The Trove: Anu Prestonia
June 16, 2011

Advancing the acceptance of natural beauty, the radiant hair care icon.

So certain that their first-born child would be a boy, Barbra Jean and Preston Newsome awaited son Preston, Jr. When their Aries daughter arrived, they named her Prestonia and called her “Toni.” She would one day become “a new” Prestonia when spirit would dictate that she assume a name to “help manifest the qualities needed” to reach her “incarnation objective,” or purpose in life. As a new member of the spiritual community, Ausar Auset, she was dubbed Anu Kemmerå, one who sees beauty in serving and having correct behavior. Nearly thirty years later, “I’m still working on the behavior part,” she chuckles. She indeed sees the beauty of serving and has crafted an impressive career in the service of healthy beauty – one that has its genesis in her childhood. At ten-years-old, a too-strong perm left her with badly damaged hair that was then cut into a tiny Afro. “At the time, the only people with Afros were in Ebony or Jet. They were celebrities.” Heartily embraced, the reaction to her natural hairstyle surprised her, as she became a celeb among her peers for wearing the “new Afro hairdo.” She’d always “played in other people’s hair,” so by the time she entered her teens she was the go-to girl for all the basketball-playing boys who wanted their hair cornrowed. Her love of beauty is deeply ingrained, from her hairstylist grandmother to her own mother who affirmed Toni’s beauty at every turn. She entered her daughter in several beauty contests, including the famed Hal Jackson’s Miss Teenage Black America Pageant. “We rehearsed at Harlem Hospital’s auditorium: walking and charm taught by the popular models of the day and our talent routines. I chose poetry because spoken word was popular then.” She walked the stage to the strains of Aretha Franklin’s “Daydreaming.”

The music-loving contestant asked for a pic with the Queen of Soul backstage at the 1972 pageant.

Reciting Nikki Giovanni’s “Nikki-Rosa,” she intoned, “…Black love is Black wealth and they’ll probably talk about my hard childhood and never understand that all the while I was quite happy.” It was a fitting poem for a girl whose bucolic beach existence in Norfolk where her dad was a naval photographer was interrupted by a parental split and relocation with her mom and siblings, Linda and Butch to gritty 1970’s New York City. “In Virginia we could go outside whenever we wanted to. I could just get on my bike, go exploring, get lost, try to catch June bugs and butterflies…or walk, long distances. My mother allowed me the freedom to walk wherever I wanted to. My grandmother’s house was about a mile and a half away and my great–grandmother’s was three miles!”

“When we moved to Brooklyn, everything was on the shutdown, we became prisoners in the apartment. We couldn’t go outside unless an adult was home. It just really changed things.” However she loved their apartment in a huge Pre-war building in Brownsville. “It was really big, had French doors and a sink in our bedroom, which I thought was just the grooviest thing.” The art deco bathroom had a floor-to-ceiling tiled shower stall in addition to a bathtub. “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. In Virginia we’d only had a tub. So once we got to New York, I thought every day should be a shower day.”

Because of her frequent indoor confinement she “really got into WPIX’s Million Dollar Movie on TV” and remains a film buff to this day. Watching television also introduced her to pioneering African-American news anchor Melba Tolliver and when she traveled to DC to visit an uncle, the numerous black broadcasters there encouraged her as well. “I thought, I can be a broadcast journalist.

Enrolling in the communications program at SUNY Brockport, she “couldn’t even believe how far away it was.” The eight-hour, intra-state trek to the quaint college town was longer than the drive from NYC to Norfolk. It was another world to the brown girl from Brownsville, a one-cinema town with no place to “get hair grease.” She was, however, struck by its beauty, its dramatic seasonal changes and its night sky. “It would be so full of stars and seem so close like you could just reach up and touch them. But when I came home for Christmas, I realized how much I missed being around my people.”

