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9 Unapologetically Black Festivals You Should Check Out

9 Unapologetically Black Festivals You Should Check Out

Black culture, specifically Black-American or African-American culture, is more than the things that create or have created our disproportionate rates of poverty and imprisonment. It's more than just responding to injustice.

Black culture is the food we create and eat, the music we create and listen to, the movies we film and watch, our language, our dances, our art, our literature, our family structures and relations, our style, our fashion, our spirituality, our religions, and so much more. 

Being able to unapologetically celebrate our culture while surrounded by other beautiful Black beings is an amazing feeling that you can experience at many festivals. Check out our list of festivals where you can unapologetically be yourself and celebrate our culture. 

1. ESSENCE Festival

The ESSENCE Festival is an annual festival where people gather for three days of music, entertainment, empowerment and culture in New Orleans, LA. It celebrates many different aspects of the Black community. The ESSENCE Festival started in the 90s and has featured some of the biggest names in entertainment and some of the nation’s most influential speakers, authors and leaders, including Beyoncé, Prince, Aretha Franklin, Barack Obama, Rev. Al Sharpton, Deepak Chopra, Steve Harvey, Ava DuVernay, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Magic Johnson, and many more.

2. CURLFEST

CURLFEST is an annual natural beauty festival that was created by a group of women who collectively form the Curly Girl Collective! Their mission is to create innovative experiences that harness the energy of the natural hair movement and showcase the best brands for modern women of color. The festival is an opportunity for women of color to connect, play games, see live demos, learn about hair products, shop, dance and to see their beauty reflected.

3. Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is New York City’s largest Hip-Hop cultural event that showcases the positivity of Hip-Hop culture. It was established in 2005 and strives to celebrate and preserve Hip-Hop’s legacy of promoting artistic progression, community building and social change by bringing together everyone who loves the Hip-Hop culture. The festival consists of a variety of culture-based educational and entertainment events, including music performances, panel lectures, exhibitions, movie screenings and a family-friendly block party. 

4. American Black Film Festival

The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) is an annual event dedicated to showcasing quality film and television content for us, by us, and about us (people of African descent). The ABFF is committed to the belief that Black artists deserve the same opportunities as their mainstream counterparts and their mission is to introduce and connect talented newcomers to the industry. The festival consists of a wide range of films, television screenings, engaging panels, networking events, activities designed to educate, nurture career development, and inspire attendees, and more. Also, the festival attracts people from around the world, including artists, entertainment executives and upscale film enthusiasts.

5. AFROPUNK Festival

The AFROPUNK Festival celebrates alternative Black culture. According to AFROPUNK, "AFROPUNK an influential community of young people of all backgrounds speaking through music, art, film, lifestyle sports, fashion, photography, and more. We are the influencers, creatives, and tastemakers who were once seen as outsiders, but who now directly affect pop culture." The community strives to unleash freedom of expression, and honor the power of individuality while strengthening the community. The festival takes place in many cities around the world, but in the USA it takes place in Brooklyn, NY and Atlanta, GA. The festival pays homage to punk and rock in the Black community and provides a unique experience with a variety of musical acts, fashion, and art. 

6. Broccoli City Festival

Broccoli City is a social enterprise that focuses on people, planet, and profit - particularly environmental justice and sustainability, economic sustainability, culture, access to high quality food and shelter, and education in undeserved communities. The Broccoli City Festival is a music and food festival. It was started in 2013 to draw attention for Earth Day and due to their desire to "build thriving urban communities to sustain future generations by mobilizing and educating urban millennials through social impact campaigns and major events." Broccoli City typically hosts a variety of events leading up to the festival, including a city run ( like a  5K run), community action events, and an all night art escape.

This Saturday. #BCFEST2018

A post shared by Broccoli City (@broccolicity) on

7. Black Owned Wine & Spirits Festival

The Black Owned Wine & Spirits Festival is the perfect festival for spirit enthusiasts, wine aficionados, and beer lovers. Festival attendees are able to engage with others, network, and sample wine, spirits, and beer created by Black-owned companies. The purpose of the festival is the following: 1) To increase visibility and awareness of Black-owned Spirit, Wine and Beer companies; 2) To provide an organized platform for consumer interaction and education by sampling opportunities and tasting demos; 3) To encourage both inter and intra community partnerships and industry alliances; and 4) To redirect the economic contributions of Afro- American communities in the US Wine & Spirits Industry. 

 8. Odunde Festival

The Odunde Festival is one of the largest African-American street festivals in the USA. Every year, it takes place in Philadelphia, PA and it is centered around interests of the African diaspora. There are various arts, crafts, clothing, jewelry, and food vendors from the USA, and African and Caribbean countries as well. There is also live music and performances. 

Iyanla Vanzant's point of view at ODUNDE!!! #odunde #odundefestival #african #africa

A post shared by ODUNDE FESTIVAL (@odundefestival) on

9. AFRAM Festival

The AFRAM Festival celebrates African-American life, music, and culture. It takes places in Baltimore, MD. The festival is a two-day, family-oriented event that is filled with entertainers, children’s activities, arts, history, education, health & wellness, and more.





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