African music, art and food are a favorite of ours here at Mezam and summer festivals are a great way to experience all three with friends and family. Recently, we noticed an increase of festivals that celebrate African culture. These festivals explore the diversity of the African diaspora in the United States and abroad. This blog gives you details on how you can experience African culture this summer. There are Afro-beats concerts, West African culinary presentations and mini-malls filled with African fashion and collectible art pieces. Below is a list of festivals around the United States that are worth attending and of course, wearing a pair of Mezam Apparel leggings and/or tank tops.
AFROPUNK- Multiple Locations
AFROPUNK is an international festival that celebrates black culture.
What is "Afro-Punk?" According to the website:
"Afro: as in, born of African spirit and heritage; see also Black, see also rhythm and color, see also other, see also underdog. Punk: as in, rebel, opposing the simple route, imbued with a DIY ethic, looking forward with simplicity, rawness and open curiosity; see also other, see also underdog."
AFROPUNK takes place in the following cities: Brooklyn, Atlanta, Paris, Johannesburg and London. The music at AFROPUNK is an eclectic mix of the African diaspora that includes two other parallel events "Bites & Beats" and the Spinthrift Market. "Bites & Beats" is a food festival that focuses on "combining tastes from around the world." The Spinthrift Market is dedicated to supporting local vendors. This shopping experience is for "the DIY-minded," with "an array of one-of-a-kind and bespoke items inspired by African art and textiles. Jewelry, natural beauty products, apparel, housewares, books, prints, and more."
Festival Sundiata – Black Arts Fest - Seattle, WA
Every June, Seattle hosts the two day Festival Sundiata, which is named after Sundiata Keita, the historic and legendary King of Kings of the Mali Empire in West Africa. This festival features African-American Heritage, culture, arts and history in relevant local and regional entertainment, art and photography exhibits. There are food offerings and a wealth of children’s activities with the same theme.
The Festival Sundiata is unique because it has two music stages, an art exhibit and a museum. It is an event dedicated to an educational and cultural experience.
Jollof Festival - Multiple Locations
Who makes the best jollof? Well there is a summer festival dedicated to answering this question. The Jollof Festival is held every summer in New Jersey, D.C., Atlanta, Oakland and L.A. Jollof rice enthusiasts have a day to spend enjoying West Africa's favorite dish.
The event features a DJ, an Ankara Lounge, performers and of course the "Jollof Wars". Judges participate in an anonymous taste test and vote on which country has the best Jollof.
Chop Bar DC
Dine Diaspora's mission is to connect people and brands to African food culture. Every summer in Washington, DC Dine Diaspora hosts Chop Bar, a pop-up culinary adventure inspired by the "ambiance of West Africa's makeshift small restaurants."
Chop Bar attendees feast on international food and crafted cocktails in addition to listening to music and getting the chance to support local fashion vendors. One special feature of Chop Bar is its connection to celebrity chefs from the African Diaspora. Chef Eric Adjepong, a finalist on Bravo's Top Chef, will be the featured chef at this year's Chop Bar.
If you find yourself in DC this July, make it a point to attend this culinary event featuring West African Chefs, music and art vendors.
The HIPLIFE is a 3-day festival at the end of July acknowledging the explosion of AFROBEATS music. The name, Hiplife, is derived from HI-LIFE music of Ghana, West Africa. Held in Harlem, this festival is an excellent way to celebrate the culture of HIPLIFE and the rhythm of Afrobeats. The concert creates a platform to highlight the diversity of African culture by showcasing various emerging and established talent.
This list is only a partial list of African themed events this summer. If you are looking for an event to attend in your city Afropolitan Cities hosts a number of events from DC to Dallas and Las Vegas to L.A (and even London). If there are others we should know about, let us know in the comment section!