She transferred to historically black Howard University, “a more nurturing environment.” Those days truly shaped the woman and entrepreneur she would become. “Many pivotal changes happened in my life while I was there. I stopped straightening my hair, I became a vegetarian, I discovered yoga, and I learned how to put in an extension, so my career started at Howard.” The summer before her senior year, she started braiding hair at the popular salon, Shelton’s Hair Gallery, took a semester off and never went back, eventually returning to New York. An impetuous move to Jamaica West Indies without enough money to live on yielded “a few weeks of starving” and a need to relocate. She joined her sister, a University of Miami student in South Florida. Doing business as “Have Comb, Will Travel,” Prestonia made house calls to local clients as well as those in DC, New York and eventually the Bahamas. Disenchanted with both Miami’s monotonous climate and Floridians who didn’t “get” the Afrocentric yogi, she moved back to New York and found a sense of community with the Ausar Auset Society. “It felt like home,” she says. They offered yoga, meditation, breathing and African culture based in the sacrifice of the lower parts of your spirit, as opposed to the sacrifice of animals” found in some other African practices. They embraced vegetarianism. “They had all the components I was seeking at that time.”

Tying her mother’s gele in 1987. The yoga devotee in 1979.

After having been raised as a Christian, she embraced the precepts of Kemetic religion and dreamt the name her thriving business would take, Khamit Kinks. Although she left that practice 21 years ago, she remains in loving community with many former members. “My practice now is to be in truth with myself and others,” she says. Part of that truth is to awaken the “hoodwinked, bamboozled“ masses to the myths of popular culture. “I am a crusader for women to help them move from destroying their hair to accepting their own beauty, their own culture, their own aesthetic. What you were born with has value, all you have to do is love it, appreciate it and learn how to work with it or know where to go to have it treated with respect.”

She worked at legendary Kinapps African Groomers for several months until the entrepreneurial impulse resurfaced and she returned to working out of her home. When her friend Maitefa Angaza included pictures of Anu’s work in a pitch on African hairstyles to Essence, the magazine hired them both. Anu created looks for the professional shoot, her styles illustrating Maitefa’s text. Once the double-page spread ran “the phone started ringing off the hook.” Her business grew and she established a longstanding relationship with the magazine styling/braiding models as well as celebrities for editorial shoots. (Khamit Kinks is featured in “Super Naturals,” a beauty story in the July 2011 issue) From Angelas Bassett and Davis to Terry McMillan, Alfre Woodard, Queen Latifah and Oprah Winfrey she’s covered a broad swath. In 1992 her client, radio deejay Imhotep Gary Byrd referred Stevie Wonder –in need of a quick shampoo– to her. She excitedly accepted but on a three-way call a few weeks later with Stevie on the line to schedule another shampoo appointment Anu replied in mock indignation, “What does he think this is, a laundromat? We don’t shampoo other people’s work!” Stevie remains a client nearly twenty years later, “Yeah Stevie is very relaxed, he thought that was pretty funny.”

Braids on Oprah, locs on Stevie and a head-wrapped Anu flanked by Nigerian thread-wrapped Angie and Alfre.

Her business has grown from girl-on-the-go to a single chair in a basement apartment to many years in her own Tribeca salon and back to her home borough. She and her team of natural hair care specialists/stylists move from her massive Downtown Brooklyn Gold Street space to a very well situated new space in the bustling Atlantic Avenue corridor later this summer. Among her most sought after services are consultations on damaged hair, a task she takes very seriously. “Having had the experience of losing my hair as a girl left an indelible impression.” She wishes for everyone pristine health from their follicles to their toes. “I’ve always had an interest in health having come from a very sickly family—my grandmother died when I was eight from diabetes and stroke, she was only forty-seven. My mother was in and out of hospitals all my life. The things that we do affect our health.” She highlights Diabetes as an example, “people used to just think its inherited, but no–what’s inherited is the diet that leads to it.” She is very mindful of how she moves through the world, from the energies she surrounds herself with to the foods she eats to creating “me’ time to the aromas in the air she breathes. She shares her knowledge through her services, her carefully developed product line, events she holds in-shop (like Zumba class) her blogs Ask Anu and Anu Essentials and the documentary she produced in 2009, In Our Heads About Our Hair.

From her lovely sister Linda in the early 1980’s to Nikita today, Anu features everyday beauties, not supermodels in her promotions.

Is no surprise that her innate love of and “nose” for fragrance would find its way into her business. She first used botanicals in her hair oils and years later introduced fragrant body butters and natural soaps. Upon reading master perfumer Mandy Aftel’s book, “Essence and Alchemy,” she was turned on to and turned out by natural perfumery. “It was so enchanting, it took me to another planet,” she says fervently. “It’s sacred art, really. Just the other day, I thought Wow! I wonder what God was thinking about when he made this smell this way.” The fragrances of nature have intrigued her since childhood: cut grass, soil after a rain, pine. For young Toni a fresh pack of unburned cigarettes was a nosegay as pleasing as any cluster of small flowers. She’d bury her nose in it and inhale deeply. Though she abhors cigarette smoke, as an adult Anu finds tobacco essence “hypnotically beautiful.”

