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Newark First Fridays Are Back For The Fifth Season

Black man with dreads smiling in front of flower mural painting.
Brit Harley, WBGO
Isaiah Little

March 21, 2020 was the beginning of something New Jersey residents never imagined to be a possibility, statewide lockdown. Vacation plans were ruined, festivals canceled and lots of businesses closed down for good due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Midway through Spring 2021, the world is evolving to a new normal and people are once again outside confidence and surgical masks. Although this time of year is all about fun for some, for others it’s also about business. I spoke to Isaiah Little, founder of Newark First Fridays to find out about the origins of the summertime monthly festival and why mixing business with entertainment is good for the culture of the city.

According to Facebook and The Small Business Roundtable, 27% of minority-led small and medium-size businesses reported closures, compared with 18% of others. Newark First Fridays provide a platform for budding businesses to grow under favorable circumstances.

First Fridays are truly a cultural melting pot. Everything from the food, the entertainment to the attendees is very diverse. Isaiah channels Dr. Claud Anderson’s “POWERNOMICS” in his approach.

Newark has seen its fair share of annual events and festivals come and go. The First Friday founder shares his secret to long-term success.

Not only did Isaiah and his Gallery Retail team build a platform for artists & entrepreneurs, but they are also creating a resource guide dubbed as “training wheels for the creative scene”. In a joint effort with the Newark News and Story Collaborative, a resource guide is being designed to connect creatives to cultural spaces, opportunities, and the community.