The BLCK Family Dinner Recap

I had the opportunity to attend the BLCK Family's February Installment Dinner, last Sunday, at The Arc located in Opa Locka, Florida. The dinner, a collaboration with the Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation’s (OLCDC) and the Contemporary African Diaspora (CADA), gathered South Florida artists specializing in the contemporary art aesthetics known as AfroCool.

It was really one of the best evenings out that I've had in a while. The BLCK Family dinner was a melting pot of creatives: Local professionals and artists gathered together for a family style dinner and an intimate social experience.

The BLCK Family was birthed by local creatives: Najja Moon and Rashaud Michel. The two met in 2009 on a Bollywood film set. Since then, they have used their film production experience to create The BLCK Family Collective, a collection of creatives (artists and enthusiasts) committed to bringing people together to celebrate African Diaspora, through various artistic mediums. The group hosts dinners featuring a variety of international cuisines and cultural art forms.

The duo dreamed of creating a platform that promoted collaboration and allowed them to be themselves, freely doing what they love. They began exploring how art serves as a catalyst that awakens peoples as creative individuals. “We wanted to celebrate how art makes it easier to love, easier to build a community, and easier to strengthen the bond of family,” says Najja.

The two see the BLCK family as their “playground": A space where everyone involved can feel free to explore their creativity, a space that promotes and allows everyone to connect and build life long bonds and friendships that will continue outside of the four walls of the event.

You may ask: Who is the BLCK Family dinner for? Is it just a black thing? The answer is: No, not at all.  The ideal BLCK Family attendees are human beings; even more explicitly clarified by Rashaud as “humans that know how to use “please” and “thank you." So, yeah, all people are invited!

"You’re dope; the end!"

This mentality is what sets the BLCK Family Dinner apart from other events and installments going on in the city. There is no urgency or focus on gaining notoriety. It's simply a gathering of people: People who appreciate difference and thrive off creativity, People looking for something different.

The BLCK Dinner is more than just a dinner or an evening of fun. It is truly an experience; an opportunity to step away from the normal night out; a chance to plug in and network with other creatives from your city; a space to inspire and encourage people to connect. While food and art are central to the BLCK Family’s philosophy, the event focuses on fostering an environment where collaborations are initiated and connections made.

Below are some images captured by the talented Darryl Omar about my experience.

Ambiance

 Art

 Food
The amazing spread was prepared by Chef Cleophus Hethington, a Miami native whose credits include: The Cypress Room and The Yardbird, Miami Beach. Chef Ophus masterfully curated a menu featuring pone soufflé, black-eyed peas and risotto with oxtail ragu, and collard greens and roasted yam salad. Mhmm, really amazing!

Since I’ve given up meat for awhile, I decided, no to the oxtail and focused on the greens. My favorite dish was the collard greens and roasted yam salad. The mixture was unique, but delicious, nonetheless. The Pone soufflé, incredible!

Entertainment

   James Klynn  , a member of the BLCK Family collective, performed a song that I completely fell in love with. Well, come to find out, it was a collection of three different verses from three different songs that he spontaneously put together, titled “Does that make me crazy." The song was thought-provoking and cool. James is currently working on a new project projected to drop in the summer. So, look for that!

James Klynn, a member of the BLCK Family collective, performed a song that I completely fell in love with. Well, come to find out, it was a collection of three different verses from three different songs that he spontaneously put together, titled “Does that make me crazy." The song was thought-provoking and cool. James is currently working on a new project projected to drop in the summer. So, look for that!

   Sekajipo ,  another member of the family. Check out his IG and Youtube for new music!

Sekajipo, another member of the family. Check out his IG and Youtube for new music!

   E.L.E.M.E.N.T.S   (Epicly Levitating Every Mind's Eye Neatly Through Sound) The Band kept us entertained as we all vibed to renditions of Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers, "Bustin' Loose" and Kent Jones, "Don't Mind".

E.L.E.M.E.N.T.S (Epicly Levitating Every Mind's Eye Neatly Through Sound)
The Band kept us entertained as we all vibed to renditions of Chuck Brown and The Soul Searchers, "Bustin' Loose" and Kent Jones, "Don't Mind".

I encourage everyone to attend at least one dinner. Not only is there great food and amazing art, but-I promise-some amazing bonds and connections will be made. 

Their next event will in be in Brooklyn, New York on March 12th and 13th, at Studio 301, NCY; they will make another appearance in Miami on April 17th.

Also, check out The AfroCool exhibit running until March 15th, 2016, at The ARC, located at 675 Ali Baba Avenue, Opa-Locka, FL. It's free and open to the public; regular exhibition hours are 10 AM to 5 PM, Monday - Friday.

Special thanks to: Najja Moon and Rashaud Michel for inviting me to February’s dinner and also to Darryl Omar for capturing perfect moments. Follow the BLCK Family on Instagram, (@THEBLCKFamily). Stay connected with their happenings and future events; visit the website today www.theBLCKfamily.com. Tickets for the reception and dinner are limited and can be purchased at www.theBLCKfamily.com/whats-for-dinner. For more information, contact info@theBLCKfamily.com.

And as always, you can connect with me through The Gem Within , follow me on Instagram, (@TheGemWithin) or send me an email at Lauren@thegemwithin.com. I love connecting with both new and familiar faces! 

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Peace!