I mean, it’s just a pot-luck, right? Why is it such a big deal? And what exactly am I paying for if I have to bring my own food? Maybe I should sit this one out before this kitchen gets the best of me….
These were my thoughts as I slaved over the stove trying to prepare New Orleans-style dirty rice in my 150 degree apartment this weekend. While a few friends had co-signed the event as a must-do event during summer in Brooklyn, I wasn’t quite convinced this picnic was all it was cracked up to be.
Until I walked into the Concert Grove of Prospect Park and saw the ocean of beautiful people all decked in beautiful white attire (something about all-white makes everything feel hella fancy!) Groups of friends and families were busy setting up their respective tables with enough decor to make Martha Stewart jealous, with everything from champagne flutes and chargers to handmade floral centerpieces. I looked around and felt like I had died and gone to bougie heaven! I ran into a few friends on the way in, and after the customary hugs and directions to our section, they all had the same observation:
“There’s a lot of Black people here!”
It was a pleasant surprise as I had expected to be in the minority at a function like this. With my own neighborhood of Crown Heights reducing it’s melanin levels at startling rates, it was refreshing to be in my own backyard, at classy affair, surrounded by the diversity that makes Brooklyn so great. The dinner portion was accompanied by a live band, which did some great covers that kept the crowd grooving as the sun set. And after dusk, the DJ took it up a few notches, delighting all the 80s babies with classic tunes like “The Choice is Yours,” (Black Sheep) “Poison” (Bel Biv Devoe), and “Hypnotize” (Biggie). By the time he brought it back to 2015 and dropped “Turn Down For What” folks were standing on chairs, belting out the lyrics to every song, and had turned their dainty little napkins into hand flags that waved beneath the Brooklyn moon.
The best part of the evening was looking around and seeing the unified energy of such a diverse crowd. While we all wore the same color, beneath our white attire was 50 shades of happiness, with latte, cappuccino and espresso all singing the same ratchet song lyrics. This sort of event appeals to so many different cultures, and is exactly the type of gathering that Brooklyn needs to remain united through the growing pains of gentrification. The Brooklyn Pop Up Dinner is only in it’s 2nd year, but if this year was any indication of the need for this sort of event, it will be around for many years to come. See you next year!