By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
ATLANTIC CITY — Nathan Smalls said he wanted the same vision of African Americans that he grew up with in a family of successful community leaders and business people and not the images he often saw on television.
The Black Excellence Festival, or BE Festival for short, is meant to counteract many of the negative images Smalls said as come to dominate the media airways. The June 17-19 BE Festival based out of Atlantic City’s Showboat Hotel in celebration of Juneteenth will be jam packed with food, entertainment, events, faith praising and celebration of African Americans.
“I created the BE Festival because I watched on television how our Black culture was being degraded,” Smalls told Front Runner New Jersey. “I saw Black women fighting each other, ripping their clothes off and degrading each other. I realized that we don’t control a lot of the images we saw about us. I hope people walk away with a different perception.
“I want them to walk away with a sense of pride in who they are as people and assemble the best of our culture. We are of all different cultures, from African, the Caribbean and Latin America, We want to have a celebration that recognizes and celebrates all of those things.”
There will be something for everyone at the Black Excellence Festival — from more than 200 business vendors, panel workshops, to concerts, beach events, a comedy show, parties and even a baptism of more than 1,000 performed by ministers on Saturday morning.
READ on FRNJ Extra: Black Excellence Festival Is More Than an Event for Nathan Smalls
“It would be impossible to do something this wonderful without thanking God for what he’s done for us and created,” Smalls said. “I’ve created the Black Excellence Praise to have pastors and ministers coming from New York, Atlantic City to Delaware.”
Vendors will have a chance share their products over the three days of the festival. One of the highlights of the three-day event will be the Black Excellence Film Festival and the appearance of popular actor Malik Yoba, formerly of “New York Undercover.” He will present two documentaries at the film festival.
There will be a celebration for HBCU’s for young people, a comedy show on Saturday, June 18, that will feature some of the top comics in the region.
Some of the events that will take place include:
Friday, June 17, starting at noon
- Festival Welcome social
- BE Film Festival
- Book Author Showcase
- Father’s Day Celebration
- Friday Night Comedy Jam hosted by Big Momma
- Caribbean Fest Concert
- BE Praise Fest
- DJ Spontane & Friends
Saturday, July 18, starting at 9 a.m.
- BE Festival Beauty Bar
- House Music Beach Party
- Speaker Steven Anthony King
- HBCU Day Party
- BE Praise Fest
- R&B and Hip-Hop Concert in former House of Blues
- DJ Fah D 80s vs 90s Party
Smalls said he wanted to create an event he believed was worthy of celebrating African Americans, their freedom and history.
“The highlight of the event is actually the weekend, spending that time together and bringing as many African Americans together to celebrate our history,” Smalls said. “The No. 1 goal, the crowning achievement is having us look forward.
“Unfortunately, some of us don’t even understand what Juneteenth is and its significance. It also falls on Father’s Day, so we’re going to celebrate Black men and do it right.”
In the end, Smalls said if the participants should walk away from the BE Festival with anything, is should be renewed since of pride.
“I want people to really understand why we are a strong people and that we contribute so much to this country and the world,” Smalls said. “We need to walk away with that sense of pride.”
For details about Atlantic City Black Excellence Festival, go to: www.thebefestival.com.
Check out the flyers below for more details.
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