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The Juneteenth Dashiki Block Party

By Megan Davis

The Truth Contributor


Rain was in the forecast but it didn’t overshadow the shine of the entrepreneurs and guests who participated in  and attended the Juneteenth Dashiki Block Party.


On June 15, the community came together to celebrate Juneteenth, the official Independence Day for African Americans. This independence was more than about marking the end of slavery,it also liberated people to curate their own careers, whether by pursuing literacy or by establishing businesses of their own to serve their communities. This new freedom enabled free men to acquire land once owned by slaveowners and to even participate in the political process.


Today, the spirit of liberty, education and commerce is strong in Toledo’s black community. This was evident as 20 black-owned small businesses set up mobile boutiques, galleries and concessions at Powell’s Beauty and Barber Supply, located at the corner of Nebraska Avenue and Miller Street.

The sidewalks were lined with tents as vendors came prepared, rain or shine, to present their goods and services to the community in this one day event. On the upper level of Powell’s building, additional vendors were set up with their displays and staff ready to serve new and returning customers.


These businesses were family owned – parents and their children and husbands and wives were managing all aspects of each business from customer engagement to suggesting merchandise and completing sales. These are the businesses that build families and provide a legacy for the next generation to grow and build upon. A legacy that the Powell family has exemplified for over 50 years.


There can’t be a block party without a dope soundtrack to shop to, so DJ Miss T was spinning neo soul, R & B and new trends in black music throughout the day from Jill Scott to Lil Nas and everything in between along with karaoke that brave souls signed up to sing to.

Throughout the event, over 100 guests pulled up, donning vibrant Dashikis, including Kente and Ankara abstract prints. Men and women with  bold natural hairstyles such as Afros, locs, braids and gorgeous headwraps, some of which were wrapped by Meeche El, creator of Otswanii who also adorned children with tribal face paint; made for a day of connecting and embracing blackness in all of its glory.


Michal Hamilton, owner of Michal T. Productions, LLC was a part of the block party, transforming the main entrance to Powells into a dance floor with his dance partner Amanda,  bringing Latin Soul flavor with a salsa demonstration, followed by a group lesson for guests, despite the rain that arrived in the mid afternoon. He is an instructor at the Azuca Social in Maumee, as well as offering salsa, Bachata and Kizomba classes throughout the region.


“Rain doesn’t stop people from going to Walmart or out to eat, so why would we cancel today?”  said Kendra Pinkelton of Glass City Skincare when responding to questions from potential guests. She was stationed near the Powell entrance and there was no shortage of foot traffic for her or any of the vendors that included Jewelry by Kathy, U Collins, Natural Vibe or Taharah’s Garden. In fact, the traffic was steady throughout the day inside and outside, as people shopped for Father’s Day gifts, unique items for the home, clothing and hair and body goods.


If there was any question as to whether or not Toledo supports local, there was no doubt when the community streamed in and out of the Juneteenth Dashiki Block Party. For those who were presenting their goods and services for the very first time, they expressed joy at the response they received from their consumers. 


This love shown to the small businesses represented was echoed as Toledo’s Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz sent a proclamation to the event, both acknowledging and honoring Calvin Powell and his family who has been the only black-owned business to have survived throughout the changing economy and demographics for more than 50 years in Toledo.


The document highlighted the challenges blacks faced during the Civil Rights Movement and the opportunities blacks had to create during those times in order to grow and thrive. The proclamation was presented by Megan Davis of The Kitchen Salon and coordinator of the Juneteenth Block Party.


When asked what is ahead for Powell’s, Calvin stated that with such a great response, “we may have to do this again before the year is out and definitely next June!”


Powell’s Beauty and Barber Supply is open Mondays from 1:00 p.m - 6:00 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday 8:30 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. and Saturdays 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m..




Copyright © 2019 by [The Sojourner's Truth]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 06/26/19 22:04:06 -0400.



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