A crowd gathered for a pleasant event at Smartmouth Brewing Company in Norfolk on the newly announced national holiday, Juneteenth. The block party had a lot of special people in attendance putting their craft and talents on display. It had live performances from Lex Lucent, Koren Grace, 1Pump, Cam Murdoch, Dariel Clark, Kyere Laflare & Friends, and Big Torrin’s Fusion Groove. The artists put on energetic and passionate performances that flowed throughout the crowd.
Jarrell Williams, also known as Nomarama also help put together a lineup of black-owned businesses such as Bar-Q, Crop Circle Gourmet, FOOL Catering, Umami Dogs and Shake It Up Shakes. Nomarama spoke on the importance of food and culture on a day like Juneteenth. He said “It’s our culture, it’s everyone’s culture. As far as creativity is concerned, we’ve all been here. We all live in Norfolk and for people to say they’re learning about all of these new businesses..’No, you haven’t been checking for us. We’ve been here, so it’s important for everyone to recognize the power of our culture as black people. He also stated on the power of how food brings people together, he stated “I’ve had the craziest conversations over a plate of food. We all have differences, we have different religions, but we all have to eat. But we can connect over food and that’s the bottom line”.
Bar-Q owner Jayme Campbell also expressed how he felt about the event. Campbell said, “I get a way to express my heritage and culture by serving food from that I learned from grandmother.”
Utopia Feni also had an art market that featured Curlydaze, Popscure, Rain Spann, Polished Concrete, Jades Temple, Art By Benji, La Lolita Vintage, and Alyssa Pickens. All of these brands had special vintage and original pieces and displayed their talents for the City of Norfolk. Brands such as Polished Concrete even had a special cause, with all of their proceeds going to the benefit of Alzheimers patients and caregivers.
In conclusion, Smartmouth Beer also donated $1 for every draft sold and all sales of Black is Beautiful benefits the Urban League of Hampton Roads and Teens with a purpose.