My friend and model, Kiante Phelps, a local writer in Houston. Photo credit to Dez Bugaj
Black Heritage Festival
On September 30, 2017, Houston celebrated its 3rd annual Black Heritage Festival. It is a festival that is true to its name in being proud of Black heritage. The festival highlights the key message of embracing and loving yourself, no matter what skin pigmentation or how divide the world is now, but to fight and be united.
There were many sources of entertainment at the Black Heritage Festival, from local black business that were selling, to fashion designers and models, and different types of music from R&B and Hip Hop to Gospel and Jazz. The festival was an all-day event that had a lot of inspiration speakers, renowned singers, it was a truly an amazing experience. There were also health-wellness and financial assistance booths to help support the community and help with health. While I’m not of Black or African heritage, I found many ways of which I could appreciate the culture, history, and the message of the festival. I felt the spirit that everyone was inhibiting and were proud of, making the festival even more lively and fun.
There were many booths at the festival that were local black-owned businesses from different types to being run by different ages. One, was a small cookie business named Kai’s Kookies ran by a little girl, she created the business to help those affected by Harvey. It was inspiring that a girl that’s more likely less than twice my age to be doing marvelous things to help the community around her. There were booths that sold dashikis of different variations that some people proudly wore. A dashiki is a traditional, colorful garment that originated from West Africa. While it is a garment from West Africa, it has been used to be wore as a symbol of black power and pride during the Civil Rights Movement and even now, with Black Lives Matter.
Every performance was proud and strong, certain artists chose this platform to speak out about certain issues. Especially since, Houston was tragically affected by Hurricane Harvey, artists called for an act of unity and alliance to help support each other, even after Harvey. One artist called to live life and have fun at the festival in honor of someone who they might have lost before the festival. There were political messages and actions took at the festival, where everyone including Congresswoman Lee taking a knee in support of Colin Kaepernick. Singers like Tamia, Eric Benet, and Elle Varner did an impeccable job of performing and maintaining a professional attitude throughout the event, even when there was microphone and speaker cut offs. The cut offs annoyed some of the performers and the audience members but the party didn’t stop! Nor anyone wanted it to stop.