African and Caribbean culture will come together this weekend as for the first time in its 27-year history as the Annual African World Festival combines with the International Caribbean Festival and Parade to create “one big event” of art, music and food at Hart Plaza.
In years past the Caribbean Festival was held in July, but this year, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History, the organization in charge of the African World Festival, wanted to maximize resources and turnout of both events. More than 350,000 people are expected to attend the three-day event.
“Because the events are so close together and reflects the same image and culture, meaning the whole African-Caribbean Diaspora, it makes sense” says Jessica Pipkins, a Wright Museum spokeswoman.
In addition to the traditional events like the Saturday Caribbean Parade, annual National Pan-Hellenic Step Show and various vendors from all over the world, this year’s event will feature a genealogy project in which professionals will help people trace their family trees and appearances from the Detroit Pistons.
Music will still play an essential part with performances from Questlove of the Roots, Detroit’s own Funkmaster Amp Fiddler, Reggae’s “Black Cinderella” vocalist Sister Carol and Senegalese bassist Pathe Jassi. Festival events will also recognize the 50th Anniversary of Motown Records and as well as pay tribute to Michael Jackson with performances from local artists Lisa Lauren Smith and Band Blair.
Organizers also announced a memorial event for Titus “Baatin” Glover, a founding member of locally inspired and globally recognized hip-hop group Slum Village who died last week.
Pipkins says the festival has something for everyone and expects a big turnout.
“People should come out to enjoy the rich culture and history,” she says.
The 27th Annual African World Festival begins at noon on Aug 14 and continues through Aug 16. For a schedule of events or more information visit http://www.awfdetroit.com.