It was a celebration of Central Brooklyn!
Hundreds of revelers hit Eastern Parkway on June 24 to toast the cultural contributions of individuals and institutions hailing from neighborhoods in the heart of the borough, including a Bedford-Stuyvesant–born, award-winning performer honored at the bash who thrilled attendees with a surprise show.
Grammy-winning rapper Big Daddy Kane, who has collaborated with legends including Biz Markie and Quincy Jones over his more than three-decade career, returned to his native stomping grounds for Borough President Eric Adams’ Central Brooklyn Arts and Culture Walk, where he received a key to Kings County and treated locals to some of his signature sounds.
“I loved seeing Big Daddy Kane get the key — he told us it was his day off, but he performed anyway, and people enjoyed it,” said Brownsville resident Yvonne Mullings.
Kane joined other acts that included dance performances and live poetry readings at the third-annual event, according to Mullings, who said she and a friend stumbled upon the festivities as they unfolded along the parkway between Flatbush and Washington avenues, and then stuck around until the last entertainer took a final bow.
“I stayed ‘til the end and had an absolutely great time,” she said. “The spoken-word performances and the dance groups were amazing.”
Some who spoke on one of the block party’s two stages used their time at the mic to honor the area’s past by reminding the crowd of the current challenges its residents face, including one ever-present phenomenon that could radically alter the diverse neighborhoods as it inches deeper into Brooklyn, Mullings said.
“They really impressed me when they spoke about gentrification, and asked people to see the bigger picture,” she said. “Everyone was in awe.”
The Beep’s open-air affair enthralled Mullings so much that the self-proclaimed homebody said she will seek out similar future soirées in order to keep the good times rolling.
“This event awakened me,” she said. “I don’t get out much, but after this, I’m going to seek out more cultural events.”