The Wake Up! Crew.
People dance to music in a room lit with blue and purple. A dj plays music in the back.
The scene at The Wake Up event at 7:45 a.m. Photo, Natasha Johnson.

The Wake Up, an early morning, all-ages dance party and fundraiser event for the Brooklyn Movement Center was a great example of how to party with a purpose and without a drop of alcohol!

The “dry” party, organized to raise funds for BMC, a grassroots social justice organizing group based in Bed-Stuy, was held at C’mon Everybody who donated the space for the event.

[perfectpullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]”This isn’t just a party about relaxation; it’s a party about rejuvenation and aligning your efforts,” said Natasha Johnson.[/perfectpullquote]

Natasha Johnson, activist, lawyer, and avid dancer, initially created The Wake Up as a response to the shooting in a Charleston church last year that resulted in nine deaths. The name of the event is a homage to Spike Lee’s “School Daze” where the “wake up” yelled at the film’s end is also a call to action and collective consciousness.

“This isn’t just a party about relaxation,” said Johnson. “It’s a party about rejuvenation and aligning your efforts and assessing where your power and your strengths are. People generally tend to have more intentionality at the beginning of the day than at the end.”

Event organizer Natasha Johnson outside the venue C’mon Everybody. Photo, Natasha Johnson.

BMC Executive Director Mark Winston Griffith said, “You have to be willing to do things a little differently, and stand up in a social justice moment that is not a traditional one.”

The first Wake Up team poses for a group photo. Photo, Natasha Johnson.

He noted that it wasn’t anything new for a an organization or an individual to approach them about holding an event for their cause. “What’s new is maybe the hour.”

Attendee/beneficiary Opal Ayo, co-founder of BLM dances at The Wake Up. Photo, Natasha Johnson.

The Wake Up is a dry event that welcomes people of all ages and asks people to be “present” rather than relaxed. Johnson’s described it best with: “Using the physicality of the dance to remind you that once you leave there you should be charged to do whatever those things are that you do for that day. Even if that means just being alive because that is a revolution in and of itself; that is a form of activism, of resistance and resiliency.”


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