Nerdy Thursday: Design Night

 Culture. Cocktails. Conversations.

Nerdy Thursdays is the BGX Weekly Mixer.

#BGXNerdyThursdays #InsideBlackGotham

In honor of NYCxDESIGN, Nerdy Thursdays: Design Night will explore how various design disciplines (art, graphic design, architecture and more) are being used to celebrate the African Diaspora’s historic impact on New York City.

RSVP for May 17 Below

The Flow: 

5:30pm – 6:15pm | Mingle

6:15-7:30pm | Co-Curated with BlackSpace | Panel “Preserving Black Spaces” featuring Presentation by Roberta Washington, FAIA

Moderated by Ifeoma Ebo, BlackSpace and the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. Featuring Kadiatou Tubman, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture; Stephanye Watts, Weeksville Heritage Center; and Anaelechi (Anaele) Owunwanne of Freeform Deform. More info below.





8-10pm | Amahle Society Screening of “Quilombo” Film

10-11:30pm | Walking Tour – NYCxDESIGN Edition Buy Your Ticket


The “Preserving Black Spaces” panel will explore and challenge different perspectives (architectural, community engagement, education, design) on preserving different types of Black spaces – from historic and institutional, to ephemeral, to social.

BlackSpace is a collective of young, Black, NYC residents, changemakers, systems thinkers, learners, and lovers.  By bridging the gaps between policy, people, and place, BlackSpace allows for the greater understanding, access, and cooperation needed to address inequality and injustice.



Black Gotham Experience (BGX) is a visual storytelling project founded in 2010 that celebrates the impact of the African Diaspora on New York City through a series of walking tours and graphic novels



Roberta Washington, FAIA, has been principal of Roberta Washington Architects, PC since 1983. Prior to starting her own firm, Ms. Washington worked as a health facility planner/designer for various New York City architectural firms and later ran a design studio for Maputo Province in Mozambique where she designed healthcare, educational and cultural projects.

In her own firm, Roberta Washington has designed and acted as project director for dozens of new and renovated housing projects, schools and health facilities.

Ms. Washington is a past president of the National Organization of Minority Architects and a past chairperson of the New York State Board of Architecture. For six years she was also the Housing Committee chairperson and co-chair of the Land-Use Committee for Central Harlem’s Community Planning Board. Currently she serves on the board of the Center for Architecture Foundation where she was 2009 president. In 2006 she was elevated to the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows.


Ifeoma Ebo is a member of BlackSpace and an urban designer and strategist who strives to be a catalyst for social justice and design activism while addressing challenges of the urban milieu. As the Senior Design Advisor with the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, she leads interagency design and built environment initiatives exploring the use of design to address public safety and social justice in marginalized communities across NYC. In addition, she provides design guidance towards the development of more humane criminal justice facilities incorporating concepts of equity and procedural justice. Ifeoma is a 2016 Forefront Fellow of the NYC Urban Design Forum and Next City Vanguard Fellow.


Kadiatou Tubman is the Education Coordinator for the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Kadiatou has been working as an educator since undergrad where she spearheaded community services between her private institution and local public schools. Kadiatou graduated from Union College in 2013, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Africana Studies, her scholarship focusing on social and political movements within the African diaspora and critical race theory. In her role at the Schomburg Center, Kadiatou directly manages the Junior Scholar Program, where she applies an art-based and historical literacy approach critical thinking and restorative practice. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is recognized as one of the leading institutions focusing exclusively on African-American, African Diaspora, and African experiences.


A graduate of Clark Atlanta University, Stephanye R. Watts serves as the Community Engagement Manager at Weeksville Heritage Center, a one-of-a-kind 21st-century cultural institution with a 180-year history. When the Philadelphia native isn’t pushing the Black agenda, she is the woman behind the world’s only R&B trivia night, #RhythmNBodyroll and the Black music podcast, The Psyce. Weeksville Heritage Center’s mission is to document, preserve and interpret the history of the 19th century African American community of Weeksville, Brooklyn – one of America’s many free black communities and to create and inspire innovative, contemporary uses of African American history through education, the arts, and civic engagement.


Anaelechi (Anaele) Owunwanne is an American-born Nigerian graduate of Cornell University with 15 years experience working on projects in New York City, Miami, Texas, Jamaica, Nigeria, and Tanzania. Since 2009, he has led Freeform Deform (FF+D), a design-driven architecture firm providing a broad spectrum of architectural services from customized interiors to large-scale city planning projects such as the Caton Flats project in the Caribbean neighborhood of Flatbush.  Owunwanne serves on the board of The New York Chapter of The National Organization of Minority Architects (nycobaNOMA).







