Living in LA has been tough.
My move to the City of Angels was a surprise since I was moving to Los Angeles to work for BuzzFeed. When I moved here, I thought I was just here for three months (that was the length of my contract). But I ended up working for BuzzFeed for nearly two years until I was laid off a few weeks ago.
I'll admit that my heart has been in Atlanta. My family is there, and the homesickness still hasn't gone away. Not to mention finding community here is tough since the city is so spread out. Since I've been here, most of my evenings are spent watching reruns of the Golden Girls with a glass of sangria.
But, since I got the news of my layoff, I've decided that instead of sulking, I am going to celebrate closing this chapter of my life because when one door closes, a better one opens. I firmly believe that because the happenings in my life have continuously proven this to be true.
On my last day in the office, my co-worker said: "We're going to Everyday People on Sunday."
"Count me in," I said without hesitation. What better way to celebrate than Swag Surfin with a few hundred black people on a Sunday? If you're a New Yorker, you ain't new to this because that is where Everyday People was founded in 2012 by Saada Ahmed, Chef Roble Ali and DJ Moma. I'd always wanted to attend one of these epic day parties filled with melanated people casually serving up insta-worthy street style.
My crew told me they'd be getting to the venue at 3, but in true black people fashion I was there all by my lonesome for about an hour. I got a drink, sat down, and listened as DJ Cat mixed classics like Bobby V's "Slow Down" and SVU'S "Right Here."
Next thing I knew, brown faces of all shades decked out in their Sunday's best started to fill in what felt like a massive space in the center of Hollywood, and my friends arrived. As the party went on, the DJ kept spinning tunes that had us twerking, two-stepping, and electric-sliding for hours.
I took a moment to look around at all the faces that were surrounding me, and realized this was about more than finding a reason to party during the day.
This event was about community. Creating a space for young black people to let go of our worries and society judgements and be our blackity-black selves. Because once the party is over and the music stops, we have to walk back out into the streets of LA (or wherever we're from) and continue to navigate through the microaggressions, bias, and racism we face from the workplace to cooking out in our local parks.
Let the news tell it, we can't get together without there being a fight, but my experience defied that. To say the place was packed, was an understatement. You were likely stepping on someone's shoe or bumping a stranger as you body rolled, but even with all of that going on, we were gracious to each other with people saying, "sis, my bad" with a smile.
Before attending Everyday People, I was so close to giving up on LA and moving back to my hometown of Atlanta.
I got chills as I looked around the large outdoor venue. I saw creatives I've admired from afar, partied with my co-workers-turned-family, and danced off the anxiety I've been feeling about no longer working for the company I moved out here for — I knew I couldn't give up that easily.
Everyday People somehow grounded me. I know you might think that I'm reaching, but I'm not.
If you find yourself in any of the cities on Everyday People's list (26 dates) that include DC, Atlanta, Toronto, New York City, and Oakland, don't hesitate to purchase your ticket. With all that's going in our world, it's nice to be able to take a moment to let loose with people that understand the culture, the beauty, and the struggles of being black in America.
Featured image by Bianca Lambert/Instagram
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