Building a Black Nation, One Post at a Time


January 2016

#OurLivesMatter: One Year Later

If there’s any doubt that District youth want to quell violence in their community and boost civic engagement among their peers, young people at a local recreation center are slowly but surely laying those concerns to rest, all the while sharpening their leadership skills.

Since launching the #OurLivesMatter campaign at the FBR Branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington more than a year ago, this special group of students has engaged 600 middle and high schoolers in discussions about systemic inequality, cultural heritage, conflict resolution, and other topics. With the guidance of adult leaders, they act as ambassadors to the movement by spreading the word about their efforts and participating in intergenerational gatherings.

“I had the skills but didn’t know what to do with them until I came to the Boys & Girls Club,” Jazmine Jones, a student at Kipp DC College Preparatory in Northeast and “Our Lives Matter” representative, told AllEyesOnDC. As director of community service for Keystone, the Boys & Girls Club’s premier leadership program, Jazmine organizes citywide service trips. She said that since assuming this role, her confidence has boosted and she’s thinking more about what the future holds.

“I’m learning how to raise funds and plan events,” Jazmine, a Southeast resident, said. “[In the future], I see myself getting my mentoring program off of the ground. I want to get this message out to [students in] my school. Right now, I don’t have that much of an influence but I still want to be a leader. The Boys & Girls Club can help me get there,” Jazmine added.

Jazmine and her colleagues introduced the #OurLivesMatter campaign to visitors at THEARC during the 2015 Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday weekend. Events on that Monday morning took place amid an ongoing national discussion about police brutality in communities of color in the wake of Mike Brown’s police-related death in Ferguson, Missouri. The youth town hall at THEARC featured a collective of young activists and leaders who weighed in on issues of public safety, employment opportunities, and political awareness.

These topics reappeared later in the year when District homicides reached record numbers and residents, community members, and public officials called for a swift action from the Wilson Building. In August, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser proposed a set of polarizing crime prevention measures including police foot patrols and increased supervision and post-release searchers for returning citizens. Black Lives Matter DMV and other grassroots advocacy groups railed against the plan, calling it discriminatory against poor black residents and ineffective in addressing economic and social causes of violence.

For LeVar Jones (no relation to Jazmine), teen program director at the FBR Boys & Girls Club and adult lead on the #OurLivesMatter campaign, changing the status quo means allowing young people to speak freely about their problems. He says that environment will help them overcome societal pressures to fulfill negative stereotypes and perpetuate cycles of violence. Earlier this month, participants looked back on the first year of those efforts to raise the youth’s consciousness during a host of Martin Luther King, Jr. events.

“How do we create spaces where young people could exist as they are? Since last year, we’ve started this conversation and took it to other places like Baltimore and New Jersey where the young people are involved in activism,” Jones told AllEyesOnDC. “It’s about getting our young people passionate about movements they care about and showing them their lives matter because they engage in positive things. The good inside us unites us while we allow all that other stuff to corrupt us. There’s a healing that has to take place. The youth have to honor who they are.”

The installation of a state-of-the-art recording studio also provides such an opportunity for the lyrically gifted men and women who frequent the halls of the FBR Boys & Girls Club. This recent development followed the introduction of photography and other graphic art mediums into the program. Erikah Moore, a member of the “Our Lives Matter” campaign since last September, said she grew in her role as head of the media crew and member of the Alloy Achievers, FBR Boys & Girls Club’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program, by using these resources.

“We work to get the teens in the neighborhood to come here to find the things we found in this program,” said Erikah, a student at Banneker Academic High School in Northwest. “As youth, we all have to come together because we’re the majority. It makes no sense for us not to band together to help bring awareness to issues about young black men and women being attacked in the streets. This is a nonviolent movement.”

The urge to avoid a turbulent atmosphere compelled Darren Gibson to stay at FBR. Since meeting Jones three years ago, he has been involved in a bevy of extracurricular activities he said exposed him to another world. Gibson recounted connecting young brothers to similar opportunities years later.

