Wisconsin Black Arts and Entertainment Festival Seeks To Showcase Black Artists and Build Community
There is a lot of incredible talent on the Milwaukee arts and entertainment scene right now – some of them have yet to be discovered. The Wisconsin Black Arts and Entertainment Festival 2018 will be the place to see it.
“We want people to know that we are here and that we are doing wonderful things. There are a lot of great things going on in downtown Milwaukee and we want people to see it, ”festival coordinator Adisha Lumumba told Madison365. “The arts, for me, are my passion. This is what motivates me. How can I use my art to influence others and let them know that we are still fighting for what we believe in: our future, our youth and our community? It’s a really creative way to do it. “
The event will take place at the Wisconsin African American Women’s Center on the north side of Milwaukee. This will be the second year of the Wisconsin Black Arts and Entertainment Festival 2018, hosted by the Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce. Lumumba is the Chamber’s executive administrative assistant.
“The goal of the Wisconsin Black Arts and Entertainment Festival is to market and promote black businesses in Milwaukee and Wisconsin,” she says. “[Wisconsin Black Chamber of Commerce Executive Director] Ruben Hopkins started last year to bring out all these artists and needed visibility, but also to make these connections with different black businesses in the surrounding areas.
The festival is a three-day celebration that includes live performances by spoken word artists, dancers and musicians. There will also be vendor exhibits and interactive activities such as visual artist demonstrations, writers’ workshops, crafts for kids, and film screenings.
The opening night is called “Soul Lounge” and is an evening of live entertainment, food, shopping and good vibes. “It’s for people 21 and over. We’ll have different artists and vendors from Chicago, Illinois, and other places in Milwaukee, ”Lumumba said.
Saturday will be a youth-focused day celebrating and recognizing Milwaukee’s artists and artistic legacy. The day will include shows, food, a youth stage, a main stage, a youth corner and more.
“We really want to meet the needs of young people. I work with young people myself. Youth is my passion, ”says Lumumba. “So we are looking for 30 young people who can also volunteer and help with the event.”
Lumumba works with young people through her dance company, the Libation Dance and Drum Ensemble, where she teaches black youth about African dance, Afro-hip-hop and Afro-modern dance. “I am also a traveling poet. This summer, I hosted a workshop at UW-Milwaukee for college kids, ”says Lumumba. “I did a writing workshop and also a dance workshop. I do a lot of dancing and writing with young people and it’s really culture and education based in a creative way.
All the action will take place at Wisconsin African American’s Women Center, a two-story building. “We have a stage upstairs and a stage downstairs, so there will be a lot of activities going on simultaneously that day,” Lumumba said. “There will be groups of young African dances, young entrepreneurs. “
The festival will end on Sunday with what Lumumba calls ‘Soul Sunday’ which will feature food, shopping, a fashion show and a gospel concert that you won’t want to miss.
“I am excited about the fashion show. We have all-male designers, which is almost unheard of, ”Lumumba says. “The Gospel concert should also be fun. It’s a really exciting event with a huge variety of things going on. “
Although the 2018 Wisconsin Black Arts and Entertainment Festival will feature black artists and entrepreneurs, Lumumba says the event is for everyone and hopes for a diverse crowd.
“The performances target black artists and black companies because I think it’s really hard to present positive black artists,” she says. “In the black community, we often have this stigma that black businesses are not good businesses, and that’s not true. We have a lot of great black businesses in our community and we want them to know that we are here to help them in any way we can.
“There are a lot of things in our community that we need to fix and it’s part of our job to work together to do it and to work to be self-sufficient in our own community like other communities are,” she adds. . “The goal is to bring that unity and show that no matter who you are – an artist, a business owner, a teacher, a lawyer – we all have a role to play in building our community.”
This festival is a three-day celebration including live performances by spoken word artists, dancers and musicians that Lumumba hopes to continue to gain momentum in the years to come.
“It’s only the second year. It is still very young. I hope it will continue to get bigger and bigger, ”Lumumba says. “My hope is that in the future celebrities will be ready to come and help. Because it’s not just for the arts, it’s for the networking and relationships that we build through these festivals. This is another goal of the event… to see who we can connect with so that we can build. Every year we want it to get bigger and bigger.
“We know Milwaukee is a really fertile ground to build on a lot of great things and we think this event will be a great opportunity to get things done,” she adds.
The Wisconsin Black Arts & Entertainment Festival 2018 will take place February 2-4. For more information, Click here.