Festivals have finally re-emerged from their COVID-induced hiatus! And with Black pride at an all-time high, I think the melanated community is ready to bask in celebratory vibes, star-studded line-ups, diasporic cuisine, and the promotion of social change.
With that stated, here are 8 African-American festivals that are sure to ignite Black joy!
Brooklyn l Miami l Atlanta l Minneapolis
Let’s kick this list off with Afropunk – A multi-city/multi-genre festival famously known for its highly expressive fashion scene featuring attendees donned in anything from cosplay to cultural tributes. Afropunk has popped-up festivals in Minneapolis, Miami, ATL, Johennsberg and Paris, but Brooklyn is its annual home. Patrons appreciate this event for its authentic vibes, eclectic art, tasty food, vibrant DJ sets, and performances headlined by everyone from Lizzo to Burna Boy.
Afropunk initially launched after the success of its 2003 documentary, which “highlighted the black presence in the American punk scene.” Since then, it has evolved into one of the most popular millennial and Gen Z festivals, “redefining the urban experience” as a judgment-free space that celebrates all aspects of the diaspora and encourages radical thought and social nonconformity.
Miami is a city influenced by many cultures. Still, given its proximity to the Caribbean and large West Indian population, it attracts thousands of local and foreign soca lovers, primed and ready for a highly energetic week of fetes (parties), mas (masquerade bands), J’ouvert (The highlight of carnival – an a.m. street party where attendees are doused with water, paint and powder), and delicious Caribbean classics like roti, oxtails, and bake & salt fish.
As one of the largest US carnivals, Miami Carnival features performances from soca and reggae faves like Kes, Machel Montano, Skinny Fabulous, Patrice Roberts, and Spice.
Wondering which band to jump with on Carnival Day? One Island Band received the award for best band three years in a row. My advice for a perfect weekend: Stay hydrated, get as much pre-vacation sleep as possible, and make sure your face is beautifully beat for your costume because West Indians go all out for carnival day.