“The whole experience put me in a different environment. Here, I learned the importance of my voice and how it could make a difference,” Gibson told AllEyesOnDC. “Right now, I’m helping a young guy get into music, especially since we just built a studio. We’re not just rapping but going into different genres of music. I see nothing but motivational music coming out of that studio.”


Welsing Remembered as Scholar Who Loved Black People

In the years leading up to her death, scholar-warrior Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, with the help of friends and colleagues, fought tooth and nail against the very forces she described in her 1991 book The Isis Papers: The Keys to the Colors.

That battle, however, would prove to be futile.

Welsing’s confidants say exploitative lawyers and timid power brokers in the D.C. Zoning Commission foiled her attempts to stop what has been described as the Jewish Primary Day School’s encroachment on her property. For years, high noise levels emanating from the private school’s playground rattled the 80-year-old psychiatrist, possibly causing the stroke that landed her in MedStar Washington Hospital Center on New Year’s Eve.

The news of Welsing’s Jan. 2 death shocked many who recounted seeing a clear-thinking, vibrant and mobile elder during public appearances locally and across the country months earlier. Such a healthy disposition, even in the scholar’s last moments, didn’t surprise Januwa Moja, a nationally renowned artist and Welsing’s close friend of 40 years who recalled often seeing her face light up during discussions about racism.

(L-R) Nana Malaya Rucker and Moja present an artistic work inspired by Dr. Welsing at a memorial service on Jan. 14/ Photo by AllEyesOnDC

“Dr. Welsing was for us as a people 24/7. Her first priority was her patients, then the Welsing Institute,” Moja told AllEyesOnDC, referring to the three-hour long sessions Welsing held in Howard University’s Blackburn Center in Northwest on the second Thursday of each month between September and May of the academic year.

“Once she prepared for her patients, she would prepare for the session on the second Thursday. She was speaking everywhere and always hopping on planes. During those times, she was traveling by herself. In her 80s, she kept it moving, working on our behalf and elevating our consciousness. She read almost everything that had to do with our people,” Moja added.

Welsing, a Chicago-born alumna of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio and Howard, rose in notoriety during the 1970s and 1980s after she defined racism as a global white supremacist system built out of a white minority’s fear of genetic annihilation. She reached this conclusion after hearing Neely Fuller, author of United Independent Compensatory Code System Concept, mention such a perspective. That encounter inspired her to find out why white people have acted in  this manner historically.

In The Isis Papers, Welsing postulated that people of color, especially those with darker shades of melanin, are targeted in nine major areas of activity including politics, law, entertainment, labor, sex, and war. Her premier work included a collection of essays penned over the course of more than 20 years. For many, Welsing’s scholarship made sense of the mental issues black people continued to endure one generation after Jim Crow. It also inspired Public Enemy’s album Fear of a Black Planet, introducing her to legions of young people.

In the decades since she developed what’s known as the Theory of Color Confrontation, Welsing has unflinchingly defended her position to white and black detractors alike, contending that back people’s failure to understand the totality of racism impedes progress and maintains the status quo. In 1973, she debated Dr. William Shockley, physicist and proponent of eugenics, debunking most of his points and pushing him into abject obscurity.

The Millennial generation became familiar with Welsing’s work after her appearance in the Hidden Colors documentary series. In recent years, they counted among a significant number of people in the audience during her lectures across the country.

“She had this infectious energy and came ready to deliver this message about white supremacy and racism,” Millennial singer, rapper, and songwriter Jeni Calhoun, told AllEyesOnDC. Last August, she met Welsing during a lecture at Fisk University in Nashville during which the warrior-scholar signed a copy of The Isis Papers.

Lorne Cress Love, Dr. Welsing’s older sister and WPFW stalwart, spoke before more than 200 people about the late warrior-scholar on Jan. 14th/ Photo by AllEyesOnDC

“The first time I came across The Isis Papers, I wasn’t ready for the knowledge,” said Calhoun, an employee of Jazzy 88.1 WFSK, located on Fisk’s campus. “Now that I’ve come back to it, it has a different message because I have a higher level of consciousness. I love how Dr. Welsing always broke down stuff and showed us how racism affects us on all fronts. I see all of the propaganda and things they’re doing to keep us enslaved in this system.”

