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TrailBlaze Creative Neighborhood Image Awardee: BlackTeaBrownSuga Network

The Neighborhood Image Award is given to an organization whose work is contributing to making their community appealing and desirable to all. Their work celebrates neighborhood pride and attracts new people and investment while retaining new and long-term residents.

Based in McKees Rocks, BlackTeaBrownSuga is a force in giving a voice to the people through access to space, media, and technology for Black creatives. The BlackTeaBrownSuga Network (BTBSN) is empowering members of the community to challenge and correct injustices, whether they be social or judicial, community wide or personal.Overall, they seek to give members of the community the resources, knowledge, and confidence to be pro-active, change-makers.

Launching in McKees Rocks just over a year ago, The BlackTeaBrownSuga Network serves as an accessible and affordable creative hub for local youth as well as adults. Located on Broadway Avenue in McKees Rocks, BTBSN converted an old law office to a beautiful media facility equipped with all of the equipment and software needed to create podcasts, music, videos and more. Having a background in psychology, founder Eszquire Harris has a vision for this space to not only provide a place for people to express themselves and tell their own story, but also to provide a platform for recognizing global issues, bringing awareness to how they affect the community, and providing solutions. BTBSN strengthens the community through community service, workshops, and weekly live shows which initiate the conversations needed to share, educate and develop solutions as a community. They have also made a significant impact on the Pittsburgh and McKees Rocks communities by providing a safe place both physically and virtually for creatives to be able to continue their work during the COVID-19 pandemic. These creatives were able to continue or start new projects that directly impact low-income communities while continuing to address and give voice to the local Black community regarding everything from maternal health disparities to social justice and prison reform.

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