Posts Tagged ‘African World Festival’

This is not a drill. Matter of fact it’s a breaking news that many are now waking up to on Social Media.

For many years, at least 5 years, I have been asking and blogging about this question:

Is Milwaukee ready to go through another missing element of African World Festival, AGAIN? You really can’t have a “City of Festivals” without black folks!

And this one:

Now the flip side of this, I know Milwaukee is known as the “City of Festivals” but how does that equate? How does the other festivals get crazy paid per say, and African World Festival gets chewed out?

Well there is some news to this. A former Summerfest Marketing Executive, of the name Patrice Harris is the new mastermind/creator behind the making of this festival. And yes, she knows Summerfest!

The news hit the city today, on the same day that the Milwaukee Common Council voted to have a section of 4th Street between Capitol Drive and St. Paul Avenue to be renamed “Vel R. Phillips Ave.” Named after the late Milwaukee Alderwoman whom recently passed on.

Black Arts Fest MKE is a new thing that is coming up so I guess that everyone in the 40% of Black Milwaukee better stand in line now to back this up.

Oh, check the website:

It may not be African World Festival, or Afro Fest, and it’s a one day festival. But let’s hope this can grow and be supported promptly like the predecessors. Even also, better! And like later on, I’ll give my take on it and what it can be a new spark for the black community in the city. Wait until August!





First for those of us in Milwaukee: We have bad news that African World Festival will not happen this year.  It’s been shock that most of us in the black community have been asking why this time? Just yesterday, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist James Causey broke the news as we were getting through the Friday Workday. Even one of our news media in TV has also shared the news.  From the excepts of the story:

Two weeks ago a report came out saying that Milwaukee’s ethnic festivals combined generated an estimated economic impact of more than $68 million.

On Friday, the Board of Directors of Afro World Enterprises, announced that it has decided to forgo the 2014 African World Festival.

To ensure the continued quality of programming, we are taking this year to streamline operations, bolster sponsor opportunities and expand event offerings,” President Mark Wade said.

A two-paragraph press release also said that planning for the 2015 festival is underway and the group is excited about ​t​he development process.

Also the corporation, Afro World Enterprises expressed it’s statement in regarding African World Festival 2015:

Planning for the 2015 festival is underway and the group is excited about the development process. The organization, which also has programs that address civic engagement, access to higher education, health & wellness, operates year-round.

For those who want to know, what do they mean by streamline? Streamline what? Well the definition of streamline,  in a transitive verb sense from Webster’s Dictionary, it means: to make (something) simpler, more effective, or more productive.

So in this essence, African World Festival wants to be more simplified, effective or productive in terms of their business ideas and objectives. Which is not a bad thing. All businesses, organizations, groups make streamline business plans. Now the flip side of this, I know Milwaukee is known as the “City of Festivals” but how does that equate? ow does the other festivals get crazy paid per say and African World Festival gets chewed out?

Others may have indicated that it’s another massive case of the on-going segregation in the Milwaukee Area. We know it’s true. But the fact of the matter is, those of us who are African-American and living in the “Greater Milwaukee Area” these are my questions:


  • Where are we in the Greater Milwaukee Area in terms of the board of directors of asking questions?
  • Where are we in investing in the festival for additional fundraisers?
  • Where are we in black businesses in terms to provide additional support? And I don’t mean the well known folks!
  • Where are WE in the “GREATER AFRICAN AMERICAN MILWAUKEE AREA” (yeah you heard me right) in terms of stakeholders, investors, etc? Are we still living in the game? Um hello?


I really have to ask this, and I know that many don’t really want to hear it. But technically to us in the Black Community, African World Festival is like our meeting place for us to have. Many of us were born into it or volunteered our time in the past. BUT NOW: Since there will be no African World Festival for this year of 2014, but it will make a comeback yet again in 2015, what’s next? Even in this hyper segregated city!

