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July 3, 2024

Black Joy and Western Fashion Abound at The Lay Out in Brooklyn

by Minh Phan

This ain't Texas, this is The Lay Out at Fort Greene Park.

On Sunday, June 16 the historic park was filled with joy, cultural expression, and Black economic empowerment as thousands of attendees—many in their best western fits—gathered for The Lay Out’s fifth annual Juneteenth event. Founded by Emily Anadu, Bri McClain, Brittney Escovedo, Michael Oloyede, and Cyrus Aaron after the murder of George Floyd, the Brooklyn-based community initiative aims to create moments for Black people to reclaim space, time, energy—and most importantly, each other—in its mission to center Black joy. 

To kick off the celebratory function, attendees placed flowers—paint-by-number style—onto a wall, which served as a picture backdrop throughout the day. There was plenty to do and see as this year’s event featured a Black business marketplace, entertainment, family-friendly activities, and vendors serving diverse, local cuisine. Those who gathered enjoyed sounds by Quiana Parks, DJ 9am, DJ King SZN, and the BLKID Twins, dancing under the shady trees and mingling over picnic blankets.

For those inclined to shop, BuyBLK.—The Lay Out’s small, Black-owned business initiative was on site with a pop-up market of over 40 independent retailers. Elsewhere, event goers enjoyed basketball activities organized by The Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty. Additionally, The Lay Out continued its partnership with The Infatuation to support One Love Community Fridge, distributing 750 bags of fresh produce to NYCHA residents in Fort Greene.

Activities and sights were abundant, but no New York event would be complete without a crowd of eclectic, fashion-forward attendees. Denim, riding boots, and cowboy hats were seen at every turn; fitting to celebrate a holiday birthed in Texas.

Saddle up as Vogue takes you inside The Lay Out’s Juneteenth celebration, featuring some of the best western-inspired summer styles and more.