As we look back on the past year, we appreciate those who have been able to rise to the occasion of unprecedented times on top of more unprecedented times and use their capacity to build. The Back to Black pop up series in D.C. was created in the summer of 2020 with the mission to mobilizing Black bartenders & culinary professionals to show solidarity through continued support of Black activism to end racial injustice in America. Led by Andra ‘AJ’ Johnson, the Back to Black organizers are Kapri Robinson, Frank Mills, Richard Sterling, Lorena Prada, Naku Mayo and Christina Mayo. After raising over $26,000 for 15+ charities last year, Back to Black is back for 2021 with events that should be on your radar.
AJ Johnson on Back to Black in 2021
Photo Credit Naku Mayo / @mayo2media
“It has been a crazy time for everybody and a lot of our mission was formed because our industry has been paralyzed in so many ways. Sometimes, as bartenders and industry professionals we feel insignificant and helpless because we provide a service, not a necessity. With Back to Black, my team and I wanted to create platforms in which we can help the fight for equality and for the fair treatment of Black people in D.C. and around the country by using our talents to raise funds for several organizations dedicated to the betterment of the lives of Black people To date, we have raised and donated over $26,000 for over 15 organizations in just about 6 months. We are very proud of this number and want to continue our work into 2021 and beyond. We have set up several collaborations around the city with several bars and restaurants such as Columbia Room, Maydan, Serenata, Compass Rose, Niko’s Spiked Gelato, and Roy Boys. We will continue our mission this year with fun promotions/collaborations and also our first cocktail pop up of the year this February.
*Feelin’ Fresh Fridays with Seedlip Non-Alcoholic Spirits and Daring Kombucha
Start Date: 1.22.2021
-Our main goal with this promotion is to give our supporters fun and refreshing options to start the New Year with. Frank Mills, one of our organizers, is the creator of Daring Kombucha and I will always take on an opportunity to highlight the products of the Back to Black team. We will also be offering our merchandise like shirts, hats, totes and pins. 100% of the proceeds from the Seedlip cocktail will be donated to Dreaming Out Loud, a Washington DC organization that provides support and funding for Black farmers and creates sustainable urban farming models here in DC. Merchandise will be sold to supports the Back to Black mission and 50% of proceeds from the pop up will go to Dreaming Out Loud and N Street Village.
*Back to Black Pop-Up v4.0: Remembrance
Dates: 2.27.21 and 2.28.2021
-We are kicking off our pop up season with an event at Service Bar
in February to recognize Black History Month. Our theme is going to be focused on creating cocktails that tell the story of orchestrated race massacres in the US. The events we are highlighting are Rosewood, 1985 MOVE massacre, Bloody Sunday, and Tulsa. Each Back to Black member will create a cocktail representing each event. All four of us will choose who we are donating our cocktails to. I’ll have more details about the cocktails themselves in the coming weeks.
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