Now to switch gears: Brown vs. Board of Education hits 60 years old this month. And yet there is still work to be done. Matter of fact, there is whole lot to be done.  Remember when the FLOTUS was offered to speak at a High School in Topeka Kansas, and well, she got received a whole lotta “No she can’t speak because she doesn’t know our kids.”  Or “it shouldn’t be about race” or many other false commentary coming from the “parents” of the Topeka residents and I dare some of the “students. Well apparently overall, the FLOTUS did speak at a special event in regarding the landmark event:

What was that reason again for Michelle Obama to speak in Kansas, where the Brown vs Board ruling began? Explain that.

What was that reason again, haters?!

So technically the FLOTUS was addressing the class of 2014’s Senior Appreciation Day in regarding her upbringing about her mother encountering segregated times in Chicago. President Obama’s family especially his grandparents who are products of the state of Kansas, even other past and present accomplishments. So I ask again, where is the hate, haters?! And I think the valid points of the FLOTUS was valid.

Like I said, the schools today have a LONG way to go. Even if you’re from Milwaukee. Now why Milwaukee again? We all know that the city is one of the most segregated. There are other hints that this era of technical advances of social media, surfboards and holograms of deceased performers, and the phrases of negropeans popping up, there was an article hinting in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  about a “New Jim Crow”. Rev Al Sharpton even talked about going against Jim Crow in terms “Jim Crow, Esq.” in a suit and tie for today’s standards. Today’s standards of Voter ID Restrictions against minorities and the poor, Healthcare needs, Jobs, transportation, and many others INCLUDING Education! Where to send your kids to school in all.

Most of the cities in America held parades or marches to not only mark the occasion, but also to keep a reminder that America’s schools STILL have a long way to go. My home city as many knows is the most segregated. And many are now calling it a “poster child” for this new era of Jim Crow. Even though that we’re still in the age of Obama, stuff like this has not gone away. Now there are those who might say:

Oh they should get over it.

There is no real racism.

Why you’re still talking about it?

We don’t want to be put in a classroom full of blacks or gays.

Or THE common phrase: “I’m not a racist.”

Or another common phrase: “I have a lot a black friends….”

Stop it with the mess people. Don’t lie. Even the now up and coming parents should know better.  Keep in mind for those who say, we need to teach our children more, is this teaching? I do digress that there are those who teach those to hate. And that is still being taught and supported for those who might be in office or represent a particular political party. (i.e. Majority  Republicans, Conservatives) I’m just keeping it real here. It’s like a reverse cycle in a twist to keep certain things the same and not change. For the next 60 years, will Brown vs. Board will be the real hype of what it should be without all this? I mean it is for those who want to be educated without hate. It’s a long hard process to task, but who’s up to take the plate?




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Usually I don’t do this, but recently the New York Times did a visit to the Brew City and gave a review about our city’s well known sites. Of course, whenever a visitor does come to the city, the well known sites are on the list. But however, there a couple of sites that WEREN’T on the list. And I know very well which ones that should be on the list of sites. For all the readers of the NY TImes that did read the Milwaukee Review and to the writer, you might want to reivew this also.

Dear readers of the New York Times:

It’s me, Stephen. I’m a black blogger from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

By now, many of you probably had read an article about our city of Milwaukee. In terms of where to go, where to eat, and where to shop, entertain, and more. And I’m sure the well known areas of Milwaukee that were listed in your article were very presentable. Such as Leon’s, the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Public Museum, Pfister Hotel, and many others that help made Milwaukee Famous. Yes you mention about Polish Fest and Irish Fest. But you failed to mentioned, Mexican Fiesta, Festa Italiana, and a hidden jewel: African World Festival. – Just to remind you that Milwaukee does have black people. Just saying!

One other thing about this: you failed to mentioned this company: Harley-Davidson Motor Company.

