When I got to Manhattan on Saturday, November 20, after a bumpy four-and-a-half hour bus ride, I didn’t know what to expect. Not only was it my first time in the city, I was there to attend HBO’s first “Scene in Black” event. The event, centered on the new DMX documentary, featured a premiere showing of the doc, a live conversation with director Chritopher Frierson and event host Brandon “Jinx” Jenkins, and a performance by Jadakiss.
That’s all I really knew about the event, thanks to an emailed itinerary, but other than that I was completely in the dark about what the whole thing was going to look like. You can imagine how terrifying this concept was when it came to picking out what to wear. After arriving in Manhattan and following the music to the location of the party, I can confidently say that what I experienced was definitely what I was expecting.
As soon as I walked through the door, I was met by six or seven employees wearing Squid Games-esque black formal attire and carrying trays full of drinks I wouldn’t have been able to afford in any other setting. The huge, once empty Manhattan warehouse was filled to the brim with people, backyard party games like Jenga, photo booths, murals, and popping music. Delicious, homemade dishes were prepared and served by local vendors like Aunt et Uncles, Grandchamps, and Footprints Cafe.
I’ve never cried when eating pasta, but the tender, garlicky cajun-style rasta pasta and shrimp and jerk chicken might have made my eyes sweat just a little. If that didn’t work, the water works definitely appeared after the showing of the DMX documentary, Don’t Try To Understand, followed by powerful performances from Asiahn and Jadakiss to close the night out.
HBO absolutely showed out for the launch party of their “Scene in Black” initiative. An initiative meant to spotlight original content made for and by black creatives for HBO Max. Don’t Try To Understand, was the focus of this SiB party, a “family-reunion” style event that emphasized the film’s focus on DMX’s connection to his loved ones and his community.
All in all, HBO’s “Scene in Black” launch party. Here’s hoping more events like this, that celebrate and bring together the African American community, are planned for the foreseeable future. Check out some images from the launch party below!