After Welsing succumbed to complications from her stroke, students and fans took to social media to mourn who they considered a legend and staunch advocate for black people. A multigenerational gathering of more than 200 community members took place at the Blackburn Center earlier this month in place of Welsing Institute. That evening, guests poured libations, told stories about the late Welsing, watched YouTube videos of her interviews, and purchased copies of The Isis Papers.

Two more events, a 40-day ascension ceremony and memorial service, are scheduled for February and March respectively. Despite minimal acknowledgment of Welsing’s work by the mainstream establishment, her influence among those who consider themselves “conscious” remains strong, making a large turnout at future events a strong possibility.

“If she was white, Dr. Welsing’s passing would be on the front page of the New York Times and all over CNN,” Dr. Gregory Carr, chair of Afro-American studies at Howard, told AllEyesOnDC. “The critique of whiteness has become so vogue but it’s something she and Neely Fuller pioneered. With The Cress Theory, Dr. Welsing was attempting to answer the call for a social science paradigm to analyze racism. That’s why she identifies as one of the great theoreticians of the 20th Century.”

Carr, critical of how social media diminished young people’s will to read and organize interpersonally, said that youth could best honor Welsing by eradicating the white supremacist system methodically, not only in times of tragedy. “Organizing is based on collective study and work. That’s what Dr. Welsing often talked about,” Carr said. “There was always a mix of talking and work but that’s all it is now. What we have to do now is commit ourselves to real time organizing and building between generations.”

Technology enthusiast and podcaster Big Baba Rob shared Carr’s sentiments, telling AllEyesOnDC that he wants to honor her memory by acting in the manner she often encouraged her audience to exemplify: respectful of one another.

“Dr. Welsing wanted us to be smarter and act better as a people,” said Big Baba Rob, 42. “She wanted us to be aware and fight. Her lectures and book analyze where we are as human beings. We have to educate ourselves. We’re being dumbed down and things are setting us up for failure. That’s why we must continue to fight.”

Anti-Violence Campaign Kicks Off in Prince George’s County

While speakers at annual Dr. King Holiday gatherings across the D.C. metropolitan area often issue a call for nonviolence, a group that includes government officials, clergymen, and local artists want to ensure that tangible action takes place to make that goal a reality.

Earlier this week, Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene W. Grant (D), along with local organizers in the political, legal, and social sectors, kicked off what has been touted as the “Stop the Violence in Prince George’s County” movement.  Long after the end of an MLK Day march and panel discussion, 150 partner churches will host year-round classes on conflict resolution and residents will receive information about mental health services.

“We want to make certain that people understand that this is not a one-day event. People usually come together for one day and it fizzes out,” said Grant, who has served as mayor of Seat Pleasant since 2004.

Plans for this campaign have been in the works since Grant and other P.G. County officials attended a meeting about gun violence organized by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) last October. The growing list of grassroots supporters has since grown to include Shorty Corleone of Rare Essence and D.C. hip-hop artist Fat Trel.  Sandman and Ericy B also released a song entitled “Stop the Violence.”

We have a plan that [will take place] long after the march, speeches, and panel discussions are over. There has been a tremendous outpouring of support throughout our community. Residents are coming together to stop the violence in solidarity and it’s going to be historic,” Grant added.

Despite a drop in criminal activity, more than 130 homicides, many of which have been linked to family and domestic disputes, have taken place in P.G. County in the last two years. This trend continued days into the New Year when law enforcement officials answering a call found a Hyattsville, Maryland woman with gunshot wounds to her upper torso. She later succumbed to her injuries.

Mayor Grant’s current project follows in the footsteps of the Transforming Neighborhood Initiative which focused on six enclaves in P.G. County with significant public health, economic, educational and safety challenges.  P.G. County resident Mettie Sherman praised Grants’ efforts, recounting challenges that she faced as an adolescent navigating an environment where young people gained respect for gang and crew affiliations.