This summer she launches her first perfume, the herbaceous, floral-kissed Meadowlark, a “green” blend of oak moss, clary sage and her beloved rose. “I am new to this industry, there’s quite a learning curve,” but she is very excited by her foray. As she expands her hair care line to include shampoo, conditioner, styling crème and a gel she incorporates her growing knowledge of the vast repository of botanical essences.

Rosemary-infused medicinal hair oil, glycerin-rich, hand crafted soap, and my favorite body butter, Sultry.

A long ago Essence photo shoot initially crossed our paths, but Anu and I have over the years come to discover several shared delights, quirky to sublime from the wafting aromas of laundromat exhaust to the wistful vocals of Madeleine Peyroux to the evocative treatises on fragrance by Mandy Aftel. Server and sybarite, Anu is a woman in balance. She works hard, plays hard and truly enjoys being in her own luminous, sweetly scented skin.

Before the Kemetic, yogic, Reiki certified, fragrance-loving, would-be pool shark headed to her billiards league, she shared some of the things besides lush, healthy heads of natural hair that stoke her Arian fire:

1. Natural perfumery. I love the botanical essences: how they smell, look, and feel–from very thin and light to thick and viscous.” Though Mandy Aftel is her primary mentor, she’s also been inspired by Amanda Walker of “A Perfume Organic,” master perfumer Sarah Horowitz, bloggers like Monica Miller and reading Chandler Burr’s books.  “And I have a guardian angel in Marian Williams who has generously offered contacts to exclusive suppliers.”

A detail from her perfume organ, the natural perfumer’ organization system of raw materials, sorted by note.

2. Jewelry. “I love the gamut. I have a collection of pearls. I purchase them from a sister in the jewelry district on the Bowery. I fell in love with black jet beads a couple of years ago and bought some most precious finds on EBay.

A unique EBay offering: a Victorian Whitby jet watch fob.

3. Billiards. “This is my third season on a league at Amsterdam Billiards in NYC.”

Her “sweetheart,” entrepreneur (and billiards aficionado) Henry Rock, gifted her with one of her two cue sticks.

4. Spa Services. “My first spa experience was in 1993 at the Burke Williams Spa in Santa Monica. My favorites are Dr. Hauschka facials, salt exfoliation in a wet room with Vichy showers that hang above the table, deep tissue massage and all the ayurvedic spa services–especially at Kripalu Yoga Institute.”

Vichy shower: “a nearly orgasmic experience,” she says.

5. Gardening/Flowers. “I love all flowers, my faves are peonies, poppies, all lilies, bearded irises, hydrangea, hollyhocks, gardenias, roses of course, clematis, lantana. I could go on and on with this one…”

The fruits of her gardening labors.

6. Yoga.  “Though I’m not teaching right now, I am a certified Yoga instructor trained at Integral Yoga Institute.”  Its founder, Swami Satchadananda was “my first inspiration on my road to seeking my spiritual path.”

She has practiced Hatha Yoga for thirty years.

7. My Home. “I purchased my 1897 Brooklyn brownstone exactly one hundred years after it was built.”

“It took me about 5 years to get it where I was truly comfortable.”

8. Foreign and Independent Films. From Jules Dassin (Rififi, 1955) to Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust, 1991) she enjoys bold, visionary cinema from around the globe.

Set in South Korea, Ki-duk Kim’s elegiac 2003 film “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…and Spring” is a favorite.

9. Fine Dining. “I love to eat! I really enjoy fresh, quality and organic food.” She has unforgettable memories of a small Italian restaurant on the beach in Tulum, Mexico. “They bought out cheeses on a chunk of tree trunk, an array of olives and delicious bread to start the meal. There’s no menu, just absolutely great food.” She fondly recalls “the simply exquisite pleasure of dining at the illustrious Babbo Ristorante, and Dirt Candy, love their food.” Son Cubanois another haunt.

The humble vegetable as delicacy at Dirt Candy, and two all-time restaurant faves.

