YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Friday night kicked off a three-day event in downtown Youngstown celebrating and digging deeper into African American culture.
Black Cultural Weekend will be filled with fun yet educational events. It’s an opportunity for people, no matter their background, to learn more about the music, food and achievements that African Americans have made an impact on.
According to Bryant Youngblood, one of the event’s organizers, throughout the weekend, they will recognize some of the Black pioneers from the Mahoning Valley.
“You have to learn about yourself and learn about the people before you, before you get the chance to establish your own identity,” he said.
On Friday, there was an opening ceremony and a “Party on the Plaza” to kick off the event, featuring the Outlaws and Jah Messengers reggae bands from the Cleveland area.
Saturday will start off with a Male Wellness Walk at 6 a.m. There will then be Black History Education at 2 p.m., followed by line dancing featuring DJ Darryl Dickens at 4 p.m.
A tribute band for the late R&B singer Luther Vandross will also be playing at 7 p.m. Admission is $10.
Admission is also $10 for Sunday’s events, which include a tribute to law enforcement at 4 p.m., a History of Dance lesson at 6 p.m. and a Gospel Extravaganza featuring The Singing Pastors at 7 p.m.
Local vendors will be lining Federal Street with all kinds of cultural finds, like clothing. They’ll open at noon each day and stay open until 11 p.m.
“We started with a committee of about 30 people when we got this thing going, just trying to figure out what to do to commemorate 400 years since indentured slaves came over to North America. Through that, we came into having a whole weekend of festive events for people to come out and enjoy,” Youngblood said.
Organizers say no matter what happens in our community, this is an opportunity for everyone to come together.
“I say peace, love and happiness. That’s the vibe I’m having right now here tonight. Come out, have a good time. Sometimes things are dark. This is a chance to see, uplift each other and have fun,” Youngblood said.
Everyone is asked to bring their own chairs for the live entertainment.