Sherman noted that the help of the churches in the “Stop the Violence in P.G. County” mirrors the support her parents and other family members gave her in her younger days. Such protection, she contends, compelled her to think twice before committing illegal acts. “It’s very effective to target the youth while they’re young. It would make a good impact on the entire community,” Sherman, a student at Morgan State University in Baltimore, said.

“The whole situation of violence often happens because of ignorance and an unawareness of a situation. Kids are just trying to be cool and follow other people.  From there, it’s a domino effect.  These days, schools aren’t able to cater to certain groups of students. If they don’t meet certain qualifications they can’t take part in extracurricular activities. That means they’ll probably join a gang,” said Sherman, who lives in Laurel, Maryland.

The Rev. Tony Lee shared Sherman’s sentiments, commending the P.G. County Police Department for what he described as its work in building relationships with residents and proactively preventing crime. Lee, pastor of Community of Hope AME Church in Temple Hills, Maryland, said organizing like what Mayor Grant has proposed instills confidence in residents to tackle broader issues tied to violent crime.

“We’re walking in the legacy of Dr. King anytime you have communities coming together to figure out how we can make sure folks are living a better life,” Lee said. “This initiative seizes on the momentum around the holiday and takes the next logical step. We have a responsibility to not just talk about our neighborhoods but deal with our institutions, including a subpar education system that creates these conditions. I’m encouraged by Mayor Grant’s work because he has always done this type of thing.”

Grant said that stopping violence in its entirety counts as his ultimate goal in spearheading the “Stop the Violence in Prince George’s County” campaign. While it might not be possible, he argues that the community work will empower residents to take neighborhood affairs into their own hands and hold each other accountable for their actions.

“There has been a retreat from teaching values,” Grant said. “No other people on this planet have endured suffering like black people.  A long time ago, we didn’t commit violence.  Poverty becomes a convenient excuse. We can overcome this violence when we come into knowledge of self.”


Blacology & the Study of African Evolution (VIDEO)

“We are the custodians of the cultures of our mothers, fathers, elders, scholars, and ancestors. We are the perpetuators of the culture for our children. We have no right to leave behind a culture that’s less fertile than the ones our parents left us.” – Professor William Cross, co-founder of the Blacology Research and Development Institute

The study of people of African descent as many know it has long focused on the ethnic group’s oppression and the atrocities committed against them. Since the 1970s, Professor William Cross and Dr. Amos M.D. Sirleaf have countered such thinking, looking at the story of African people as that of justice and redemption.

They’ve coined this brand of Afrocentric scholarship as Blacology.

Through the Blacology Research and Development Institute, based in Fort Washington, Maryland, Cross and Sirleaf scientifically chronicle and analyze the worldwide black freedom struggle. In the spirit of self-determination, they disseminate what they consider an accurate portrayal of African history and culture.

While history often highlights enslavement and colonialization of Africans, the Cross and Sirleaf explore the totality of the African experience after the Black Holocaust, focusing on the Haitian Revolution and subsequent events that helped black people redevelop their culture and secure some semblance of justice. In spreading this knowledge, Cross and Sirleaf hope to help Africans across the world follow the example of their ancestors in everything they do.

In this AllEyesOnDC video, Cross and Sirleaf, now a professor at Cuttington University in Bong County, Liberia, talk about Blacology and the hurdles they’ve faced in their efforts to reverse centuries of European brainwashing. This interview counts among one of the best in the AllEyesOnDC catalogue considering that the mission of the Blacology Research and Development Institute mirrors that of AllEyesOnDC.

Check it out and weigh in!

Dr. King of 1968 as Explained by C.R. Gibbs (VIDEO)

“Everyone wants to pimp the King of ’63 but don’t want to talk about the fully formed King of ’68…” – C.R. Gibbs on the Dec. 1, 2015 edition of AllEyesOnDC Presents “A Night of News & Music”

As people across the globe march, sing, and engage in service during the King Holiday weekend, much of the focus will be on “dream” part of the late great Civil Rights icon’s legacy. Indeed, there’s much to learn about Dr. King that our school systems glossed over.

