Smile Politely

Black Joy Project spreads wellness at the Gallery Art Bar

Two Black women stand smiling against a purple and yellow background. Between them is a table with coloring books and crayons and seed packets.
Florence Adibu (left) and Ruby Mendenhall at the Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Amy Penne

The Black Joy Project’s Florence Adibu and Dr. Ruby Mendenhall (Urbana’s current Poet Laureate) hosted an open mic last Friday (May 10th) at Urbana’s Gallery Art Bar. In coordination with Epsilon Epsilon Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, they sparked an event focused on wellness, positivity, and wisdom. It was such a lovely evening of spoken word poetry and empowered encouragement. DJ Silkee was on hand to provide the mood and the music as writers and community members gathered to celebrate kindness and positivity. Dr. Mendenhall supplied craft notions, seed packets, and plenty of goodies to encourage self-care and healthy living. Wellness is a key element of the Black Joy Project, which continues as a featured exhibit at the University of Illinois’ Spurlock Museum. Keep an eye out for more open mic opportunities this summer at the Gallery Art Bar and for more events sponsored by the Black Joy Project. 

A Black woman holds headphones up to her ears in front of her computer with her title, DJ Silkee on the cover of the laptop
DJ Silkee at the Gallery Art Bar; Photo by Amy Penne

Arts Editor at Smile Politely

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