Art, Culture & Events USA

Cultural Crawl DC & Why We Need More Black Boy Joy

July 27, 2018

I recently attended my first pub crawl state side. This “Cultural Crawl,” was  super unique in that it served as a gathering for people of color and focused on highlighting the art scene of the neighborhood and city that we were in – which happened to be in DC. But they are taking this awesome event around the US so see if they are coming to your city next.

I was excited to be invited to not only the Cultural Crawl, but also the art exhibit they had this year, “Black Boy Joy.” The exhibit was a great chance to get to know the founders of the Cultural Crawl, and the CC Collective, their in house art organization. I also got to chat with the models and get a better sense of the beautiful work they are all doing.

“Cultural Crawl is founded by three black creatives from Washington, D.C. with the goal to create a safe and inclusive space for individuals/groups to drink, eat and explore. The crawl travels nationwide in support of local businesses and the street art/murals surrounding them. The “Get up, get out & crawl” initiative encourages participants to take advantage of the event & explore what these neighborhoods have to offer by walking and/or biking to multiple locations.”

Black Boy Joy Exhibit

This year, the the Cultural Crawl is traveling with an art exhibit called “Black Boy Joy,” which depicts Black men and boys smiling, holding flowers, and otherwise in their element. The exhibit itself was a bit underwhelming but I think that’s simply because of the nature of the paper they were printed on. But the images themselves were breathtaking. Perhaps something framed would have looked more exciting. That said, the artistry behind the concept and photography is not lost. Especially, once you get to view the video that was created in the process of shooting these powerful images.

Conversations around masculinity and the freedom for boys to be whomever they want to be, is still so needed in this society, especially for Black men. For decades we have talked about girls being able to be whatever they want, but this has often left young boys to grow up in the rigid, and often toxic box, of masculinity. Moving towards a world where everyone can be whomever they want to be is essential to a truly just society; as are conversations around society coming to value the traits and images that are labeled feminine.

The Black Boy Joy exhibit is a beautiful step in that direction.

Cultural Crawl DC

And given that it was immediately followed by a fun evening of drinks, laughter, new friends, music and lots of art appreciate – I don’t know a better way to celebrate Black Boy Joy in all its manifestations. The vibes of the whole evening was wonderful, and an incredible range of people were out and about to support local artists and businesses – and we could easily spot each other as we strutted around with our orange souvenir cups. I even met a lovely couple with a blog on being People of Color, where they spread love, light and positivity.

So if the Cultural Crawl is coming to a city near you, I strongly suggest you check it out.


Here are some pictures of Chineme and I exploring U Street – the very thoughtfully chosen location for DC’s cultural crawl.

Have you been to a pub crawl before? Do you think it’s something you would like to attend?




Omolayo Nkem


*All pictures, except the last set, were provided by the Culture Crawl team. 

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