How does a writer from NY Times forget about Harley? For instance, when the company had its 110th Anniversary this past summer, it rolled out the red carpet for all the bikers near and far to view. The best part of visiting Harley-Davidson is one, you have to checkout the Harley-Davidson Museum. For those who are the Motorcycle Fanatics. And while the visit, you might want to checkout the restaurants of Cafe Racer and Motor for the lunch and dinner, and if possible, feel free to spend your money at the Museum’s gift shop.  Another spot to visit: La Perla. It’s on Milwaukee’s south-side near 5th and National that serves Mexican Food. We also have the Iron Horse Hotel. (Heard of this?!) It’s not just for visits, but for stay and dine in. You probably may have read about this years back. Yes, it’s a hotel for Bikers. But with those who don’t have a motorcycle can stay, and yes it’s pet friendly.

One correction in your article about the brewery tours: Miller does this. Pabst has not. But the Pabst Mansion does offer the tours on Wisconsin Avenue. The mansion has good setups around the Holidays, especially Christmas. Another spot to go, and this is for my African-American crowd: You need to go to Bronzeville and check out Growing Power Market on MLK drive. You have heard of Will Allen, and years ago he was honored by President Barack Obama for his work in Agriculture. Also for the African American crowd in a cultural sense: Even though we don’t have a African American Community Center, (which is up and coming) but we have a Wisconsin Black Historical Society in which houses many different exhibits of Milwaukee’s Black History that is well known. Plus also, hidden. And as far as the arts in the city, you know Summerfest, our 11 day festival.

On rare occasion: The US Bank Building does have tours on the Observation Deck but that might be ideal on the list. As far as food, heard of Kopps? Yes even thought at one time, it was under scrutiny, but the food, especially the burgers are good. I can go on and on. Hold up. we do have some arts and entertainment sites of the Riverside Theater, the Milwaukee Theater, and also the Hyatt Hotel. What is unique about this hotel is the revolving area near the top. You have to take a visit for that one.

So in conclusion, yes the City is some areas is behind. And usually I bust out with the “tail end sentences”.  But in some ways, it is trying to move forward. Maybe if the next visit does come might involve a new streetcar, and a upgrade from MZ Transportation to be in the 21st Century to add along with the visitations from other cities.

So technically yes, the sites and areas are sufficient for visits as previously reported. But like everything else: there is more than usual to check out.



I’ll say this. I’m glad that Milwaukee’s African World Festival is back in August. Or should I say, yet again. And it maybe only for one day, but I’m glad it’s back again. Now we all know why that is because of past financial issues with debts. I know by reading the history, I’m thinking why this Festival since 1982, was having it’s problems previously. Was it mismanagement? Probably. I know I shouldn’t front, but that can be for any company or any organization. We know. So there is nothing wrong of rebuilding. That is what African World Festival is doing. With all the acts of Charlie Wilson or Fred Hammond and the acts that are for the” over 40 crowd” (which I have no problem with) maybe this could be a way for the product to be built again. Last year, I saw some of my High School Friends rocking the Potowanomi Area, with rap music and spit poetry, which catered to my generation. (No disrepect Old School Milwaukee folks, but we need some of us to represent)

Now those who think that having a One Day thing is a stupid idea: I want to address this to those who think this: Where were you?!!!! You are the ones going around complaining about nothing to do in all. Are you the same ones that are making fools of yourselves on the 9:00pm news like at Riverwest and stuff back on July 3rd? Following those who think like you and do things like you to get attention? I’m talking to those who sit on their rear ends, always whining and complaining about nothing on Facebook, complaining about this, and complaining about that. If you really “care” about African World Festival so much, then why don’t you join up and bring your ideas to motion! Volunteer or something. Go to their meetings and events. I’m saying this as an African-American citizen of this city, not some outsider who thinks to have an answer for everything. That’s one of the main reasons why (you know what I’m saying).

This goes to those who thought that John Marshall High School closed up. If you haven’t been paying attention, Marshall is still open! It had gone through changes, but the building is still open. Go to the website: and get the truth. Plus talk to the Alumni Association and get the truth also. Don’t just “hear” from “your friends” in all, because they probably heard it wrong too! And plus, the school is still celebrating 50 years in the city.

