Today, Ms. Ahmed, Mr. Ali and Mr. Hamad collaborate with the Brooklyn Museum and the New York City Parks Department to hold Everyday People events. In recent months, the partners have organized events in Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C. But three New York-based parties form the core of the business: a hip-hop and R&B event at the Watermark Bar on South Street, a Caribbean-influenced party at La Marina in Upper Manhattan, and an African music dance party at Output.
The Output party drew about 1,800 guests on Memorial Day and showcased African dance music by Electrafrique, a dance party based in Dakar, Senegal. OkayAfrica, a media platform featuring African music and culture, was a sponsor. “There’s a whole musical wave out of Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa being played in nightclubs all over the world and setting trends,” Mr. Hamad said. “In the past two or three years, I’ve been able to make a living playing the music I love.”
The rising popularity of Afrobeats, Mr. Hamad said, is symbolic of the growing popularity of African culture among African-Americans, which is recognized not just by those who attend Everyday People parties, but by brands like Bacardi, Nike and Samsung that are marketing to them.
Zandile Blay, 34, a journalist from Jersey City and the editorial director of OkayAfrica, recently spent time in Nigeria. It was the first time, she said, that she saw “en masse so many smart, well-educated, focused, vibrant, happy, stylish youth that looked like me.”
The first time she witnessed a similar scene in the United States was at an Everyday People party. “It makes me realize that magic — that black magic — is not only on the continent,” she said. “At this party, you get to see this is real and it’s happening in America.”