Second Mondays brings ‘Black Joy’

“We started with seven people and within less than 12 events we had grown by our anniversary to 150 people.” That “we” is Malaysia Alcorn and Taylor Crenshaw, the co-founders of Gold Beams, hosting their signature event, “Second Mondays.”

Second Mondays hosts Taylor Crenshaw and Malaysia Alcorn. Photo: Brandy Collins

Along with DJ Harmony on the ones and twos, making sure that the crowd stayed hype, Alcor and Crenshaw keep the show moving. There was wine flowing, rhymes flowing, and the Black Joy overflowing. The crowd is typically 100 people and meets every second Monday of each month at Red Cafe in Oakland; however, just hours before the show ,coordinators changed the venue to Era Art Lounge to accommodate more anticipated attendees. “We had 400 RSVPs tonight and we had to cut it off,” they said.

So what made Second Monday on February 10 different? This month’s packed house was courtesy of the Black Joy Parade and Lyft sponsoring the showcase. The event was free, but up for grabs was the prize of being invited to perform on stage at the Black Joy Parade, scheduled for February 23. 

“Today is special because we have a blessing of Lyft sponsoring this event,” Crenshaw explained. “We’re working with Black Joy, which is huge for us. There were 18,000 people and someone is going to be blessed with an opportunity to perform on their stage,” Crenshaw explains. 

Rappers, singers, and spoken word poets filled the room. With a full sign up roster, each artist received one five-minute slot to showcase their talents. Second Mondays’ audience members and participants had three “house rules”: Respect the mic, respect the person on the mic, and show love. “We want this to be a family affair. With consent, hug the person next to you,” Crenshaw said.

The first half of the evening featured an open mic, followed by a Cypher. Organizers announced the winner afterward: Jeremy Michael Vasquez and Jus Dizz.

The February 2020 Second Mondays event took place at Era Lounge and focused on ‘Black Joy.” Photo: Brandy Collins

Black Joy Parade was first introduced to Oakland in 2017. Their mission is to “provide the Black community and allies a live experience that celebrates our influence on cultures past, present and future,” according to their website. This year, Black Joy Parade sponsored various events throughout Oakland leading up to the parade, like Second Mondays.  With 18,000 people at the 2019 Parade, according to its organizers, they expect it to grow this year.

Second Mondays started in October in 2018 to support creatives and showcase their work of various forms. Gold Beams, the event organizer, is seeking sponsorship for their events.

All photos by Oakland Voices correspondent Brandy Collins.

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