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African cultural diversity on display at Bantu Fest!

By Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad -Final Call Newspaper- | Last updated: Aug 21, 2019 - 8:18:55 AM

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CHICAGO—The third annual Bantu festival brought thousands from across the city of Chicago together to enjoy food, music and cultural diversity at Midway Plaisance in Hyde Park. Live bands, drum and dance performances, artist showcases, fashion shows, food representing a variety of cuisines from different countries and much more were part of the weekend fun.

Top photo: (L) Thousands enjoyed the vending with many products and services offered (R) Musical artist Lavelle Spitz at the Bantu Fest. -Bottom Photo: (L) Syleena Johnson performs at Bantu festival. (R) Participants enjoyed food and performances during festival.

Bantu Entertainment aims to promote businesses and cultural exchange around the globe by organizing positive and uplifting events. Its Bantu festival attracts an average of over 30,000 people from various walks of life and hundreds of vendors.

This year’s festival was held July 27-28 and performances featured international jazz singer Dee Alexander, Aleph Beatz, Amyna Love, Limitless Soundz, Haitian Band D’LUX and Team B.A.D. from Belize. This year’s hosts included WGCI/Black Ink Chai radio host Charmaine J.; rapper/MC and entrepreneur Precise and Phenom; and radio/TV personality Kendra G.

Reginald H. from the South Side of Chicago said the Bantu festival reminds him of the beauty of Black communities coming together.

“I think it’s beautiful, Black people coming together [to] celebrate culture and enjoy the summer,” he told The Final Call. “It seems like they added more vendors this year which is good so that means more Black dollars recycled so that’s always a positive thing,” he said.

Participants enjoyed food from cuisines from around the world and shopped with vendors. From household items to beauty and body products; and from vegan to Southern dishes, there was something for everyone to enjoy.

“I thought if I’m going to see anybody’s fest I better hurry up,” said Ursula M. from Ravenswood, Chicago. “I wondered what they had and I think it’s nice; I just discovered the food and food is always good!”

Qaadir Muhammad, 16, is a student at Muhammad University of Islam and volunteered at the festival. He said the people and different cultures is what makes up the experience and enjoyment.

“I like everyone coming around together, the different cultures from Africa and certain places. It’s a welcoming gift,” he said. “It’s just fun going out with everybody [and] my friends. You get to meet new people.”

For more information on the Bantu festival,