During a recent appearance on AllEyesOnDC, internationally renowned historian C.R. Gibbs talked about the Dr. King who grew in his African consciousness after trips across the Motherland during the 1960s independence movements. For King, connecting with brothers and sisters on the African continent internationalized the human rights struggle and inspired his call to action for a withdrawal of black dollars from white businesses in what would be his final speech before his 1968 assassination in Memphis.

After King’s death and subsequent inner-city riots throughout the country, the fight for black people’s dignity took a more radial turn with the rise of Willie Ricks and Stokeley Carmichael, two proponents of Black Power, the creation of Kwanzaa as an Pan-African holiday, the creation of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, and other efforts to foster self-determination about people of African descent in the United States.

In this video, Brother Gibbs makes the case for internationalizing the struggle in the spirit of King and Marcus Mosiah Garvey. He also encourages young people to read more and rely on social media less for information gathering.

Though history, as told by the United States government, will forever paint King as a docile integrationist, AllEyesOnDC argues that he was well on his way to taking on positions similar to his theoretical nemesis Malcolm X. Had he been alive, he would have been on the forefront of the nation building exercise that Pan-Africanist communities carry on to this day. Ase’!

MLK, Jr. Legacy Panel at the Thurgood Marshall Center

Police Union Contracts: The Ultimate Get-out-of-Jail Free Card

The 2014 state-sanctioned murder of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald, like other shootings of its kind across the country, revealed the lengths that city and state political leaders will go to absolve police officers of any responsibility in the callous execution of black people.

Shortly after Officer Jason Van Dyke pumped 16 bullets into McDonald, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in the midst of a reelection campaign, and his colleagues on the City Council secured a $5 million settlement for McDonald’s family. Officials also delayed the release of the dash cam footage that prosecutors would later use to charge Van Dyke with first-degree murder.

While this kind of orchestration comes as a surprise to few, a deeper look at police union contracts sheds light on the totality of what legal scholars describe as the egregious legal protections awarded to officers when they inflict bodily harm against civilians. Such an examination will show why it’s difficult to ensure justice for victims of police brutality and their families.

Since the days James Richard J. Daly sat at the helm of Chicago city government, the city’s police department has wreaked havoc on residents of African descent without consequence. Under the command of Police Commander Jon Burge, officers detained and tortured suspects for hours and days at a time throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Decades later, Emanuel addressed these atrocities, launching a $5.5 million reparations fund for victims. Beyond the surface, however, little has changed, due mainly to the police union contracts.

A deal reached by the City Council and Chicago police union last year, for example, allows officers accused of misconduct and excessive use of force to avoid questioning for up to 10 days. Additional legal measures shield officers from polygraph tests and expunge disciplinary records after five years. Under the most recent version of the contract, investigators can also show officers evidence before taking their statement, a rule that University of Chicago law professor Craig Fullerton says “raise[s] eyebrows because it’s a double standard.”

In September, members of the Black Lives Matter movement targeted police union contracts in its “Campaign Zero” proposal, citing a compilation of data from police jurisdictions across the country as proof that the legal leeway afforded to abusive officers does a great disservice to the cities they patrol. With union protections in place, auditing departments becomes a cumbersome process. Other benefits commonly provided in police contracts include paid leave for officers who kill civilians, restrictions on the amount of time one could be interrogated, and the abolishment of civilian oversight boards in cases of police misconduct.

These laws count as part of the perfect formula for an authoritarian force that can kill with impunity. This was the case in Portland, Oregon, where officials dismissed two-thirds of complaints according to findings from a 2012 U.S. Department of Justice investigation. In Philadelphia, police union officials challenged Chief Charles Ramsey’s attempt to disclose the names of officers involved in a May 2015 shooting incident, arguing that they had contractual immunity. With contractual agreements that void disciplinary action after certain deadlines and expunge misconduct records after three years, police officers in Seattle also stand above the law. For some of the men and women in blue working in that department, impending changes may be too much to bear, as evidenced by Seattle Police Officer Guild president Ron Smith’s contention that there’s a war against the police.