If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.  Get it right, Milwaukee. And God bless the African World Festival for another year.

I got this idea from a Facebook Group Site that just came up. So instead of being a copycat, I decided to list things that I know are Milwaukee – Related. Some should make you think, but it is a way to remember those days:

You know if you’re from Milwaukee if…….

  • You used to go to restaurants like Arthur Treachers, Zantigos, and Red Barn.
  • You at one time went into Mill Road Theaters when Boyz N’ the Hood came out. Admit it!
  • You always smell beer for some reason going north on I-94 downtown.
  • You always remember that there was a green sheet in the Milwaukee Journal. Plus a Jump magazine.
  • You remember at one time Capitol Court had a theater, and a Gimbels.
  • You remember when Jeffery Dahmer was on the news like everyday.
  • You remember when the MCTS had the Number 1 Metrolink. (And the Number 2)
  • You remember that Riverside University High School was once called “East Division.”
  • You remember that North Division and Lincoln High Schools were the prominent rival schools. (North-Lincoln Rivalry)
  • You remember when North Division was “Real”.
  • You remember that John Marshall High School was THE school to go (back in the 70’s).
  • You remember when V100 started to play “new material”.
  • You first heard that Hot 102 was about to become New Rock 102.1 for again “new material”.
  • You always see the Jesus car up and down Wisconsin Avenue.
  • You remember when the Packers used to play some of their home games at County Stadium.
  • You remember when African World Festival was ALL three days
  • You remember when the city was a hotbed for pro wrestling, before the WWE.
  • You remember when there was store in Wauwatosa named Zayre.
  • If you shopped at a Pick N’ Save, a Cub Foods, a Jewel, and now a Piggly Wiggly in the same area of Capitol Court.
  • If you gone to the Mecca Arena for Bucks Games and Wrestling.
  • If you went to a AWA Wresting match and watch “Da Crusher” or “Mad Dog Vachon”.
  • If you remember smelling ambrosia chocolate or beer on the freeway.
  • If you remember the Boulevard Inn was near Washington Park before it was burned down by another company.
  • If you remember or heard that Washington Park was originally the County Zoo.
  • If you had family members who worked at places like Pfister & Vogel, Allis Chalmers,  or Trostels.
  • If you heard stories that every store in Milwaukee was closed on Sundays.
  • If you knew that Metropolitan High School used to be “Lapham Park”.
  • If you remember Pig and Whistle, a frozen custard shop in Shorewood. Besides Leon’s, and Kopp’s.
  • When Milwaukee had 2 Parades in the summer: City of Festivals and the Circus Parade back to back.
  • If you went to The Rave for a concert when it used to be The Eagles Club. Admit it.
  • If you went to the Pabst Mansion when it was a Haunted House and got scared every Halloween.
  • When Channel 18 had a first for 9:00pm news segment. And Tami Hughes was making a debut.
  • When the WWE (then the WWF) had a County Stadium appearance  called WrestleFest.
  • When Jerry Taff used to say “Good Night and better tomorrows”.
  • When Channel 24 had “Martin” on during the first season, and that one Halloween show was almost getting good until the station had technical difficulties. Anyone over 30 should remember that!
  • When you heard that when McDonald’s was first built, you had to drive from one part of town just to get to it.
  • When Duane Gay was on the air commenting “That’s the way I see it. How about you?” on Channel 18 News. (Or Super 18)
  • When you hear constant noise of rumble every 5 years of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles Anniversary.
  • When Channel 12 acquired Eleanor Hayes as an Anchorwoman- a first in Black History of the station.
  • When Colder’s used to have those spooky Halloween commercials. I mean SPOOKY! Next to Gordon Furniture’s eerie commercial towards the end.
  • When you now have to either watch “Morning Blend” or now “Real Milwaukee”.
  • Milwaukee is known for being a Cream City, A Genuine City and Chicago’s little brother.
  • When of all things you really have to do,  Lake Michigan or Bradford Beach Gatherings.
  • When the MCTS used to have “Accordion Style” buses and the ripcords that used to make that buzzing noise.
  • You had someone to buy a Beat It coat at JL Marcus back in the 80’s.
  • You still call Milwaukee, “Brew City” – which is nothing wrong at all.
  • You always find “that spot” every July 3rd at Veterans Park.
  • You hear F-16’s flying overhead almost every summer practicing for the Air & Water Show.
  • When John Marshall High School was a “Junior-Senior High School” and it was large over 3,000 students.

