The Blossom Block Festival took place Saturday, April 16, 2022, it was a great marker for the Southside of Washington D.C. The festival was a unifying gesture created as Pyrate quotes on his Instagram page, “We run @fleadc as a part of Blossom Block Fest. A new OFFICIAL addition to @cherryblossfest”, curated for the Southside by the designer and painter himself, Chris Pyrate.
Pyrate sided with powerful partnerships of the community like Congress Heights Art and Cultural Center, Kayemjay6, Destination Congress Heights, The Museum, LeGreg Harrison, Ronald Moten, and Don’t Mute DC.
The cherishable cherry blossom is not only known to represent the relationship between The United States and Japan. The blossom in its own right represents pleasantness, goodness, the sweetness of life, and a powerful fortune that can be worth living. With those properties, it makes perfect sense to bring that energy to the Southside of D.C.
The new destination event was held at Parcel 15 on the East campus of St. Elizabeth. While walking in the Blossom Block festival I immediately saw a beautiful cherry blossom mural painted by Chris Pyrate along the brick walls. Classic hits by DJ 5 ‘9 filled the atmosphere while the Kid Zone, curated by Keyonna Jones entertained most children getting their faces plastered with superheroes and butterflies while other children painted hand-crafted portraits by artists on the Blossom Festival staff.
Nevertheless, an open market emerged amongst the community effort which supports the D.C Native demographic. D.C’s millennials are now changing the structures of commerce and opening up to new ways of true financial freedom by becoming entrepreneurs, learning and teaching financial literacy as well as hosting events that serve the community and anyone in the Washington, DC area.
The event was hosted by Ronald Moten who says, “The Block Blossom Festival was good and it needs to happen more often so people will know it is there and create more commerce for our people. Not only that it was something where people can come out and socialize in intergenerational networking.”
Intergenerational networking brings new brands like Update by Denae Harrison, a 17- year upcoming high school graduate who had the opportunity as a new entrepreneur to be amongst master urban wear lines of the city and influencers that could potentially teach, stimulate and help further her business opportunities. “It’s imperative that we have spaces where all generations can interact. Although I’m finding my space as a teacher, I’m always a student. Of course, there’s always something we can learn from an elder, but in the duality of the relationship, there’s plenty they can learn from us too. Creating spaces like the one we created helps the awkwardness settle – the environment reminds us of our connection and legacy”, Keyonna Jones states.
Developing consistent open markets for the Southside of D.C allow curators to connect directly with entrepreneurs of the community in order to create innovative opportunities of economic stimulation and support that circulate directly back into the community.
The greatest advantage for entrepreneurs participating in open markets is the relaxation of regulations which presents a neutral ground for thriving businesses that may be looking for more community interaction or a developing businesses looking for outlets of distribution to sell their products.
Either way, as Moten states, “Anytime black people support black people is good because we never keep money in our community. So it’s a benefit because we are teaching financial structure to our community”, and he is right! It is a benefit but as traditional jobs fade out, ownership will flow within which brings us to the importance of money circulation.
According to Greenwood Bank, it has been studied to find that “blacks have $1trillion gross national income, only 2% percent is reinvested into black communities.”
As we continue to thrive in creating open market opportunities, we must remember to support our own community with the intention of creating economic growth which will then become economic buying power that nurtures and provide for our future generations.