Indeed, if there is an all-out assault on the rights of police officers, dismantling union contracts would be a huge undertaking. Police lobbying groups often navigate the political realm to secure favors from their counterparts in the justice system and legislature. For instance, the campaign dollars and political clout used by the Policemen’s Benevolent Association and National Sheriffs’ Association helped departments across the country obtain federal grants for overtime and qualified immunity, which holds taxpayers accountable in paying police brutality lawsuits.

It’s no different in the courtroom where prosecutors are forgiving to officers who act hastily. The reverence for what many perceive a dangerous job allows officers demonize their victims under oath and without pushback. Former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson commented on the late Mike Brown’s size during grand jury proceedings in 2014. Before a grand jury failed to indict them, the two Cleveland officers involved in Tamir Rice’s death also said a fear for their lives caused them to pull the trigger.

The prevailing argument for police union contracts centers on the pressures of the job, especially when one is in the midst of potentially dangerous situations. However, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics states that being a police officer isn’t much of a hazardous job, at least when compared to a truck driver who drives long hours with little sleep. Additionally, violent crime has been on a years-long decline. Even with this evidence on the table, those engulfed in negotiations with police unions fall for these fallacies and succumb to officers’ demands for leniency.

Such safeguards call into question what will happen to the Chicago police officer who shot and killed a 55-year-old woman and a mentally ill teenager while responding to a call about the latter’s psychotic episode on the night after Christmas. Instead of taking the young man, named Quintonio Legrier, to the hospital as family members expected, officers shot him seven times. Bettie Jones, the other victim, was a tenant who lived downstairs from Legrier’s family. A bullet fatally struck her in the neck.

Police officials are calling the shooting and “accident” and Emanuel released a statement saying “regardless of the circumstance, we all grieve when there’s a loss in the city.” For Jones’ family, who recently filed a lawsuit against the city, an apology won’t suffice. It remains to be seen if the people responsible for these civilian deaths are held accountable for their actions. If police unions have their way, that will be very unlikely.

Nomad Yard Collectiv “Pops Up” on 14th Street

When the soon-to-be shuttered Eatonville reopens as Mulebone in mid-February, visitors can look forward to an experience that breaks the monotony of the 14th Street corridor in Northwest, courtesy of locally renowned vintage boutique Nomad Yard Collectiv.

Under a deal between Andy Shallal, restaurateur and owner of Mulebone and Desiree Venn Frederic, Nomad Yard’s founder and curator, eight vendors of vintage goods will set up shop in the newly renovated restaurant. There, a bevy of customers, many of whom represent D.C.’s professional class, will be able to purchase custom-made clothes and jewelry while connecting with members of D.C.’s burgeoning creative community.

“This is a new experience for us because it allows us to have a presence on the 14th Street corridor so there’s more of an accessibility of vintage goods. We want people to see that Nomad Yard represents the best of D.C.,” Venn Frederic, 25, told AllEyesOnDC.

“We have women and people of color who have a hard time entering the marketplace with their brands because they’re limited to e-commerce. With this collaboration, Mulebone won’t be one of those homogenous spaces. It will accelerate the effect of what Andy Shallal built and make people feel welcome to engage in dialogue and collaborate more often,” she added.

On Halloween of 2014, Venn Frederic, a native Sierra Leonean inspired by a seven-year fight for proper immigration status and a six-month stint in a detention center, opened Nomad Yard in a warehouse on New York Avenue in Northeast. Since its launch, offerings have grown to include the vintage material of more than 30 vendors, a couple of whom went on to open their own brick-and-mortar shops.

Nomad Yard also serves as a space for meetings and special events, even attracting the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center which visited during a citywide tour of cultural centers. Multinational retailer Urban Outfitters also took notice, letting Nomad Yard host a pop-up shop at its Georgetown location as part of the #urbannomaddc movement.

Shallal, who met Venn Frederic through a mutual friend, said he became enamored with the aesthetics of the Nomad Yard immediately upon his visit in early 2015.

