In celebration of Black History Month, The LP launched three community events alongside local stakeholders and businesses in Bed-Stuy. The events, which are a few of many in our ongoing Liberation Series, featured the voices of artists and community leaders whose work has made impacts across Black history, art, identity, business, and social justice.
All of the events are in alignment with The LP’s mission and values and developed around one of three themes: Build Community, Make Art, or Create Change.
Read on to learn more about our three events: Dolls and Locs: Crafting Beauty from the Center (Make Art), Real Talk: Trivia for Us x The LP (Build Community), and Social Brunch with the United Order of Tents (Create Change).
Dolls and Locs: Crafting Beauty from the Center
At Dolls and Locs, local artist Shaquora R’ Bey led a doll making workshop where participants were able to make, style, and accessorize dolls in community. We partnered with the Brooklyn Public Library’s Macon Library to host this event—an ideal partner because the Macon Library connects the rich collections of the African American Heritage Center to artmaking through its archives.
Drawing upon her dual expertise as a loctician and doll maker, Shaquora guided attendees in the use of craft as an interactive medium for reflection on Black hair, beauty, and identity. Attendees could take home their creations, and had the opportunity to peruse the curated selection of books and cultural resources that the Macon Library provided. For Dolls and Locs, the Macon Library staff curated a collection of books that highlight themes of Black hair, natural beauty, and doll making. Find the curated book list here or visit Macon Library to dig in!
You can also print Shaquora’s designs from the event workbook here!
Shaquora R’ Bey is a multidimensional artist, doll maker, soft sculptor, textile artisan, professional loctician and the owner of Sophisticated Locs Salon (328 Lewis Ave., Brooklyn). Her work encompasses a wide range of media including textiles, crotchet, beads, and unique hair designs. She has been commissioned to make sculptures and dolls for television and films, and she believes in the healing process of using craft as therapy and in using art to raise self-esteem and awareness.
Support Shaquora’s Work
Brooklyn Public Library’s Macon Branch Library (361 Lewis Ave., Brooklyn) was opened in 1907 and is one of the best preserved Carnegie branches in Brooklyn. The Dionne Mack-Harvin Center, Macon Library’s African American Heritage Center, contains material on African American history and culture as well as the “Preserving Footsteps” collection. A landmark in the heart of a richly historic neighborhood, Macon Library is primed to continue serving patrons for many years to come.
Support Macon Library
Real Talk: Trivia for Us x The LP
Our community came with the knowledge to our Real Talk event with Trivia for Us—a Black-owned, women-owned, and Brooklyn-based small business led by Deydra Bringas and Shakira Hodges. The duo curates fun multicultural experiences through customized trivia games and they delivered with a trivia competition focused on Black history, art, and culture with specific attention to BedStuy.
The night was filled with good conversation, laughter, and a special prize for the winners: gift cards to Peace & Riot, Doc’s Cake Shop, and Brooklyn Tea, as well as a Laundromat Project tote bag. Congratulations to Trisha Louison, “M”, and Katiana Toppin for taking home first, second and third place, respectively!
Trivia For Us was founded by Deydra Bringas and Shakira Hodges. As founders, these long-time high school friends and HBCU grads, Deydra Bringas and Shakira Hodges are curating inclusive trivia experiences after attending trivia games in their gentrified hometown of Brooklyn, NY left them feeling excluded and isolated. It was at that moment Deydra and Shakira saw an opportunity to change the game.
In a space that lacks diversity, their originally sourced questions are inclusive and are a direct reflection of their diverse experiences. Which is highlighted in their newest addition to the brand with the Trivia For Us card game “A Mind Game for the Culture”. Bringing the experience into everyone’s home and corporate offices.
Support Trivia For Us’ Work
Social Brunch with the United Order of Tents
We teamed up with Greedi Vegan to introduce and connect local residents to members of The United Order of Tents Eastern District #3—one of the oldest Black women’s benevolent societies in the US. With the gracious support of our restaurant partner, 10% of the brunch proceeds will be donated to the Tents’ fundraising campaign in service of their efforts to preserve their historic headquarters at 87 MacDonough Street.
Event attendees were able to learn about the rich legacy of The United Order of Tents, and our own Director of Programs Catherine Mbali Green-Johnson learned of her own family’s ties to the organization!
She shared, “In the process of curating our Create Change event, our team carefully planned for a deeply meaningful activation that would touch many members of our community. the feedback we received from those who attended truly resonated on our intention in many ways, however, I never imagined how personally I myself would be tied to this event. My mother Sarah Jones drove all the way from her home of Dover, DE to support our program on her way to attending an annual community event entitled “The MAAFA” which is itself a deep reflection on the African American experience.”
“The day after we jumped on our daily call, and I naturally asked for her feedback of the event. She shared how proud and deeply moved she was by what she learned about UOT and that all of the women in our maternal line going back to my Great Grandmother Josephine Slade were also members of the Tents in Southport, NC! She shared that she herself was a junior Tent when growing up and that it was a well-known collective of women in the South, however, she did NOT know how and why it came to be founded. This event not only enlightened her on the history of the organization, it gave a deeper understanding of our families legacy in the liberation of our people. For me, I now get to pass on this rich knowledge to my children so that they have an understanding of the shoulders on which they stand.”
While attendees met members of this historic organization and enjoyed delicious dishes like bread pudding French toast topped with rum sauce and fruit compote, a talented group of musicians set the tone. We’re grateful to Aaron Ni’Jai, Malika Esdelle, Ajani NaNaBuluku, Da’jon, and Greedi Vegan for a fulfilling sensory experience!
The United Order of Tents Eastern District #3 is a Black women’s fraternal order located in Brooklyn, NY. Established in the 19th century, The United Order of Tents served the cause of abolition, originally providing aid to those escaping slavery via the Underground Railroad. As an early mutual aid society, they also provided food, shelter, clothing, nursing care, and proper burial to those in need. Now, their current mission is to solve local issues and serve their community, especially elderly neighbors, through the bonds of sisterhood.
Support The United Order of Tent’s Legacy
Greedi Vegan is focused on providing delicious and nutritious vegan comfort food for the community. Owner and Brooklyn native Latisha Daring spent 26 years working in fashion, but was inspired to launch Greedi Vegan after she’d grown frustrated with the lack of diversity and flavor profiles available in Brooklyn. Daring decided that her years of experience in customer service and her passion for food would pair well in providing an experience that was desperately needed in the borough – and she was right!
Support Greedi Vegan’s Business
We had an incredible time at our Black History Month events and hope all our attendees did, too! The Liberation Series continues—we’ll be partnering with local artists, cultural producers, community members, stakeholders, local business owners, and community-based organizations in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn for the rest of 2023.
About the Liberation Series
Throughout 2023, The Laundromat Project will be hosting our Liberation Series programs: curated community activities focused on the collective power of cultural organizing for change. Each event is a partnership with local artists, cultural producers, community members, stakeholders, local business owners, and community-based organizations in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
We’re hosting these events in alignment with The LP’s mission and values, so all events will be developed around one of three themes: Build Community. Make Art. Create Change.
Join us for future Liberation Series events, and continue to learn more about The LP’s work in our new home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, as well as our many celebrated neighbors and change makers.
Support The Laundromat Project
If you are interested in supporting future programming like this and other LP initiatives, we invite you to join our Catalyst Circle—a dynamic group of change makers who believe in the power of creativity to create change. Starting at $5 a month, the Catalysts provide sustained support. Learn more.