Mixer encourages island pride in Flatbush locals

Meet the owner: Shelley V. Worrell, founder and executive director and of CaribBEING House, a non-profit arts and cultural space for Caribbean culture.
Shelley V. Worrell, founder and executive director of CaribBEING.

Caribbean creatives networked at a mixer event to celebrate their pride and heritage in East Flatbush on June 17.

About 60 people came to mingle, dance, and learn about each other for the first Caribbean Huenity Mixer, held at the caribBEING House in the Flatbush Caton Market plaza. The most powerful activity of the night for some guests, was a writing exercise where they wrote down their ethnicity and what it meant to them.

“Everyone had a good time writing about their heritage,” said Shaneika Gayle, who also goes by DJ Queen. “Our cultures are rich and strong — it taught me a lot.”

The mixer was a joint idea created by Museum Hue and CaribBEING. The gathering brought everyone in the community together according to one organizer, and an unforgettable moment were the guests and locals joining together.

“It was a very young and artistic crowd, so having them converge at the CaribBEING House, in the middle of Flatbush to celebrate Caribbean culture was the most memorable experience,” said Shelley Worrell, founder of CaribBEING House. “People were literally on Flatbush dancing until 11 o’clock at night.”

Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke (D—Flatbush) also stopped by to talk about her connection to Flatbush Caton Market. One planner praised the growing crowds, and attested that the locale of the mixer was a great way to bring in more customers to the market.

“Because it was outdoors and open to the public, people who were passing by were able to come in and enjoy the music, whether they were Caribbean or not,” said Stephanie Cunningham, co-founder of Museum Hue. “It was surprising to hear folks from Flatbush say they’ve never gone to the market before today.”

Based on the success of the mixer, Worrell and Cunningham are already making plans for future events.

“We’re in talks right now on how we can do a monthly event,” said Worrell.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com.

More from Around NYC