Thanks to our Nerdy Thursday sponsor MetroPlus Health Plan and foundational supporter The Howard Hughes Corporation.


RSVP for May 17 below


*Segments of the experience may be live-streamed to and/or recorded for broader social consumption and promotion.*

Nerdy Thursdays are curated by Kamau Ware, BGX Founder & Lead Creative, and William Ellis, BGX Experience Curator.


Caribbean Cinema Nights Kickoff

Caribbean Cinema Nights at Black Gotham Experience (BGX) Studio kicks off with a screening of the documentary “Scars of Our Mothers’ Dreams” and conversation with filmmaker Meschida Philip and Daily Beast editor Tamara Best + a screening of The SeaWall (6-7:30pm), followed by a signature BGX walking tour experience (7:30-9pm) exploring the hidden history of rebellion and migration in early New York City.  In partnership with the Caribbean Film Academy and PrintbyPrint Group, the premiere event of this summer-long series combines BGX’s celebration of the African Diaspora’s impact on NYC dating back to 1625 with the richness of modern-day cinema and storytelling from the Diaspora.

Free ice cream samples provided by Caribbean Cinema Nights sponsor Crème and Cocoa – first come, first serve!

Caribbean Cinema Nights, is CaFA’s longest running screening series, bringing Caribbean films to various venues in Brooklyn.

Each screening (6-7:30pm) comes with the opportunity to go on one of Black Gotham Experience‘s interactive walking tours (7:30-9pm).


SERIES PASS (for May 11, June 29, July 13, and August 10 screenings): $35
SERIES PASS + TOUR: $55 ($10 discount!)

About CaFA:
Established in 2012, CaFA, is a NY not-for-profit created to share Caribbean films and support Caribbean filmmakers, in the region and the diaspora. CaFA’s work provides platforms for the exhibition, production, and distribution of Caribbean stories, worldwide.

About Black Gotham Experience:
Established in 2010 by artist/historian Kamau WareBlack Gotham Experience (BGX) is an immersive visual storytelling project that celebrates the impact of the African Diaspora on New York City since 1625. BGX reimagines the histories of the places directly impacted by the African Diaspora as human stories through interactive walking tours, a developing series of photography-based graphic novels, and events. The heart of this experience are three stories that revisit Manhattan in 1623 and move forward through three centuries: Other Side of Wall Street, Caesar’s Rebellion, and Citizen Hope.

About PrintbyPrint Group
PrintbyPrint Group (PbPG) is a NYC-based curatorial Arts Education and Advocacy group that uses twenty first century mediums and digital tools to network with industry professionals; providing the public, emerging artists and students from underrepresented groups, with educational and unique events/ experiences, workshops, and access to resources and The Arts. Through our partnerships with emerging artists, local businesses, public education institutions and private corporations/ organizations, we are focused on providing engaging creative experiences to the general public.

Walking Tour: Sarah’s Fire | NYCxDESIGN Edition

Black Gotham Experience walking tours use storytelling and design devices like character cards and projections to bring you into a reconstructed British New York. Through explorations of past and present architecture, participants will witness the impact of the African Diaspora on the making of New York City. During this tour, we’ll explore what’s missing from the urban landscape of Lower Manhattan to uncover stories of rebellion, freedom, empire building and monuments.

Buy Your Ticket

The tour is part of a larger night of mingling, design and discussion: BGX Nerdy Thursday: Design Night.

More on the tour
Sarah’s Fire

Length: 90 minutes

Sarah’s Fire is set in the 18th century of British New York and shares a tale set on the southern tip of the island Manhattan that is home to the wealthy master class, merchants, pirates, sailors, indentures, prostitutes, free Black people, and enslaved Africans. This walking tour explains how the enslaved and free people of African descent worked together to subvert the system of slavery and define a culture of rebellion. Central to this story is an enslaved woman named Sarah, likely pregnant, who risked her life to fight for freedom. The fire that she weaponizes will reflect other rebellions taking place on West Indian sugar plantations and will culminate with the first armed Black rebellion in 1712.

Tours meet at the BGX Studio at 192 Front Street in Manhattan’s Seaport District between Fulton Street and John Street; right next to the Broadway Tickets store.

Train Access: A, C, 2, 3, 4, 5, J, or Z to Fulton Street