlackBoyJoy, which is gaining momentum in 2017, is an instance. Black pleasure can also be a subject that has introduced individuals collectively in Oakland: This Sunday, February 26, hundreds will collect downtown for the sixth annual Black Pleasure Parade, a trauma-free celebration of Blackness and Black tradition.

The competition’s founder, Elisha Greenwell, moved to the Bay Space in his early 20s. As a mixed-black one who grew up in a predominantly non-black neighborhood, she mentioned Oakland made her really feel excited and grounded in her blackness in a means she’s by no means skilled earlier than.

“Once I moved right here, I assumed, that is what it means to essentially love your identification and be pleased with it,” Greenwell mentioned. You recognize that feeling you get once you’re abruptly with individuals who perceive you, who discover pleasure in the identical stuff you do, and you’re feeling snug round them, and also you now not really feel remoted? I could not articulate it on the time, however now I’ve come to think about it as pleasure,

Black Pleasure Parade founder Elisha Greenwell. Photograph courtesy of Elisha Greenwell

On the time, the Trump presidency was in full swing, the #MeToo motion was on the rise, and Black Lives Matter was reaching one other peak. Within the midst of all of it, Greenwell realized that the one instances we, as black individuals, appeared to return collectively en masse was in response to shared ache. It wasn’t till she went to San Francisco Satisfaction and noticed one other marginalized neighborhood experiencing pleasure collectively that she knew she wished to arrange a parade for her neighborhood, the Black Pleasure Parade.

The preliminary assembly happened at Pink Bay, a black-owned espresso roaster in Oakland, with about 12 individuals. On the day of the 2018 inauguration parade, there have been hundreds of members, together with many households and youngsters. Quick ahead to 2023 and the occasion has turn out to be way more than only a parade; Black Pleasure Parade-themed small enterprise and native arts occasions now stretch via the month of February, culminating within the parade and a significant avenue competition in downtown Oakland. Final 12 months’s competition drew over 10,000 individuals from throughout the Bay Space.

A celebration of black communities, artists and entrepreneurs

Greenwell desires festival-goers to know that the Black Pleasure Parade is not only every other celebration, however a gathering to have a good time the great thing about the black diaspora and the enjoyment we maintain. Everyone seems to be welcome, she mentioned, so long as they arrive with that intention. True allies want a approach to actually help us, and they’d give it to them, she mentioned.

This 12 months the parade begins at 12:30 p.m. at Franklin and 14th streets and will final about two hours. Be at liberty to cease by for comfortable hour at one of many close by Black-owned bars and eating places, or try an open mic within the space (there might be many) because the parade heads to the principle competition entrance on nineteenth Road. Anticipate to see dance troupes, black cowboys, automobile golf equipment and extra.

McClymond’s Excessive Faculty cheer squad marches within the 2022 Black Pleasure Parade. Credit score: Amir Aziz

As soon as contained in the competition grounds, you may have loads of choices for leisure, together with two music levels, headlined by Parliament Funkadelic and George Clinton.

Additionally, you will discover loads of procuring alternatives and actions for youngsters and households. Considered one of them is Lil Pleasure, an area the place black kids can meet, play and make buddies. Additionally it is designed to present mother and father of black kids a chance to satisfy different mother and father they may not in any other case encounter of their neighborhood or college neighborhood. The exercise house hosts Black Toddler Well being, an Oakland-based group that additionally presents this 12 months’s Black Pleasure Parade.

Different activations at this 12 months’s Black Pleasure Parade embrace a Black Therapeutic Village with black therapeutic massage therapists, yoga instructors and a tea session; an outside curler skating space hosted by the Black Cultural Zone; Black Vines, a wine space with over a dozen black wine producers (you should purchase bottles or a single glass); Video games and Grooves, an space with card video games, domino tournaments and chess; and a Hennessy Hoops Lounge that is all about customized cocktails and basketball.

Many Black Pleasure distributors have East Bay ties

The competition’s market will function about 200 black distributors and artisans promoting and sharing every thing from shea butter and earrings to monetary wellness lessons and psychological well being companies. Many of those black entrepreneurs have shut ties to Oakland and the Bay Space. We spoke to a handful of them about their companies and why they’re excited to participate on this 12 months’s competition.

Jasmine Curtis, AVOCURL

Jasmine Curtis, founding father of AVOCURL. Photograph courtesy of Jasmine Curtis

Image this: It is your first 12 months on the bachelor’s diploma. You simply moved throughout the nation to go to highschool at Cornell. You are ready, you might be excited, and bamyour hair begins falling out in clumps. That is what occurred to Jasmine Curtis. After a while, she realized that this was because of the chilly and dry local weather of upstate New York, the onerous water (water with excessive mineral content material) and a scarcity of excellent hair merchandise. When she could not discover the merchandise she wanted to maintain her hair wholesome, she determined to make them herself. The end result was AVOCURL, a cruelty-free, non-toxic and 100% plant-based (and made in Oakland!) avocado hair product.

My rule is, if we will not put it inside our our bodies, then we should not put it on our our bodies, mentioned Curtis, who will take part within the Black Pleasure Parade as a vendor for the third time. Our pores and skin is our largest organ and every thing we placed on it has the potential to enter us.

