It’s over. The 30th African World Festival, that is.
Once again the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History outshined itself by bringing this festival home after thirty years.
Since I work in the museum’s Communications department, which is near the African World Festival office, I got to see a lot of the behind-the-scenes work. Each member of the AWF team pushed themselves to ensure that the thousands of people making the pilgrimage to the museum would thoroughly enjoy this three-day event. Their work ethic was contagious, and they have a true love for the people in their community. To them, it was an honor to serve their community and remember their ancestors by putting on this event.
The opening ceremonies on Friday got things off to an amazing start. I especially enjoyed the speech given by the Ambassador of Botswana. Her tone was pleasant, yet confident as she made it clear that when we come together we should celebrate our similarities and overlook our differences.
Later that day, I went on a shopping trip with my co-workers. Each of us eyed the products of the vendors and bought dresses, hats, and jewelry. (I even entertained my co-workers by doing a little dancing since the music was loud and live).
Saturday was my favorite day at the festival last year and the same was true this year. I was at the Museum from the afternoon until night, enjoying the food, and doing a little more shopping. The crew from the weekly Hustle for History class, held at the museum, carved out a spot outside the Lewis Latimer Café and hustled for hours. That night, myself, my co-workers Shawnda and Mike, and my mom and sister enjoyed African drum and dance performances, the natural hair show, and the Detroit Rocks the Runway fashion show.
The last day turned out to be “college night” at the festival since I saw a lot of my buddies from U of M- Dearborn. After giving hugs and taking pictures we talked of ways to get students from our campus (particularly the students in the Black Student Union) to be more involved with the Museum. Many of the ideas we have center around supporting the Museum during Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month.
So, what did this year’s African World Festival mean to me? It meant family, friends and celebration. Or, as we say here at The Wright Museum, it was a time to “Rejoice, Relive, and Reconnect!” After 30 years AWF came home, and this is definitely a proud new tradition.