CHICAGO | October 24, 2015 --
Last week, for the second month in a row, I attended and photographed the stylish and avant garde Hyde Park day party known as Party Noire. Organized and curated by Lauren Ash (of BlackGirlInOm), Leah-Dene Nickecia (of BlackGirlFly Magazine), and DJ Rae Chardonnay, Party Noire is a unique experience whose dimensions are just starting to reveal themselves.
Attended by chic contemporary black millennial artists, intelligentsia and literati, and guest deejayed each month by a different set of artists (last month it was the shade-designing internet celebrity duo Coco and Breezy; this month it was fashion and makeup guru DJ ADORA TOKYO and Chicago mainstay DJ Kwest-On), the party is quickly becoming indicative of the renaissance-level creative energy in the city in general, and in Hyde Park in particular.
Held at the blipster paradise called Promontory on 53rd and Lake Park, Party Noire has been an organic extension of the neighborhood's growth. As a Hyde Park resident these past few years, I've seen the massive structures materialize, almost overnight, a phenomenon so swift and dazzling that its resonances aren't likely to be understood until after the efforts are consummated. The tenor of the neighborhood is changing, and as is usually the case with such changes, art is the magnet, as the cool quotient of a neighborhood eventually coincides with a rise in property values.
But perhaps Party Noire gives one reason to hope. The particular advantage of its collection of attendees is that as young, stylish, black creative entrepreneurial and academic standouts, they are in a unique position to aid in the manifesting of a movement concerned with the interior and collective lives of their peers. Gatherings such as this, in concert with efforts across the spectra of contemporary young life, are striking because they speak to the potential of people of our generation to forge unexpected coalitions and to experiment with form. What results is what happens when the creative and intellectual salon meets the jook joint: a party for our times.
Here's hoping that what it makes lasts a long time.
(All photographs (c) Reginald Eldridge, Jr 2015)