Whether it’s coming home or staying home, home being where the heart is seems to be the summer theme
For the second year in a row rapper and former Def Jam artist Mysonne held Merriam Avenue Bronx Community Day. The actual block was somewhat desolate because Merriam Playground on the corner was where the action was at. On the bench was a clown making animal balloons and painting children’s faces. Next to the bench were two enthusiastic women operating a cotton candy machine, the lines were long for both. One thing was missing…the music. Mysonne was working hard on the audio system trying to get the music playing. Finally he received a CD he’d been asking for according to his estimation four hours. Although members of radio station Radio 103.9 were in attendance no music had been heard until that point. Once the music started everyone gathered in a crowd to participate in group dances such as The Wobble, The Nae Nae, Cha Cha Slide, and the infamous Electric Slide. Mysonne who also participated in some of the dancing said he felt “compelled” and it was a “responsibility” of his to organize this event. “You profit, these people show their love and support to you and without them we are nothing. “When you get any level of success to where they look up to you it’s your duty to be able to give back”. Mysonne has been a resident of Merriam Avenue since he was the age of five. He, with the help of Tamika Mallory among others put together a peaceful, fun gathering on the small block between 169th and 170th.
National Action Network Executive Director and Community Activist, Tamika Mallory wearing a purple Radio 103.9 shirt was asked by Mysonne to put her community organizing hat on and “expand his ability to touch more people with this event” said Mallory. The Harlem native said she “understands the importance of coming back no matter where we are and giving back to our community”. Aside for the candy, arts and crafts, there was also a portable rock climbing apparatus was supplied by the NYPD. Mallory said “its important kids know what they see on the news is one small segment of the police department”. “They need to understand that is not the end all be all with the police. We’re not against police”. “It has to be clear to the police department specifically that they have to work overtime to ensure that the one or two people that go rogue within their department do not shine a negative light on the department” said Mallory regarding the recent epidemic of videotaped police brutality and excessive force.
Farther inside the playground by the monkey bars, The Bartendaz a group promoting outdoor and pull-up bar related exercises running since 2003, started by Brother Giant in local schools, shelters and GED programs. The Bartendaz were showing onlookers both young and old how to stay in shape by demonstrating exercises. They chose younger individuals from the crowd to participate in performing the exercises. Brother Giant had both men and women to showcase their strength and the importance of exercise. Giant was asked by a principal to create a curriculum at an alternative high school to deter students from cutting gym class. “One day I was outside in the park working out and one young lady said “Brother every time I see you on the bars you get me drunk.” And that was it, Bartendaz”. Their oldest member is 83. Giant wants everyone to “get some of this outside air and be more involved in your community”.
Mysonne’s mother Ms Pat which she’s called by her fellow block members has been resident of Merriam Avenue. for 35 years. She is a woman of mutual respect and acknowledgment. “This is what community should be about” said Pat who had at least five or six tables filled with food and condiments. “These three tables that you see, I’ve been up for three days” said Ms Pat. She beamed while explaining how proud she is of her son and how he’s giving back to the community he’s lived in for 35 years. “Everything he raps I play over and over and over”.
Miss Pat isn’t alone in reveling about the love for Mysonne. Throughout the day he was busy greeting and receiving gratitude from the people of Merriam. Well done for only the second block party in 35 years.