The 2022 Africa World Festival returns to Detroit with a new venue

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For the first time in more than three decades, the annual African World Festival at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is moving to a new location on the calendar. Although traditionally held in late August, the 39th installment of the festival will take place this weekend in a return to Hart Plaza.

The celebration of African-American history and culture will feature local and international artists, including Mama Sol, Lizz Wright, The Legendary Wailers and Seun Kuti (the youngest son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti). Food, art and clothing vendors will be on site, as well as information booths on family programming and community resources.

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Festival director Njia Kai, who has run the event for more than a dozen years, finds it fresh and exciting every time.

“I’m really happy to be part of this annual meeting,” she says. “It’s always a really great feeling to see the thousands of people who make up our core audience come every year. We attract people from all over metro Detroit, across the United States, people who plan their international vacations to come to Detroit every year for this event.

“This festival allows the Wright Museum to broaden and broaden its depth by focusing on the world of African tradition, African innovation, African food, African entertainment. There is a lot of rich culture to draw from.

The 37th annual African World Festival held on the grounds of the Charles H. Wright Museum featured a mix of performances, poetry, arts and crafts, African drumming and dance along with hundreds of vendors representing 8 African nations and 15 states.  August 17, 2019.

Cam Anthony, 2021 winner of “The Voice” was scheduled to perform Friday night. Zania Alaké, originally from Detroit, who participated in “The Voice” this same season, is part of the musical numbers on Saturday. A “Detroit Rocks the Runway” fashion show, drum and dance performances, and a puppet show are among many other highlights.

New this year is the switch to a paid format. The festival has always been free in previous years, although admission remains free for Wright Museum members.

“Everyone recognizes that not just the pandemic, but today’s economic realities are forcing nonprofits and most festivals to start looking for new sources of revenue to keep going,” Kai explained. “And we all want this festival to continue, so we really hope our audience will understand that and support us.

“Admission is free for museum members, so we encourage those who haven’t updated their membership or are just deciding to join and support the museum, which gets you a pass for the weekend at the festival.”

Kai is already hard at work for the festival’s 40th anniversary next year, which promises to be full of surprises.

The 37th annual African World Festival held on the grounds of the Charles H. Wright Museum featured a mix of performances, poetry, arts and crafts, African drumming and dance along with hundreds of vendors representing 8 African nations and 15 states.  August 17, 2019.

“We’re absolutely going to be enjoying this milestone anniversary and really having some main stage blowouts that we’ve already started reaching out to,” she said. “We think Detroit will be very proud of the exciting artists we invite. And it will be even more of a presentation as we see what we can bring from the African world to really create an exciting event.

39th Annual African World Festival

From Friday July 15 to Sunday July 17

Hart Plaza, Detroit

$15 adults, $10 youth 4-12 years old

Free with Charles H. Wright Museum Membership

TheWright.org

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