How to Support NYC’s Black Community This Weekend

Donate, watch a virtual Shakespeare in the Park, shop online, and more.

In lieu of our regular weekend guide content, we’re offering ways to support the Black community in NYC from indoors this weekend (be sure to also check out other ways to support). Donate what you can, get involved with the cause, spend your time and money at some of these Black institutions, and stay safe.  

Watch an all-Black cast perform Shakespeare in the Park

Friday & Saturday
Cost: Free

PBS’ Great Performances is broadcasting the Shakespeare in the Park performance of Much Ado About Nothing starring Danielle Brooks as Beatrice until Saturday night. Filmed in the spring of 2019 with an all-Black cast, the madcap comedy brings as much joy to its outdoor audience as it did in the 1600s. Shakespeare in the Park tickets are notoriously hard to cop (you have to win a lotto or wait in line all day), so this is a chance to get a glimpse of some of the best art the city has to offer. 

Donate to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund

Cost: $-$$$

If you’re looking for ways to help beyond protesting, donate whatever you can to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, which is dedicated to paying bail for protestors arrested for demanding justice for George Floyd. While they’ve reached their goal for demonstration bail in NYC, they’re continuing to help bail and bond funds across the country. Even if you can only spare a buck or two, every dollar helps support the fight for justice in our city. 

Get to know dancers from the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre

Saturday, June 6, 1pm
Cost: Free (Donate Here)

Founded by the legendary African-American dancer and activist, Alvin Ailey, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is a prestigious modern dance company located in Hell’s Kitchen. The center’s programming includes performing companies, dance education, and community outreach with a focus on African-American heritage. While their current season is canceled due to COVID-19, join Ailey dancers on Saturdays at 1pm on the theater’s Instagram Live for a special “Conversations with” series with one of its 32 performers.

Order food from The Bergen in Crown Heights while donating a meal to those in need

Cost: $-$$$

The Bergen, a Black-owned restaurant in Crown Heights, offers a crowd-pleasing menu of seafood, burgers, salads, and more. To celebrate the summer season, order the Bergen Maine, a seafood platter available in both a half-pan or full-pan that comes with snow crab legs, roasted and steamed vegetables, and seafood rice with lobster, crab, and shrimp. The Bergen is also donating meals to families in need with an upcoming goal of reaching 5K free meals. Donate to their cause through multiple apps.
How to order: Via website, donate via Venmo (handle: @thebergenbk) or CashApp (handle: @bu2018)

Delve into exhibitions about the history of Black culture in New York

Cost: Free

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture was founded during the Harlem Renaissance and is the world’s leading research library devoted to documenting the history and cultural development of Black culture. Schomburg’s current online exhibitions are accessible to the public at no charge with a wide range of programs including Black New Yorkers, an exploration of 400 years of African-American history in New York; The African Burial Ground,  a look into the largest known intact colonial African cemetery in America located in Lower Manhattan; and Harlem 1900-1940, a timeline into the neighborhood’s history. Videos on additional topics and previous panel discussions are also available here.

Shop Brooklyn’s Black-owned businesses

Cost: $-$$$

Tayo Giwa and Cynthia Gordy Giwa, the husband-and-wife team behind Black-Owned Brooklyn, highlight Black-owned shops, bars and restaurants, and business owners. Follow them on Insta to drool over food pics, find a new favorite liquor store, or treat yourself to a cake you didn’t make yourself. Where you spend your money matters, and purposefully seeking out Black-owned businesses during these trying times can help keep your favorite spots afloat. 

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FYI: We’ve also got you covered with comprehensive guides to LA, SFMiami, DC, Austin, Boston, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, and San Diego -- just in case you’re ever out of town.
Rachel Pelz lives and writes in Brooklyn.