Culture

Hypebae Joins To Many More x Nike's Block Party

Championing community.

1,359 Hypes

For many city dwellers, but particularly New Yorkers, the stoop is the unofficial meeting ground, serving as a rest stop and gathering place where gossip is spread, cards are laid down and “be safe” is the go-to farewell.

The stoop embodies community, which is at the very heart of To Many More as founders Devine Blacksher and Kalysse Anthony sought out to create something that put the neighbor back in neighborhood. Born out of the desire to establish a safe space for people of color to not only congregate, but share their artistry and creativity, To Many More brings local, small businesses together, putting their good work out in the open for their community to experience. In the midst of rising housing costs and rampant gentrification, amplifying and supporting BIPOC-owned businesses places marginalized voices at the forefront. For New York Fashion Week, To Many More partnered with Nike to host a block party, spotlighting women-led organizations, such as 2 Girls & A Cookshop and Solo Scoop Creamery, furthering their mission to empower the brownstone.

Continue scrolling below to immerse yourself in the block party and hear more from Devine and Kalysee on the importance of building and championing community.

to many more nike block party brooklyn new york Devine Blacksher  Kalysse Anthony

How did you meet and decide to create To Many More?

Kalysse: We met through mutual friends because w were both doing stoop sales. We decided to collaborate and talked about doing something bigger.

How have you seen New York change since you’ve lived here?

Devine: I’ve only lived here for nine years and I’m still in awe of how much it has changed. It started feeling like there wasn’t a space for Black community. What To Many More is trying to do is uplift those that have always been a part of this community, but also remind people that look like us that we have a right to be here and we can reclaim this space.

K: With gentrification, that means natives are being pushed out. Going outside is a constant reminder. Even when you’re trying to do the smallest errands, you’re constantly reminded that not only within the neighborhood and the people that you see in the community, but how businesses are changing and what went from being a predominantly Black neighboorhood is now the opposite. Before there were small businesses and now they’re being replaced by Chipotle or a Shake shack. Corporate companies are coming to neighborhoods that no one wanted to live in before. On one hand, it’s cool to have options, but they’re clearly trying to appease to transplants and not necessarily natives when they’re bringing in these types of businesses. The overall energy is different too. Rather than greeting one another, everyone’s on their phone.

to many more nike block party brooklyn new york Devine Blacksher  Kalysse Anthony

On the surface, bringing in companies like Whole Foods or Chipotle may seem beneficial, but how does it hurt the financial ecosystem, especially for people of color?

K: Bedstuy is a food desert, so for convenience sake, it can be good to have those options, but when you look at the bigger picture, it’s suppressing opportunities for more Black business to thrive in the neighborhood. It’s making the commercial and rent for real estate rise significantly, so it’s incredibly detrimental to the native residents.

to many more nike block party brooklyn new york Devine Blacksher  Kalysse Anthony

How is To Many More preserving Brooklyn’s cultural history?

D: We’re not doing anything new here, we’re just bringing back something that for a period of time wasn’t happenining because people weren’t gathering, but what we’re doing is just a reminder of how coming together can be beautiful and joyous. It’s inspiring and I think that alone has a ripple effect. At our recent block party, the photographer was taking phoots and she was crying a little bit. For me, it’s just paying homage to what this community is used to and creating a powerful visual of people of color in community. 

to many more nike block party brooklyn new york Devine Blacksher  Kalysse Anthony

K: It’s always been a part of Devine’s and my mission to pay our respects to the past and highlight the importance of the stoop, block parties  and these public gatherings. We’ve grown rapidly in the time we’ve been here and it’s our responsibility to bring other people in, collaborate and create the space for Black and brown entrepreneurs and businesses.

to many more nike block party brooklyn new york Devine Blacksher  Kalysse Anthony

How is To Many More the antidote to New York’s hustle and grind culture?

D: We should all be working together to build because if we’re not working together to build and we are competing against each other, I don’t think we can really go anywhere. We’re inclusive and we’re also making people feel welcomed whether they’re Black, brown or whatever. We want you to feel welcome, no matter what. 

K: New York can hurt you in many ways, but To Many More provides a shared safe space where no one’s judging you, it’s just a good vibe.

to many more nike block party brooklyn new york Devine Blacksher  Kalysse Anthony

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