African Festival of the Arts #Respect Gala 2017 featuring Regina Belle

African Festival of the Arts #Respect Gala 2017 featuring Regina Belle

Not only does Chicago have a large African-American population, the windy city is also home to a vast African population, which is as robust and diverse as the many countries and tribes in the motherland. We know the story of the American Great Migration where droves of African-Americans left the south for the promise of a better life in the north. When southern Blacks arrived in the north, there were numerous networks in place to help them settle and acclimate. In Chicago, the Chicago Defender newspaper and the Black church were remarkably successful in helping blacks to migrate, finding housing and employment, and ultimately adjust to their new environment.

Similarly, numerous Africans leave their continent for the promise of a better life in America. For more than 30 years, Africa International House (AIH) has served as a hub of information and acclimatization for Africans coming to Chicago. As the African population in Chicago has swelled, the mission of Africa International House has evolved to serve as a center that exposes and educates all people to the individual works, and collective contributions, of African cultures. Africa International House is a meeting place for Africans from across the Diaspora and its mission is addressed through its flagship program, the African Festival of the Arts, and through other activities that promote African-based culture.

Africa International House will host their Annual Gala, held as a precursor to the 28th Annual African Festival of the Arts (AFA), at the DuSable Museum on Friday, August 18 from 7 p.m. - 11p.m. The event will feature a special performance by singer, songwriter Regina Belle. The Gala is a wonderful sampling of African culture that features all the elements of the Festival including food, displays of art and artifacts, African fashion, and of course music. The emcees for the evening are Dana Divine and A.C. Green.

Honored at the event will be this year’s Grand BaBa Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., pastor emeritus of Trinity United Church of Christ, and Grand YeYe, retired assistant principal Linda Murray. The theme for the Gala, and this year’s Festival, is RESPECT, which is in keeping with the city of Chicago’s declaration of 2017 as “The Year of Public Art,” which also includes the 50th anniversary of the South Side’s “Wall of Respect.”

Tickets for the Gala are $75 person/ $125 per couple. For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Deanna Burrell is the author of the best-selling novel, Single Girl Summer.

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