The National Business Aviation Association(NBAA) hosted an Urban Mixer night in Harlem, NY that was a collection of black excellence, black voices, and black empowerment.
The NBAA, a non-profit organization mission, according to its site, is “To foster an environment that allows business aviation to thrive in the United States and around the world,” with other organizations in attendance created a space for Black culture to exist within arts, education, and business.
To attend an Urban Mixer event is also to experience it’s history since it’s early 90s existence. In 2015, National Association-NY (NBMBAA) member and current Vice President Admin George Sainteus was brought on-board to rebrand the mixer to UpMixer and bring in the Art & Fashion industries.
“For five years, the series of UPMIXERs have convened influential leaders in business, government, education, media, tech, and health care for a powerful networking experience and celebration. While raising vital unrestricted funding for multiple scholarships and community projects in areas we term HEET (Health, Economic empowerment, Education, and Technology Initiatives).”
One of those leaders is Creative Director of Harlem Fashion Week Yvonne Jewnell, who, in 2016, along with her mother, Tandra Birkett co-founded Harlem Fashion Week.
“It(UpMixer) is a platform for emerging designers within the Harlem community. An opportunity for us to give designers a platform and a voice in a place where they didn’t have an opportunity before during New York Fashion Week.”
The UpMixer also serves as a host for multiple Black organizations that push to strengthen the community. Vice President of One Hundred Black Men Founding Chapter of NYC Tyrone McKinney speaks on their services:
“We mentor young men. We give out $100,000 away a year in scholarships. We’re the founders Eagle Academy, a department of education school founded for young men of color. Thanksgiving and Christmas, we give away about $75,000 worth of food to underserved communities.”
While Denisha McPerson, who is the President of National Society Of Black Engineers NYC Professional Chapter, talks passionately what the organization does to encourage black youth to take an interest in math and science:
“So part of the things that we do is provide programming from kindergarten all the way through 12 grade, a very STEM-based programming. We have a pre-college initiative program where we take youth all around the country, and they see other people who look like them because representation matters.”
The stage also is set for Black ownership with Ray Lowe owner of Rayon Cognac, the only black-owned XO product in the country and CEO/Co-founder of Saint Gabriel Gardens art gallery Bayo Gbowu who speaks on one of the keys to Black freedom.
“We should continue to express ourselves through art as African Americans, but there’s also some level of liberation by ownership as we all know that’s part of what has always helped to free African Americans.”
The UpMixer is a platform that showcases diverse levels in blackness from art & fashion to education & empowerment that helps prepare the youth for a brighter future while providing a present renaissance for black creatives and professionals for the betterment of black purpose.