Over the summer, we began to see society get back to pre-pandemic times, some of our favorite events and festivals making a return! As Black people navigate returning to some sort of normalcy, we’re always on the look out for ways to celebrate Black joy. What better way to do that than attending a festival? We can gather, celebrate Black culture, and be unapologetically ourselves. There’s all types of events that we hope to attend locally or nationwide each year, such as Pittsburgh’s Soulful Taste that’s meant to celebrate local Black food eateries, or Pharrell’s Something In The Water (SITW) music festival. Here’s seven other Black festivals you should attend at least once, courtesy of Melanin Is Life:
Broccoli City Festival:
Washington, D.C’s own Broccoli City Festival was started in 2013 by four friends who wanted to positively impact their community. Through music and food, they aim to spread awareness on environmental justice and sustainability, economic sustainability, culture, access to quality food and shelter, and education in underserved communities. They also saw the festival as just a fun way to bring attention to Earth Day! After two years of COVID-19 cancellations, the concert that draws in thousands of people made a return this past May with a lineup that included Ari Lennox, Masego, Wale, Tems, and more. Other events are hosted throughout the weekend, such as a city 5K marathon, a night art escape, and community action events.
The American Black Film Festival
Created by Jeff Friday in 1997, The American Black Film Festival is an annual event packed with five days of Black artists and entertainment. To this day, it's considered the only event of its kind in the world. Black culture enthusiasts, executives, and content creators from all over come together to network, discuss upcoming events, and view screenings. For 27 years, they have been empowering Black creators and their work all while providing a platform for emerging Black talent.
The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival
Established in 2005, the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is New York City’s largest hip-hop event highlighting the positive impact of hip-hop culture. Wes Jackson, the founder, created it after being inspired by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. He wanted to celebrate not only the music but also the people who love it! By bringing all lovers of hip-hop culture together, they can promote community building, social change, and artistic progression. For nine years, this festival has provided the community with musical sets, movie screenings, panels, and educational/entertainment events. Even if all hip-hop music isn’t appropriate, this festival still makes sure to include the children by hosting a block party on the last day for families.
CURLFEST is the hottest and most popular festival for men and women rocking their natural hair. It was created by the five dynamic women of the Curly Girl Collective who wanted to give Black people a space to comfortably be themselves. Women can watch live demos, purchase hair products, and play games all while connecting with one another.
You can't forget the Essence Fest! Grab a friend or two and enjoy three days full of the Black experience through music, entertainment, empowerment, and best of all — culture. This festival was created in the 1990s and brings everyone to New Orleans. You can always count on a celebrity sighting at this festival, people like Barack Obama, Steve Harvey, Beyoncé, and more have attended!
Afrochella, contrary to Coachella, is nine days packed full of culture and adventure. From the day you step foot on Ghana’s soil, you will be immersed in African culture and excellence. Afrochella is a “celebration of Africa’s diverse culture and the vibrant work of African creatives and entrepreneurs.” At this festival, you get to experience every aspect of African culture from food, arts & entertainment, and music. They provide complete packages that get you to and from the event and engulf you in all that they have to offer.
The AFROPUNK Festival celebrates the Black alternative community, the people that directly affect today’s pop culture. Here, people are encouraged to express themselves and their unique personalities through music, art, film, lifestyle sports, fashion, photography and so many other creative outlets. This freedom of expression strengthens the community and shows a sense of allyship.
You have to attend one of these events at least once in this lifetime! Immerse in both Black culture and Black joy with friends, or the ones you’ll make if you attend alone.