“The crossover appeal interested me. Nomad Yard is unique in that it transcends ethnicity and race to represent the world,” Shallal said, telling AllEyesOnDC that the duo had been in talks shortly after he met Venn Frederic.

“I think we’ll feed off of each other’s aesthetic and customer base, introducing people on both sides to concepts. Those who will come to Nomad Yard at Mulebone will see that 14th Street isn’t a cultural wasteland. Those who go to Mulebone will see that Nomad Yard is part of their culture as well,” he added.

Applications for vendors recently opened, attracting a slew of entrepreneurs and collectors of vintage material from across the D.C. metropolitan area, including those who have worked with Nomad Yard since its inception.

For Uesa Robinson, Nomad Yard’s expansion to Mulebone represents an opportunity to meet new clientele and increase her presence locally. Under her UesaGoods Vintage brand, she has collected and sold vintage clothing throughout the D.C. metropolitan area for more than decade, including in Eastern Market, pop-up shops, private shopping parties, and a stint at Nomad Yard.

Robinson, whose work has been featured in The Downtowner, The Georgetowner, and Washington Life Magazine, told AllEyesOnDC that she hopes to count among the vendors on site when Mulebone opens next month.

“What Desiree does will fit perfectly with Mulebone. She turned her vision to reality because of the variety of the material she brought to Nomad Yard and the pop up shops at Urban Outfitters,” Robinson, a Southeast resident, said. “We’re kindred spirits in the sense that we focus more on color and texture than the era of clothing. Desiree loves my pieces and ‘shop[s] at UesaGoods religiously.’ She appreciates my collection and what I bring to the table. This collaboration will help all of our brands.”

The stakes are a bit higher for younger Nomad Yard vendors, some of whom have invested much of their time and capital to make their endeavor a reality. Thus was the case for Darius Stanton and Salasie Kallon, founders of The Rough, a men’s clothing line that speaks to one’s individuality “with a twist.”

Shortly after launching The Rough at the Broccoli City Festival in April, Stanton and Kallon set up shop at the Nomad Yard, exposing audiences to clothing they say people wouldn’t usually give attention otherwise. While it has yet to be determined if the duo will have a space in Mulebone next month, Stanton says their story aligns with that of the restaurant, making it more of a perfect fit.

“I like the 1940s theme of Mulebone that centers on just making it on your own. As two young black male college students jumping into a risky venture, it works perfectly for us,” Stanton, a 23-year-old graduate student at the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in Durham, N.C., told AllEyesOnDC.

“With so much traffic around the New York Avenue location, people just don’t walk by as much as we would have hoped. Having the store on 14th Street opens us up to a new market. It ultimately helps the brand. Through our work, we can show people the resilience of the today’s youth,” he added.

AllEyesOnDC Presents “A Night of News & Music”

Peace and blessings to the brothers and sisters across the Diaspora,

As the New Year gets to a steady start, AllEyesOnDC would like to bring to your attention “A Night of News & Music,” a community news event that’s sure to entertain and educate the masses.

On the third Friday of each month, D.C.’s movers and shakers will grace the stage at Sankofa Video Books & Cafe (2714 Georgia Avenue NW) during which they discuss their craft/industry with AllEyesOnDC founder and host Sam P.K. Collins and weigh in on the issues of the day. This event also includes musical performances from D.C.-based artists, poets, and griots that have something important to say.

Since AllEyesOnDC hosted its first public function at We Act Radio in Anacostia in April 2014, it has consistently produced news content – online, video, and audio — that informs and calls on each and every one of us to liberate our minds from the chains of white supremacy. It’s no different this time around. Come turn up with the real once a month!

Below are the dates of shows in 2016. Doors open at 8pm.

Friday, Jan. 15th

Friday, Feb. 19th

Friday, March 18th

Friday, April 15th

Friday, May 20th

Friday, June 17th

Friday, July 15th

Friday, Aug. 19th

Friday, Sept. 16th

Friday, Oct. 21st

Friday, Nov. 18th

Friday, Dec. 16th

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