10. Birkenstocks. From shoes to sandals, her tootsies are happy in the famed Birkenstock cork foot bed.

Of her large collection of Birkis, many are Gizeh thong sandals.

For more on Anu, her services and products, check her websites: Khamit Kinks and Anu Essentials.

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Brooklyn Moment #8: Bed-Stuy Bliss
June 3, 2009

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A Bed-Stuy sampler.

About a month ago, tax monkey off our collective backs, a break in a long stretch of inclement weather and a small break in my increasingly hectic schedule, I, at the behest of longtime friend and staunch advocate of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community, the artist TRUE, decided to check into his Macon Manor, a lovely short stay rental in the heart of the Stuyvesant Heights historic district. TRUE lives in the garden apartment and welcome guests on the top three floors of his 102 year-old, art-filled brownstone. Arriving at three I grabbed a cold drink of water from the in-room cooler, took in the view of the landscaped garden and perused the well stocked library of books, games and DVDs. After a brief chat with a friendly Australian traveler who’d checked into the floor below, I settled into quiet, enjoying refreshing cross breezes in the floor-through apartment and a well-deserved nap — afternoon delight.

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Afternoon light floods the living room.

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Some of the in-suite artwork.

I awoke just in time to stroll the three or four blocks to Olivino, the newer sister location to Clinton Hill’s similarly named wine shop for a tasting. The gregarious co-owner, Tony Walker and his friendly, knowledgeable staff, welcomed a multi-culti mix of customers to join the oenophilic assembly. It was lighthearted, unpretentious and a pleasant blend of both longtime residents and newbies.

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Olivino partner, Tony is flanked by Bed-Stuy newcomers from Japan and Sweden.

After nibbling assorted breads, cheeses & olives and sampling the evening’s tasting wines, I was sated and ready for a lazy return to the ultra comfortable bed at 424 Macon. I slept beautifully, really a wonderful night’s sleep and awoke to the sweet trilling of the birds on the tree-lined block and the gentle streaming of sunlight around the corners of the accordion pleated window treatments. I helped myself to the coffee provided in my small kitchen and ambled into the large, airy bathroom to prepare for the day and check out. With space at a premium for most New Yorkers, the apartments (sleeping 7 persons each) offer a wonderful, affordable way to put up out-of-town guests. Travelers from around the globe can get a taste of Bed-Stuy in a convenient location (near the A Express at Utica Ave).

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The spare, zen-like bedroom features two super comfy queen beds.

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True with a young friend.

Delighted by the temperate weather, I tossed on a summery frock and out I went to brunch with my friend Julia, a local resident and unofficial brand evangelist for Peaches, a restaurant on the corner of Lewis and MacDonough. An extension of her dining room, it is her Cheers, she its Norm and she sings its praises mightily. Weekend brunch is clearly poppin’ at this place, but it’s a great spot for dinner or an evening hang at the bar. Though I settled on and thoroughly enjoyed the shrimp po’ boy and coleslaw, I was nonetheless happy to see that in spite of the Southern/Soul food inspiration, there are several offerings to sate the vegetarian diner as well.

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Owner Craig chats with Julia about the close-knit nature of the Bed-Stuy community and its local merchants.

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Will serves up libation at the bar, while “Peaches” (a family elder for whom the restaurant is named) watches over from the portrait on the left.

As we left we bumped into the proprietors, Hillary & Lloyd Porter of the popular, next-door coffee shop/wifi cafe, Bread-Stuy where Hillary whips up scrumptious baked goods; life-of-the party Lloyd makes every visit feel like hanging with a favorite cousin and baby Maclemore has captured the attention of the entire community. Impromptu chess tourneys and DJ sets are not uncommon in front of this “village center.”

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The Porters with their baby girl, “Macy.”

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Bread Stuy. Photo by Bud

Anchoring the other end of the bustling block of Lewis Avenue is Crystal and Walston Bobb-Semple’s Brownstone Books. With its emphasis on titles of African diasporic interest serving the longtime predominately African-American community (their second location, opened last year at the Brooklyn Academy of Music has a largely performing arts-related inventory), Brownstone Books serves the literary interests of young and old with their children’s story hour as well as author readings, lectures and open-mic poetry night. I plan to return to get the August Wilson Century Cycle soon.

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Crystal Bobb-Semple and the seminal collection of August Wilson’s Century Cycle stocked at Brownstone Books.

