On Sunday, June 16, The Lay Out hosted its annual Juneteenth event, drawing thousands to celebrate in Fort Greene Park. This year’s event, “The Five on It Edition,” marked the fifth anniversary of The Lay Out’s Juneteenth festivities, centering Black joy through Black expression, social impact, and cooperative economics in a day-long community-centered celebration.   

Originated in the summer of 2020 by Emily Anadu, The Lay Out is a Brooklyn-based community initiative celebrating Black joy through its unique Joy Ecosystem — the intersection of Black expression, cooperative economics and social impact.credit-vonecia-carswell

“The beautiful energy and unity felt at The Lay Out today reaffirms our commitment to centering Black joy in everything we do,” said Emily Anadu, originator and CEO of The Lay Out. “This isn’t just a celebration, but a movement to reclaim space and uplift each other. Juneteenth is a powerful reminder of the Black community’s resilience, and we are so proud to contribute to the day with a demonstration of joy, culture, social impact and economic empowerment.” 

Juneteenth commemorates the date when the last enslaved Black Americans were finally freed, two years following the Emancipation Proclamation, and its recognition as a federal holiday in 2021 has sparked nationwide celebrations of freedom and resilience. In a city as diverse and culturally rich as New York, honoring this day underscores the vital contributions of the Black community to the city’s cultural and economic fabric. The Lay Out’s celebration not only highlights these contributions but also gives back to the community and empowers local Black entrepreneurs. 

Highlights from the event included engaging family friendly activities including basketball activities run by The Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty, tennis clinics in partnership with TNT’s Bleacher Report and King’s County Tennis Leagues, and everything from double dutch to dominos, in partnership with adidas Community.    

Also powered by adidas Community, Floral Artist, Sufiya Flores of X&O Blooms, and Dieynaba Diop of Teranga Flower Farm, collaborated to bring together The Lay Out’s vision for a community floral wall. Framed by the renowned framing studio, Downing Frames, it enabled attendees to place flowers, paint-by-number style into a mural that formed the picture backdrop for the day.   

The Lay Out’s small, Black-owned business initiative, BuyBLK. ByBLK, hosted a pop-up market featuring over 40 Black-owned businesses, an array of products, from creative crafts to Black and Caribbean cuisine.  

Following the main event, The Lay Out partnered with DIAGEO and its brands Crown Royal, CÎROC, Don Julio, and Seedlip as they put on the first official edition of ‘The Let Out’ after-party at the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard.  

The success of this year’s event reflects the community’s dedication to celebrating Black heritage and supporting local Black-owned businesses. The Lay Out partnered with The Infatuation to support One Love Community Fridge as they distributed 750 bags of fresh produce to NYCHA residents in Fort Greene.

While the annual Juneteenth celebration is The Lay Out’s largest event, the community platform curates spaces year-round for Black creative expression and the nourishment of collective joy, rest, and reunion. Existing event series include The Make Out, a makers’ workshop; The Wash Out, a fun take on doing laundry; The Knock Out, a community kickboxing program; and more. With thousands of supporters and a growing list of partners, The Lay Out continues to make a significant impact on New York City’s cultural landscape.