Summer is here and the Black Market Flea is booming with empowering Black businesses in Los Angeles!
The Black Market Flea is an event that takes place at the Beehive in South Los Angeles. This cultural experience occurs monthly and is filled with Black vendors who sell a variety of vintage clothes, paintings, jewelry and delicious food.
The uniqueness of the Black Market Flea goes beyond elevating Black businesses in the LA area. People gravitate to this space with the influence of embodying their own fashion styles and blends of culture within the African diaspora.
Serving as a space for Black creators to express themselves through an environment embedded in fashion and music, the Black Market Flea shows the true epitome of Black culture – exemplifying what it means to be a part of a thriving community that is supportive of one another’s success in business.
Black creatives who enter the space to share and sell their work is a key factor to what makes the Black Market Flea so unique.
Twenty-four-year old Shaylen Nelson is among one of the many vendors at the Black Market Flea. Through his paintings, Nelson strives to incorporate his unique style of creativity with subject matters that he finds important. He surrounds himself in an environment that provides the outlet needed for him to execute his work in artistry.
“The fact that I'm selling my pieces to such a special crowd that I could resonate with makes me want to create new and better pieces,” Nelson said.
“The Black Market Flea is such an anomaly where you get to just see black people having a great time and who are willing to engage and talk about artistic things.”
Nelson believes his work caters to an afro-influenced audience, making his time as a vendor for the Black Market Flea worthwhile. Connecting with these local attendees and vendors is what amplifies Nelson's commitment to showing up for events such as this one.
Rah-San “Sage!” Bailey, a 20-year-old fashion photographer, frequents the Black Market Flea to capture people's fits and personalities.
“I just feel like good fits, cute fits, and hard fits deserve to be documented,” Bailey said.
“I realized it was like a really beautiful way to meet people and to connect with people and also document people through change and what they're going through.’
Bailey sees the market flea as an opportunity to connect with other curators while also using their photography as a way to portray changes through life.
Shika Acolatse, 21, is currently enrolled in the Stella Adler Academy of Acting and Theatre in Los Angeles. She believes that experiencing the Black Market Flea firsthand plays an inspiring role with the younger generation.
“Growing up, we did not see as many people that look like us doing things that are self employed. It shows the younger generation that they can do these things from a young age,” Acolatse said.
The Black Market Flea makes everlasting possibilities in which young Black creatives and entrepreneurs can market and present themselves. Many people see this as a way to be authentically expressive at the event.
“I feel like I can come there with my hair out, a unique makeup look, and wear whatever makes me feel good because I know I’m stepping into a place that gives me the space to be myself,” Acolaste said.
These infectious vibes last till the very end of the event, when notable artists are typically invited to showcase their discography, bringing friends and family together for enjoyment. Artists who have performed at the Black Market Flea include Saba, Anderson.Paak, Isaiah Rashad and Inglewood native SiR.
The Black Market Flea's success is rooted in the diversity and support system that Black people show endlessly throughout each event that is hosted. Over the past year, the turnout has grown immensely as more people are encouraged to show up, be themselves and support local businesses.
The next market flea will take place on Saturday. Stay tuned for live performances, talented vendors and delicious foods. If you’re looking to show up at a summer turnup, the Black Market Flea is the first stop!
Rodney Manford (he/him) is a senior at San Diego State University majoring in journalism. He covers topics in social justice and culture and arts. You can follow him on Instagram: @rodneymanford.
Edited by NaTyshca Pickett