African American celebration

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Once again, Nashville was blessed and honored with the presence of the African American Festival, sponsored by the African American Cultural Alliance (AACA). The 34th such festival took place September 16 through 18 at Hadley Park. As usual, it was a rewarding, learning, and exciting event uniting the African American community and friends.

The camaraderie of those attending and exposure to art, entertainment, and a myriad of international foods was exceptional. No doubt that everyone attending the festival had a great time. It seems to get better and better each year.

Even the downfall of rain occurring during certain times Saturday didn’t deter the excitement and enthusiasm of those taking part. It was quite obvious that the even larger crowd on Sunday made up for those who may have stayed away because of the rain the previous day.

There was something for everyone. It appeared as if those in attendance couldn’t get enough. People were commenting on how it took an event like this to bring people out that they had not seen all year. It was truly a well anticipated event, likening to a party, bringing the African American community closer together, enjoying one another and basking in appreciation of whom we are as a people and the numerous contributions we offer the world through our art and distinct, profound culture.

Whether young or old, faces told a story of intrigue and fascination with our African American culture and what we bring to the table as a people. The environment flowed with vendors offering colorful Nubian attire and impressive genuine African jewelry and art. A genre of different African American music could be heard playing with many venders offering any type of music whether reggae, rhythm and blues, or pop and rap to appeal to preference. It was also apparent that the large crowd had a love affair with the various types of food available such as basic soul food, Caribbean, or African. No one was disappointed, eating what they knew they liked or experimenting with different foods.

There were many people who were so engrossed with the event that they attended all three days. There was no shortage of those spending their money and supporting the vendors. The environment was so conducive to bringing about unity and harmony among the African American community that many participants said this would be a welcomed and successful endeavor if it was presented weekly or continuously throughout the year.

Exposing the Nashville community (especially our African American children) to the beauty of who they are and the contributions we offer the world can’t be anything but a plus. Exposure to African American genres like the African American Festival can only aide in combating the negative and destructive depiction some duped and misinformed African Americans feel about themselves by way of the media.

Venues like the African Street Festival are not only entertaining but offer valuable learning experience and exposures to African culture to everyone, especially those of other races in learning and appreciating the true beauty and contributions of people of African descent. It should be a ‘must attend’ to anyone truly interested in supporting ethnic diversity.

The African American experience is an extraordinary and fascinating story that should be continuously told and shared so the world can appreciate the perseverance, strength, spiritually, and contributions of a beautiful people. We can only hope that more events showcasing people of African descent with their history, talent, art, food, attire, and culture are made available to those who inhabit this city or have recently made Nashville the ‘It City’ their home. African art should be a staple in everyone’s home.

Kudos once more to the AACA, the sponsors of the African American Festival, for another awesome festival.

Events like the African Street Festival truly tie Nashville together.