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African Festival of the Arts a Huge Success for the African Diaspora

African Festival Chicago vendors

By Unieros

African Festival of the Arts 2014 in Chicago will celebrate its 25th anniversary of celebration African culture.  The 25th African Festival of the Arts 2014 will be held Labor Day Weekend Friday, August 29- Monday, September 1, in Washington Park, Chicago.

African Festival of the Arts feature two stages of music, a main stage and a world music stage. Music by Musiq Soulchild,  Dee Alexander, Harriet Tubman Band with Cassandra Wilson presenting Black Sun. Salif Keita, and the Temptations Review featuring Dennis Edwards.

BVNews Coverage of 2013 African Festival of the Arts

The food, the music, and the art of black people from the African diaspora was on display at the 2013 Annual African Festival of the Arts in Chicago. Held in Washington Park on Chicago’s historic South Side, the four-day festival showcased the variety and diversity of African cultures around the world.  “Origins” was the theme of this year’s festival which featured over 300 artists and food vendors.

 

The walking paths of Washington Park were transformed to look like a African village. Booths along the paths displayed antique sculptures, paintings, handmade crafts among plenty jewelry and clothing vendors.

Watch video from the 2013 African Festival of the Arts Chicago.

Hundreds of Chicagoans attended the festival and night time concerts held during Labor Day Weekend.

Brandy performs at African Festival of the Arts in Chicago

Grammy Award singer Brandy Norwood headline the 2013 African Festival of the Arts.

Oliver Mtzudki performs at African Festival in Chicago

At the end of each day, the main stage at the festival featured celebrity musicians. Music headliners included African American blues Blues legend Otis Clay,  R & B Diva Monifah, and Zimbabwean musician Oliver Mtuzudki.

 

Vendors from the African diaspora

The Afro centric items ranged included T-shirts from Historically Black Colleges (HBCU) to antique masks from Timbuktu and original paintings from Senegal. Attendees could eat food from African diaspora countries including fu fu from Ghana, Jamaican jerk chicken, rice and bean dishes, African American soul food greens.

Chicago African Festival of the Arts

The festival also featured a Drum Village where dancers and drummers of all ages played constant rhythms on congas and djimbes. Picnic tables dispersed throughout the lawn areas served as gathering places where festival goers mingled and enjoyed entertainment on small stages like the World Stage. A special area of the festival was Blacks in Green, where attendees enjoyed roundtable dicussions about healthy eating and living green.

Chicago African Festival of the Arts

 

Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois at African Festival in Chicago

Governor Pat Quinn of Illinois at African Festival in Chicago

One couple told Breaking Voices that they have been attending the African Festival of the Arts for more than 15 years because they find the festival to be a great event to network and meet people in the community.

The African Festival of the Arts celebrates black culture in a way that shows how black people regardless of where they dwell strive through their art, music, dance, and food to remember their ancestors, document their history, and paint their hopes for the future.

Chicago African Festival of the Arts

About Africa Festival of the Arts

The African Festival of the Arts is the flagship program of Africa International House USA, Inc. (AIH), a not for profit organization working to bridge the divides between the peoples of the African Diaspora in Chicago. This year’s festival included a special collaboration with Afro Entertainment Awards that honor musicians, arts, and entertainers from the African diaspora. Featured artist and art work for the festival was by “Asali” by Najjar.

Chicago African Festival of the Arts


The African Festival of the Arts is held over four days during Labor Day weekend and has become for many, the traditional way to end the summer. This not-for-profit organization was founded 20 years ago to bridge the divide between the peoples of the African Diaspora in Chicago with its unique brand of cultural programming.

Chicago African Festival of the Arts

Patrick Woodtor, President, Africa International House

In 1989, Patrick Woodtor, President, Africa International House, along with his late wife author and historian, Dee Parmer Woodtor, produced the African Festival of the Arts for the first time as a seasonal community event to honor African culture and tradition in the historic “black belt” on the South Side of Chicago.

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