I bopped around a bit, taking in the scene at the four corners of Macon and Lewis: the recent renovations to the Macon Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library; Gallerist Richard Beavers shared his commitment to established as well as emerging artists of the African disapora at his House of Art. Estelle Harris’ recent addition to the SOLA (Shops of Lewis Avenue) mix, Creative Blossoms brings clean, simple floral arrangements and a gardening center to the neighborhood; and new Mom, Josie Almonte played with her gorgeous daughter while sharing her goal of bring stylish, affordable fashion, accessories and home accents to the nabe with her Little Red Boutique.

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Renovated BPL Macon branch.

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Currently on display at House of Art: Jennifer Crute’s hard-hitting, “I Pledge.”
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With his urban setting and elongated figures, Bua’s “1981” is reminiscent of the work from the late Ernie Barnes.

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Little Red Boutique owner Josie with her little angel.

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Kicky Spring shoes.

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A sampling of the simple, elegant arrangements from floral designer, Estelle Harris’ Creative Blossoms.

Before heading to my hotly anticipated appointment with friend Rodney Hughes at his fragrance lab (see the post, Talkin’ Shop: Therapeutaté), he introduced me to another offering on the art front. Brooklynite Gallery is a labor of love and creativity from couple Rae and Hope McGrath on Malcolm X Boulevard. I knew Hope back-in-the-day from her fashion production company, Asha and was excited to see what she and her artist hubby have brought to the area east of the SOLA hub. They rehabbed a dilapidated old building in the ‘hood into a sleek, modern gallery which takes advantage of yard space and natural light. The gallery is a celebration of Pop Art with a particular emphasis on Street Art and pushing the boundaries. The gallery website, for example, features new media elements like Brooklynite TV, streaming live video and encouraging live chat.

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Brooklynite Gallery. The McGrath family (from Global Fusion Productions.)

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An iconic photo from National Geographic is re-imagined.

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Culture reporter, music critic and local resident Siddhartha Mitter checks out the outdoor display at the gallery.

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The office as seen from the backyard gallery.

On Sunday I had grits, eggs and thick slices of smoked turkey bacon at the counter of Ma-n-Pop, a humble diner with an Obama-inspired, patriotic stars-and-stripes decor while Beat Street played on the television hanging hospital-style overhead. A cheap, good meal in a real neighborhood joint.

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Collard greens and potato salad at Ma-n-Pop

Later I was enchanted to stumble across Macon Hardware, a delightful hodgepodge of greeting cards, laundry carts, live plants, a selection of toy WWF championship belts and an extensive collection of church hats. When I saw a window full of Sunday-best crowns in a hardware store that proudly bore the name Mrs. Peter Hayes on the door, I had to take a peek. Mrs. Hayes, looking lovely in lavender was making a set of keys for a customer amid the nails, bobby pins and general store merch mix. She (and the space) reminded me of childhood Southern summers spent returning glass Coke and Mountain Dew bottles to Washington’s Servicenter in Kenbridge, Virginia where anything you needed could be found in Mr. Washington’s shop. I asked where she was from. “North Carolina, but I’ve been here 62 years, 47 in this building.” I noticed the prominently displayed black and white photo of her late husband and she began to share the story of how they once lived in the Marcy projects which were at that time, housing for military families, but the apartments were reserved for couples with children. They as a young couple were allowed to move in but “when I didn’t have a baby after six months, they said we had to move, but I wasn’t ready to have a baby.” With the gumption she still has today she convinced the powers that be to let them to stay. She has seen them come and go and with development many do go to somewhat nearby Home Depot, but she has a loyal community following (like that of paint specialists, Oz Hardware on Malcolm X) that I hope mightily continues to support her.

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Mrs. Hayes, a photo of her late husband and the proprietor signage on the door of Macon Hardware.

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Staff member Jace Rivera with Desmond Prince, owner of Oz Hardware.

I wrapped up my Bed-Stuy sojourn by strolling with friends to the nearby Weeksville Heritage Center, bordering Crown Heights for a free concert on the historic grounds by the awesomely talented DC native, Alice Smith. Giving body and incredible cool in the blazing heat, Alice performed a phenomenal acoustic set backed only by a guitar and sheltered by a yellow canopy which mimicked the sun.

