When: Aug. 31-Sept. 1 2013
Since this week marks the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, this year's annual African American Cultural Festival bears extra significance. With the black unemployment rate in the Tar Heel state rising toward 18 percent and Republican-backed legislation reducing unemployment benefits for all, a Labor Day weekend celebration seems a bit out of place. But "trouble don't last always," right? This might be the perfect weekend to let that African-American tradition of perseverance rub off on you.
Choreographer Chuck Davis and his storied African American Dance Ensemble begin the festival Saturday morning with an opening ceremony. Entertainment on the main stage continues with gospel rap, a dance fitness exhibition, and a jazz and soul bloc from trumpeter Al Strong and vocalist Yolanda Rabun. Armed with classics including "Curious" and "Freak-a-Zoid," R&B veterans Midnight Star close the night, though the festival picks up again Sunday afternoon with more gospel, some brass-band funk and go-go. N.C. Central alum and jazz charmer Marcus Anderson warms up the stage up for funk pioneers Ohio Players. —Eric Tullis