The first Decade of the 2010’s was a harsh one. But also in other ways a good start for the year. I had a chance to get  a new schedule job change, volunteer and work for my Alumni Folks, help my church to “Rethink”, won my case of my Saxophone and getting an unexpected check from Reed vs Dresser Settlement Claims. And like every other year, 2010 and I had some losses. Tough losses.

The Good:

Rethink Church. Especially my church.

Juneteenth Day in Wisconsin became a State Holiday. It’ s real now, not even Scott Walker or the haters can’t touch it.

Milwaukee’s African World Festival returns with a one day festival in August. – Which is my “Favorite Comeback Event of the year”. After being out of the spotlight for two years financially.

Alumni Check ins: Had a chance to return to my High School Reunion, College and University Alumni Functions and workshops. Big ups to Milwaukee’s John Marshall High School Class of 1990-2000 Reunions, the Milwaukee Area Technical College and University of Wisconsin-Stout Alumni Associations.

Eugene Kane and James Causey of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. At least they tell some good news.

Wisconsin Badgers Football. 2010 Big Ten Champs.

Wisconsin establishments are now Smoke Free! So I can go to a club and be healthy at the same time. The haters on the other hand don’t think it’s an idea. What’cha been smoking?

Brandon Jennings had a good season with the Bucks.

The Green Bay Packers with or without Aaron Rodgers. And with Clay Matthews!

Milwaukee had received 2 WWE Smackdown Events at the Bradley Center in the year.

Milwaukee County Supervisor Nikyla Harris became the new Supervisor of Milwaukee’s District 2 area replacing Toni Clark.

For me: I had some good pointers in 2010 in which was personal. My saxophone that I owned for 21 years,  was under siege by a local music shop which they thought it was stolen, but there was no proof of that of being stolen. However it was returned to me no charge. And in October, I was awarded a check over 5 grand with the Reed vs Dresser Settlement Case which had a problem of hiring, training  and taking in Wisconsin African-American Applicants. For all you companies out there, you better be careful of not hiring blacks because it might bite you big!

Health Care Reform! – Good.  And so the haters began to complain.

Shani Davis winning the Gold Medal in Speed-skating – AGAIN!

Mo’Nique winning an Oscar Award. – Don’t Hate!

New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl.

Brett Favre’s Streak of 297 games – Over. And was looking at 2 losses against the Packers.

Don’t Ask Don’t Tell – IS OVER! Let them serve openly.

Keith Olbermann for attacking the Tea Party, the Shirley Sherrod Case, and the question “Where are the people of color at the Tea Parties?”

Bill Maher – enough said.

In Music: No I didn’t listen to Justin Bieber and other folks. I listened to Cypress Hill, Diddy Dirty Money, Eminem, The Roots, Toni Braxton, Ice Cube, Michael Jackson’s new joint, Faith Evans, and a bunch of Old School stuff that took me back in the day before Lil Wayne’s and TI’s prison terms.

Windows Phone 7

In Movies: Iron Man 2, The A-Team, The Karate Kid (2010 Version), Machete, Get Him to The Greek, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Faster – which has a Milwaukee connection. And for the record: NO SOCIAL NETWORK!

NBA Jam made a comeback. And Call of Duty: Black Ops was a hit!

