African American Cultural Festival celebrates 10 years

Community members dance and celebrate at the African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County. Photo courtesy of

Falesha Brodie, theCULTURE Editor

The African American Cultural Festival — an annual celebration dedicated to black culture — is back in Raleigh on Aug. 31-Sep. 1.

This year is especially significant since the festival will celebrate one decade of unifying people from across the nation who love African American culture.

The festival’s educational value is appreciated by many and is said to be Raleigh’s premiere destination for teaching, sharing and celebrating the distinctive folk and cultural traditions of African Americans not only in North Carolina but also around the world.

“Attending an HBCU, I’ve learned so much about the culture already. But, it can never hurt to keep learning. I am excited to attend,” said Jamesha Lawrence, a senior at N.C A&T. 

Day one kicks off with an opening ceremony and music from DJ B Vick and The Monterio Experience.

Later that evening, more artists grace the festival’s main stage including the acclaimed HamilTones and band, Jus Once.    

“Seeing the HamiTones live is going to be a real treat. My friends and I can’t wait,” said Kafeel Robinson, North Carolina native. 

Each year, attendees are welcomed with an assortment of delicious foods. The festival promises that there is something for everyone. From frozen treats to grilled specials, participating food vendors will have it all. 

Day two is a continuation on main stage performances and a special “Battle of the Decades” from several well-known DJs.

The Art Gallery Walk is another highly anticipated part of the festival. Local artists and artisans unite with nationally respected artists in the walk. Tents will display original art, handcrafted jewelry, photography and more.

Festival visitors will have the chance to meet the artists behind the work, hear about their artistic journey, and purchase their original creations.

 “Being an artist myself, I’m excited to learn from these artists and connect with them about their personal experiences as one,” says Sydney Daniels, an author from North Carolina. 

In an effort to celebrate the African American communities’ long history of entrepreneurship, the festival will feature a Vendor Marketplace. 

 Fayetteville Street will be lined with market vendor tents featuring a rich variety of products including jewelry, clothing, books and much more.

To ensure fun for the whole family, The Family Village tent provides an environment for families to learn about African American culture and history through hands-on experiences.

Previous interactive and engaging performances have included storytellers, dance troupes, drum circles and puppeteers to name a few.

This tent is a popular destination, where one-of-a-kind crafts are created by people of all ages.  It includes African American authors, publishers and illustrators who all will be sharing their stories.    

And finally, The Village Tent is on Hargett Street. The Village Tent is a creative learning space for everyone to appreciate. Visitors can listen to African and African American storytelling or learn African drumming techniques.  The tent is also filled with lots of fun workshops throughout both days of the festival.

This festival is free and open to the public. For more information about this festival, visit