Silver Room Black Party

It was the summer of 2019 and I was back in Chicago. My cousins Jackie and Billie Ruth were now living together in wake of Billie’s medical issues, which required Jackie help for support. My last visit made me aware of the block party hosted by the Silver Room, a boutique in Hyde Park which caters to the Black community. Despite the gang violence, a somber occurrence of the displacement of residents of the Robert Taylor Houses and Cabrini Green, Chicago has a special flavor to me; a warm feeling of community acceptance. The Chicago African American Photographers (C.A.P.P.) group welcomed me and through their esteemed member Crystal, as I was able to assist in the hanging of their exhibition inside the Silver Room.

It was a creative afternoon of fun, foolishness, hard work and camaraderie. Being there the day before gave me a chance to check out the surrounding area and man it was huge! The following day was show-time and as usual Jackie and I arrived early. We found a great spot to chill; on some metal chairs with tables to the left of the bandstand, at the tip of the entrance at East 53rd Street. This is a premier occasion in the Chicago community. These event’s activities brings out vendors, families, and children; relatives, OG’s and friends from all over and don’t forget the many beautiful and stylish women.

Drawing and painting for the children, live music; African dance and performances by young musicians lit up the blocks as old friends gathered around to tell their exaggerated stories; thankful for many of the people they loved and grew up with, made it through another year. I moved through the crowd without a hitch. Jackie caught sight of an old friend with an unopened bottle of wine and they partied. Not a single incident took place; fortified with private security as well as Chicago PD. Everyone was on their best behavior, respecting an annual celebration, designed with the wonderful flavor of their city in mind.

On another note! Just as I finished writing this story my cousin Jackie called me early in the morning to tell me Billie Ruth had passed and that she’ll hold a memorial for her when the coast is clear from this Corona virus.

R.I.P. Billie Ruth        

Please visit Collector’s Gallery 1 & 2 on this website.

Blessings to everyone and STAY SAFE!