Claudia Walker, HBCU Prep Faculty

HBCU Prep Faculty co-founder Claudia Walker. Credit score: Bryan Walker

Claudia Walker is an Oakland native, a Spelman graduate and an educator who constructed a enterprise after recognizing a necessity within the black neighborhood for larger publicity to traditionally black faculties and universities and monetary literacy training. After graduating from school, she labored for an funding financial institution on Wall Road, dealing with multi-million greenback accounts. However her coronary heart wasn’t within the work, and he or she finally moved again to California to show. Within the classroom, she noticed that almost all of her college students didn’t have the means or entry to find out about HBCUs. So she took it upon herself to launch the HBCU Prep Faculty in 2020.

This family-owned multimedia training model publishes kids’s books (The ABCs of HBCUs and The ABCs of Black Wall Road) and affords lessons, clothes and attire, puzzles and extra to lift consciousness amongst black kids about their choices for increased training and the right way to construct, spend and get monetary savings.

As for the Black Pleasure Parade, Walker has been at it because the starting. “I’ve actually been taking part because the first Black Pleasure Parade,” she smiled. After we have been simply standing in line on the road and there have been solely a handful of individuals. The parade was clearly not what it has turn out to be at this time, but it surely was actually thrilling. Yr two was utterly completely different from 12 months one. Yr one I went alone, however I’ve introduced my household since 12 months two. Final 12 months was the primary 12 months we participated as a vendor.

Imani M Glover, The Lemonade Bar

Since she was a baby, Imani at all times knew she had an entrepreneurial spirit. From braiding hair round age 8, to promoting popcorn balls in highschool (and promoting out in second interval), all over maturity and turning her sizzling canine cart right into a lemonade stand with the assistance of her husband, Imani has at all times wished to be herself chief. Lemonade occurred to be her path to success.

Glover’s lemonade flavors have grown in recognition throughout Oakland, and her components are regionally sourced in California, with a lot of the fruit sourced proper right here within the East Bay, comparable to her strawberries and peaches, which come from the Hayward Farmers Market. Glover considers herself a lemonade mixologist from her OG flavors (strawberry, mango and lavender) to her Black Pleasure Parade specialties like Black Gurl Rock (a specialty, with natural frozen lemonade) and Goodness Lemonade (with natural mint and watermelon ).

Glover first turned concerned with the Black Pleasure Parade as a vendor in 2022, however attended its launch in 2018. It was very nice to see all of the black individuals come collectively, simply have , comfortable time, with none drama and to see the parade, she mentioned. I beloved watching the track and dance performances. We had gone for just a few years as a household, simply to take pleasure in it, after which final 12 months we took the plunge and mentioned, Let’s be part of this!

Myesha and Mohammed Shuaibe, The Melanin Gang

Melanin Gang founders Myesha and Mohammed Shuaibe. Photograph courtesy of Myesha and Mohammed Shuaibe

Myesha and Mohammed Shuaibe created Melanin Gang in 2017 as a supply of illustration and inspiration for his or her younger kids, Soraiya, Salahuddin and Nuri. Each mother and father have been working in company jobs on the time, however realized that company life was not what they wished. They knew they’d the drive and potential to start out a enterprise, however they did not know what that enterprise can be till they’d their son. The corporate began as a clothes model after which grew to incorporate kids’s books, stickers and extra, all centered round a mission to encourage, have a good time and empower black individuals.

The couple’s core values ​​are mirrored of their ABC Affirmation Ebook, which was launched in 2020. On the time, Soraiya, their oldest daughter, navigated identification points surrounding her hair and different challenges of being a black lady in a principally non-black college system. Sharing constructive affirmations about their character, their seems to be, and their limitless potential was a observe they wished to instill of their kids, which in flip impressed the e-book.

This would be the third 12 months the household enterprise has participated within the Black Pleasure Parade. The primary 12 months gave us the arrogance to know that one thing huge was actually at stake [regarding our business], Mohammad mentioned. The love we obtained that day, everybody from the distributors to the neighborhood, every thing instructed us we did the best factor by quitting our jobs [and committing to our business full time].

Jasmine McGee, Coco Coalition

From left: Coco Coalition co-founders Jasmine McGee, Mimo Haile Smith, Tiffany Wright. Credit score: Lance Carr

The Coco Coalition started as a ardour mission known as the Black and Lovely Girls’s Brunch in Oakland in 2015. The gathering was created by three buddies in response to the 2015 homicide of Sandra Bland in Waller County, Texas. Jasmine McGee and the opposite two co-founders (or Coco- founders, as I now prefer to name them), Tiffany Wright and Mimo Haile-Smith, noticed that black girls wanted their very own house to grieve and collect, and the Black and Lovely brunch was born. The occasion acquired a global response from black girls elsewhere who noticed the necessity for comparable areas, and shortly the trio traveled to Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, Atlanta, Accra (Ghana) and Johannesburg (South Africa). The conversations spurred from these brunches confirmed the founders that they wanted to do extra, resulting in the formation of their nonprofit, the Coco Coalition.

Greenwell, the founding father of Black Pleasure Parade, reached out to McGee and the opposite co-founders to get them concerned when she heard about their need to broaden.

When the Black and Lovely Girls’s brunch was a busy factor in Oakland, she requested if we might come and do a brunch, McGee recalled. We did a collaborative brunch [with the Black Joy Parade] at Oakland Tavern in 2018 and it was great. Then we made a pivot to do much less brunchy stuff and extra service stuff, and that is the primary 12 months that got here again with a sales space and might be out there to the neighborhood.

You should definitely cease by the Coco Coalition sales space on Sunday to be taught extra in regards to the group’s actions and choices, which embrace tutorial scholarships for college students within the arts, neighborhood engagement and psychological well being. You may also be taught extra in regards to the grants and upcoming occasions and conferences on their web site.