If those in Wisconsin missed out, we had a one day festival of celebrating African culture. And this was the only weekend in which it was scaled down but it was a chance to celebrate. Yes, I ran into folks who were church, high school, family and others just to catch up. But more importantly, since it’s a comeback yes, I’m glad it’s back. But…..I have some ideas for improvement. For that I present: A blog letter to: African World Festival. And yes, I’m pulling a sample out of Melissa Harris-Perry’s playbook of her “dear letters”. 

Dear African World Festival:

It’s me Stephen. You know that blog guy from Milwaukee?

First, let me congratulate you on another African World Festival for 2013. Yes, I will admit it wasn’t the same as last year, but I have to realize that it was something to be good. Yes, I had a chance to find my niche to bring my Nikon camera and to take pics of the performances that took place on the Johnson Controls Stage, as well as the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse and the Miller Oasis. And yes I had chance to share pics of India.Arie as she performed her well known hits and new songs like “Cocca Butter”. Oh yes, I had a good time. Many on us do realize that this is the first African World Festival when 1290 WMCS was declared dead as a doornail, but I kept thinking that African World Festival is still standing, had some cuts but was able to go. And some other thoughts must come up for ideas. So in this advice, I’ll dab in some pointers I think should expand as I like to call a new plan. Start taking notes Black Milwaukee if it’s worth your time of this moment.

First: Keep attempting to shoot back to at least 2 -3 days per year. One day isn’t that bad.

Second: I saw some fireworks at the Discovery World Museum near by the festival, but I’ll say this. Bring them back to African World Festival. I haven’t seen fireworks at African World Festival since the 90’s. Is there a way that can be arranged? With music and lights Per-say? And have those who use the fireworks to train others for using them just for this festival?

Third: Word was that the National Governors Association was in town, and it pains to admit, did they knew that there was a African-American festival taking place? Just to think that some could have known about it and pay a visit to see what’s up. Oh, wait I blame Scott Walker. Just saying. Nevermind.

Fourth: Fundraiser, Fundraiser, Fundraiser. Donate, Donate, Donate! I think what the festival company should do, is to advertise year round donations for those who want to help assist with the financial manners in conjunction with the organization. Plus yes, the All White Affair and the All Black Affair are in effect, but what about in between? And besides the well known companies? Time to brainstorm!

Fifth: Now since the Wisconsin 30 is displaying their artwork at the Milwaukee Art Museum (by the way 30 Americans is not a miss to see) I think the African American Community for the Arts SHOULD connect with African World Festival in ways of community connections. Expansion is key!

Sixth: Can African World Festival have the Sky gliders to ride?

Seventh: Even though it’s labeled as the Meeting Place, (which it is), I think there should be a section for open public discussion: we know jobs, economics, housing, health and many other concerns that Black Milwaukee needs to constantly tackle! And speaking of jobs and networking, AWF should have this idea flowing.

Eighth: Bust out more local talent. No matter if it’s R&B, Rap, Hip-Hop or a Black Greek Step show contest. Get more genres to represent. Like Reggae, African, World, or Rock. Yes, Rock music is black music. Just saying. And as usual invite the well knowns like Charlie Wilson, or get Booker T to perform. And yes, India.Arie can do a “next year” performance.

Ninth: Many of the news avenues didn’t carry African World Festival this year. And I know that yes the Wisconsin State Fair is going on. But just don’t just focus on the State Fair.

And the last thing: Keep up the morale of the positiveness of the festival. And reopen the kids stage for additional shows. Plus hire volunteer photographers who love to take pictures and have social media folks who love to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Overall, yes, this was good year to come. But like every year, you have to ask this, what’s next?




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