There are many other treasures in this Central Brooklyn community: Solomon’s Porch restaurant, the new wine bar, Therapy, Hibiscus Day Spa, the positive vibes and healthful cuisine of Food 4 Thought Cafe, professional framing at the Lewis Gallery and the famed Italianate villa-cum-bed and breakfast inn, Akwaaba Mansion among them. Coming soon will be the area’s answer to the Brooklyn Flea, SOLA Public Market; another wine bar with organic nibbles, Liquid Oz; what promises with its wood-burning oven to be a delicious hotspot for Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizza, Saraghina; upscale grocer, Butternut Market and from the mastermind of Cake Bliss, Margo Lewis, Dahlia’s, a Courtney Sloan-designed restaurant featuring healthy fare.

Though my trek was within the 11233 and 11216 zip codes, Bed-Stuy is a vast  neighborhood bordering Bushwick, Brownsville, Clinton Hill, Crown Heights,East New York, and Williamsburg. Don’t sleep on the historical, architectural, cultural and gastronomical gems in this vibrant community.

(Thanks to Julia Chance for providing some of the photos)

Akwaaba Mansion 347 Macdonough Street 718.455.5958

Bread Stuy 401 Lewis Avenue 718.771.0633

Brooklynite Gallery 334 Malcolm X Blvd. 347.405.5976

Brownstone Books 409 Lewis Avenue 718.953.7328

Creative Blossoms 370 Lewis Avenue 347.240.9720

Food 4 Thought 445 Marcus Garvey Blvd 718.443.4160

Hibiscus Day Spa 558 Halsey Street 718.573.0831

House of Art 373 Lewis Avenue 347.663.8195

Lewis Gallery 225 Decatur Street 718.624.8372

Little Red Boutique 374 Lewis Avenue 718.443.1170

Ma-n-Pop Soul Food 349 Lewis Avenue 718.596.9933

Macon Branch, Brooklyn Public Library 361 Lewis Avenue 718.573.5606

Macon Hardware 339 Macon Street 718.574.4244

Macon Manor 424 Macon Street rental@TRUErealty.biz

Olivino Bed Stuy 426D Marcus Garvey Blvd. 718.249.0721

Oz Hardware 302 Malcolm X Blvd. 718.484.8830

Solomon’s Porch 307 Stuyvesant Avenue 718.919.8001

Therapy Wine Bar 364 Lewis Avenue


This Weekend: The 50th Annual Fulton Art Fair
July 3, 2008

Congratulations to The Fulton Art Fair on the golden accomplishment of 50 years of making art accessible in in Brooklyn. Here, from their website:

History of the Fulton Art Fair

Troubled by the media depiction of her neighborhood as being crime-ridden, mortician Shirley Hawkins, a resident of Bedford Stuyvesant, set about to correct that image. She, along with artist friends Ernest Crichlow and Jacob Lawrence reached out to other local artists in 1958. Among these were: Joan Bacchus Maynard, Onnie Millar, Leo Carty, Otto Neals, Tom Feelings, Al Hollingsworth, Olga Kandel, Violet Hewitt Chandler and the Hewitt family. The media focus on crime omitted almost all positive aspects of life in this close-knit, working-class community. Surely there was crime, but by no means did it overshadow the pulse of the community to rise above poverty; to be gainfully employed; to own homes and businesses; ensure their children the opportunity of good education, proper nourishment, religious and home training. This was the Bedford Stuyvesant known to Shirley Hawkins; a work in progress, much like neighborhoods throughout the world.

This outdoor celebration of art, live music and culture runs Friday – Sunday from noon to 6:00pm at Fulton Park, Fulton Street between Lewis and Stuyvesant Avenues in the “do or die.” On Saturday, July 5, A Tribute to the Elders honoring elder artists, Dolores Inniss-Carty, Otto Neals, Violet Hewitt Chandler, Edwards Bates, Miriam Francis, Emmett Wigglesworth, and Onnie Millar (who I happen to adore) commences at 1pm.

Each day from 2:00 – 5:30, Brooklyn artist Aisha Cousins reprises her performance piece, Diva Dutch, integrating the deeply rooted cultural traditions of hair-braiding and rope-jumping among African diasporic women. She performed the “hair” piece in communities of color in both London and Paris earlier in the year. Close your eyes, hear the rope-tapping rhythm, remember your old jumping songs and bring them to participate.

Aisha Cousins “diva dutches” in Bed Stuy.