August 16, 2022
Looking to party, music fest, cultural fest, African arts festival, culinary adventures from the motherland? Here is a list of some of the best African festival events happening across the U.S. in 2021.
The year 2020 has been … (think of all the curse words you can insert there). We all cannot wait to see it in our rear-view mirrors. But you know what’s even better? If the year 2021 becomes super-lit, and we triple – if not quadruple – on all the fun we had missed out in 2020. Next year should be so exciting to compensate for all the lost opportunities for good-times thanks to the coronavirus. With its calls for social distancing, staying at home, restricted movements, wearing face masks, etc.
When it comes to having a good time, ain’t nobody party like the Africans! You only need to look at the flavor and spices in their foods, dance moves, traditional attires, customs, etc. If you are an African currently living outside the continent, then you might already be missing home. And what better way to enjoy home away from home than attending a party reminiscent of your home culture, dances, music, and culinary.
While the things mentioned above may not play out as precisely as they would in your home country, since it is happening in the U.S., these events tend to mash-up events from several countries into one. The omnibus is then branded as an African festival affair. Nevermind that people from opposite sides of the same country in Africa rarely have the same culture, dances, music, and culinary.
Be that as it may, this article will explore some of the best African festivals in the U.S. that draws in revelers in their thousands. These events are centered around the Black community and the Africa diaspora, those of African ancestry.
The following list contains some of the best African festival events slated to take place in the US come next year. They are not listed in any order.
Afropunk has grown to become what its founders never thought it could be. It started as a gathering of folks, predominantly from the African American community. These people came together to enjoy world sacred music, cultural festival, and fashion from across the continent of Africa. With time, the event kept attracting crowd, with each year’s crowd kept growing bigger than the previous year’s crowd.
To date, Afropunk has become an annual event that takes place not just in the U.S. but also in Africa and Europe. It happens simultaneously in Brooklyn in New York, Johannesburg in South Africa, and Paris in France. The Afropunk 2021 will take place between July 10-11, 2021, so save the date.
The stages will feature Black artists’ performances of all music genres. This African festival event has different themes each year. For the year 2020, the theme was ‘Strength in Struggle,’ and saw legendary artists like Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott taking to the stage performance. More details can be found on their website AfroPunk.com.
Every 4th of July since 1995, the Essence Festival has been lighting up the streets of New Orleans. The event, which is also commonly referred to as the ‘party with a purpose,’ has been injecting millions of dollars into the city’s economy and creating jobs around African traditional culture through food, music, and travel.
Following the devastating New Orleans hit by Hurricane Katrina in 2004, that year’s Essence Fest teamed up to provide humanitarian aid towards rebuilding the city. Usually, the festival highlights the Black culture and has seen big-time artists like Beyonce and Janet Jackson do live concerts.
If the festival is not holding concerts, the community mobilizes at the convention center for demos, celebrity panels, and giveaways. The next Essence Festival will take place from July 2nd through to July 5th, 2021.
This African festival event traces its roots to music icon Pharrell, who first set out to create a mashup of hip hop culture from the East, West, and South of the United States. The fest featured Pharrell, a native of Virginia, alongside other artists from the same region, including Wale (from Maryland) and Trey Songs (from Virginia).
The main musical part of Something In The Water takes place by the Virginia Beach. However, Pharrell, alongside other organizers of the event, curate extended programs across the city. This event is not just about music, even though that is the climax of the festivities, and it is held by the beach; the program ranges from culinary adventures to pop-up church services.
Next year’s Something In The Water will take place between April 23-25, at the Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA.
Is there any surprise that this musical fiesta – One Music Festival – happens at the music capital of America and specifically the heartland of hip hop music, Atlanta? This fiesta has for the past decade, served as the bridge between old and new music.
Notable artists to perform at the event in the past include the famous Wu-Tang Clan, Gucci Mane, Musiq Soulchild, and Summer Walker. The event, which takes place on just one day, is held at Centennial Park. Avenue loved by most people in Atlanta for its live art installations and a wide range of food truck villages. Last year, one of Atlanta’s popular Black-owned restaurants serving a vegan menu – the Slutty Vegan – had a food truck serving attendants to the event.
For an extensive list of other top African restaurants in Atlanta that might have rolled up in food trucks check out our previous blog. No doubt money spent at this event will go a long way in supporting local small businesses, many being featured at this event being African-American-owned.
CurlFest began in 2014 and was started by four Black women who wanted to highlight the curl’s beauty in Black women’s hair. The event’s mission is to uplift and empower women and girls of African heritage by redefining the standards of what beauty should look like. They showcase the natural beauty of the African woman, without the standards being dictated by their counterparts from other races.
The CurlFest takes over the Randall’s Island Park in New York, showcasing nothing but African American culture, beauty, food, and music. You can be sure to find well-known brands in natural hair products like Creme of Nature and DevaCurl set up booths at the event. Within these booths, people attending the event can get on-the-spot braid bars, onsite shopping experiences, cultural experience, and photo booths to take pics.
Although the actual date for next year’s CurlFest has yet to be announced. You can expect the event to take place in New York, New York, and Atlanta, Georgia, in the U.S.
The African music and culture, and African American history all form an integral part of American history. Though admittedly they are often placed in the shadow of the history of America’s European roots. Such events serve to shade more light on the Africans and African Americans’ contribution towards the definition of America as we know it today.
No doubt, the same should be reflected in the history lessons in America’s school systems, the museum of Africa Americans in the country. And all relevant institutions showcasing the development that led to the creation of America as we know it today.
Image Credit: Seeker.io