Life and Religion
|The Black Mecca festival highlights culture, music, art and technology|
|Showcase at Camp North End Sept. 21-22|
|Published Wednesday, September 19, 2018 10:00 am|
|COURTESY SEKONA WASHINGTON|
|Sekona Washington is founder of The Black Mecca festival, which is Sept. 21-22 at Camp North End.|
Celebrate black culture collectively.
The Black Mecca festival takes place at Camp North End Sept. 21-22 with the intention of recognizing music, art and tech within black culture.
“There are so many different things that represent black culture as a whole,” said festival founder Sekona Washington. “A lot of times we kind of celebrate those things kind of individually from one another, whereas I came up with the idea of The Black Mecca to pretty much merge all of those different aspects together so that we can celebrate the culture and the community in its totality—under one roof, one space, at one time.”
Housing the festival at a space like Camp North End—a refurbished factory—offers an expansive indoor and outdoor area for the event.
“Honestly, the first time I stepped onto Camp North End I fell in love with the venue,” Washington said. “It matches what we wanted to go for.”
Washington sought out not only local acts like R&B singer Cyanca and rapper Deniro Farrar, but national ones as well—such as headliner SiR, as well as rapper/singer Kari Faux. Watch Jazzy is the host.
The Black Mecca incorporates a philanthropic component, accepting donations for Behailu Academy, an arts-based youth organization in NoDa.
“Just being the type of person I am, I always like to add some type of charitable aspect,” Washington said. “We are all a community, and we all have to assist one another. I came in contact with Behailu a couple of years back. I wanted to pour into the young generation as much as I could. Just from spending an afternoon with them, I found out how passionate these kids are about the arts. Just knowing that connection with them, they came to my mind instantly when I thought about a local charity that I wanted to give to, because they are about moving forward through art, and this is an art, music and tech festival—it all kind of made sense.”
A native of Greensboro, Washington graduated UNC Charlotte in 2012 with a degree in marketing.
“I fell in love with Charlotte, and have been here ever since,” she said. “The amount of people that we now have here allows us to have that national presence, because Charlotte doesn’t just have people who have been living in Charlotte. Charlotte has become a melting pot of people coming from all over the world. With that, you have a lot of music lovers because music is a very influential means of communication and substance overall that people enjoy, no matter what genre it is. By having the amount of people that Charlotte now has, it actually gives us that opportunity to take the spotlight, be able to make the space when it comes to having festivals, being creative over, and being known for that as a city.”
Said native Charlottean Marcus Kiser, who has been involved as a graphic designer in creating content for the festival: “You’re creating opportunities for the people in the neighborhoods.”
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