August 29 marked both the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destructive blow to the Gulf States and the fifty-first anniversary of the day Katherine Jackson gave birth to her fifth boy child, Michael Joseph in Gary, Indiana. Both occasions were acknowledged in spirited, loving communion in Prospect Park’s lush Nethermead.
Spike Lee’s latest joint, the five-hour party in the park proved the tremulous naysayers’ coded concerns unfounded. There was no riotous mischief making to justify the “pens” set up for crowd control. It was celebratory, but chill: “relax your mind, lay back and groove with mine.”
Like Mikes abounded, young and old, in varying degrees of Jacksonian regalia, taking the spotlight in several spontaneous ring shouts as the music took over. Playing only the late star’s songs, DJ Spinna spun a web of sweet delirium for the peaceful mass of diversity while host Spike shared the stage with guests from BK Borough Prez, Marty Markowitz to Reverend Al to funnyman Tracy Morgan. Kevin Powell was on hand to remind us to remember Katrina and honor the memories of her victims.
Though the forecast predicted a deluge of a different sort, thunderstorms, people streamed into the verdant clearing, rain gear in tow, (my girl, theHotness.com founder, Nicole Moore and I both rocked the Wellies) determined to be there no matter what. After we’d been there a short while the overcast sky yielded a gentle rain and up went the canopies in anticipation of more, but it simply faded into a light mist. Nicole likened it to an “anointing” before the clouds parted and gave way to the clearest blue.
As the celebration wound down, there was something infinitely moving about a meadow full of people singing in unison, Man in the Mirror, with its Ghandian theme of change beginning within. The preponderant presence of dragonflies, symbols of transformation, only highlighted the beauty of the moment.
Finally, as serendipity would have it, Nicole introduced me to her friend, Fanon, the cool brother dancing in the shot below, and son of a lovely woman I’d lost touch with. Through the powerful connectivity of facebook she reconnected with me when she saw us both in an album of photos from that day. Just perfect, the rich buttercream on a scrumptious cake.
A few snaps from the phone camera.
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