Black Love Philly (Celebrating The Black Family) is the brainchild of two city artists who want to celebrate black culture, the arts and community members.
“For me, it means a beginning or a new start. I feel that a lot of people from the neighborhood where I come from gave up. They felt like there was no hope,” said co-founder J. Kinvez. “I feel like this is a new start for us, a new hope for us. It’s a point of us coming together in harmony, coming together in peace — no alcohol, no drugs, no violence.”
At the core of the event is self-love, said co-founder Amirah Jennah.
“This is a celebration. A celebration of who we are,” said Jennah. “This means acceptance of one’s self and our community. We’re trying to spread the love and self-awareness.”
Black Love Philly, which honors a community member at each of its events, on Sunday will honor Teon Lee-Bey who runs programs for children in North Philadelphia. While he no longer lives there, he returns to give back to the community.
Lee-Bey does not receive any funding, so he pays for all of the programs out of his own pocket. He runs basketball tournaments and teaches gardening to give the kids more opportunities than he had growing up.
Past events have featured artist with family connections. Sunday’s event will feature poet LadySarkazym and her son UFO Dom.
“A lot of families don’t stay together, so if we bring the community together then maybe the families will come closer and bond together,” said Jennah.
Black Love Philly (Celebrating The Black Family) begins at 6 p.m at The Collective Mic Art Gallery & Arts Cafe at 2066 Hunting Park Ave.
At Black Love Philly, “you’re coming and you’re having a good time, but you’re doing this while you’re celebrating yourself and you’re celebrating your people, all while you’re celebrating your community,” said Jennah.