On TV: Real Milwaukee – that show is hilarious! WWE, Real Time, True Blood, Entourage, Countdown, The Rachel Maddow Show, & The Ed Show.

I also met new folks on Facebook, a local Black fraternity, and sent over 2,000 tweets on twitter.

The NAACP for standing up to the Tea Party and telling them to repudiate (not refudiate) their racist elements.

Milwaukee gained new stations in HD – A country music station, and a retro station that shows nothing but old school shows.

The Bad:

I need to put this on the top of the list: Ron Johnson and Scott Walker. And my opinion, Tom Barrett and Russ Feingold shouldn’t have lost under the so-called Wisconsin Tea Party folks!

The Tea Party. And not to forget the “Don’t Tread on Me” Flags, and those wished that it was the American Revolution all over again.

Michael Steele.



The Fox 6 Milwaukee Blog site. I’ll  miss that the most.

The blizzard on the East Coast. Hey, we Midwesterner folks know that all too well.

Folks rushing to the stores to buy the Ipad. It’s not that serious!

Andrew Breitbart and his “stories” of Shirley Sherrod footages with the NAACP.

Sarah Palin.

Alveda King. – She needs a reality check of her famous uncle!

Glenn Beck.

Charlie Sykes and any right wing news hack in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee Brewers – don’t hate. If they start winning more,  they will be on my good list.

Atlanta Hawks Player Josh Smith of his comment about Milwaukee in general.

Black owned restaurants in Milwaukee of Stella’s, The Bayou, and Manna House all forced to close up shop. This is one example of why the black (and I mean BLACK) businesses is in need of constant support.

When will Nintendo Wii and EA Sports ever get it with Madden?

Brass Bell Music in Glendale, WI. See my For me post.

Dresser Waukesha for not hiring and training African-Americans in Wisconsin.

Wisconsin and the “boondoggle/It will never work/brain-drain syndrome” – and letting go 810 Million Dollars of High Speed Rail and the jobs. That was a waste.  And Talgo is moving out in 2012 leaving a maintenance base. Wow Scott Walker, and Wisconsin Tax-Payers. Thank you morons for making sure that the state stays behind. Disgusted.

A bar in Wisconsin that refused blacks as patrons. Don’t that send us back even more?!

Haiti Earthquake.

BP Oil Spill.

The flood in Milwaukee that the city didn’t had in over 100 years. Crazy. And remember that sinkhole!

Milwaukee is ranked 4th as poorest in the nation, and it’s still segregated. And the crazy JSOnline folks who spend too much time on the columns of Eugene Kane and others still don’t understand. Are they too broke to work or go to school? My God!

Milwaukee is number 1! ( in Drinking).

Crazy and UGLY!!!!:

What is up with Milwaukee’s Bradford Beach and folks of all colors can’t get along? And again, there are those in Milwaukee who see the blacks as thugs? When will I get my chance? When?!  And when will Milwaukee will get out of the 1975/1980’s “all day everyday” syndrome?

Conan O’Brien leaves the Tonight Show and re-enters Jay Leno. Meanwhile months later, Conan goes to TBS.

Back in the spring, when the Milwaukee Bucks were in the playoffs, the term “Fear The Deer” became a reality when a heard of deer crashed a bar in Menomonie during the game.

I became a “hater victim” on Youtube.  If you want to know, well it was about this jobber named superstr5 or whatever his name was, thought I was lying about going to a wrestling match in 1996.  Hello, I got the ticket stub at home to prove this! Let this be a warning to everyone: I’m not here to get cracked on. If you got a bone to pick on, pick on somebody else. One thing for sure, I did reported the incident on youtube. AND I MEAN on YOUTUBE!

The High Speed Rail Project was first halted by Gov. Jim Doyle, then was the setup by Scott Walker to scrap it.  Again: A Waste.

On the lighter side of things time to reflect on those we lost:

Teena Marie – you younger bucks better recognize real music instead of being a pretty face.

Laurie Bembenek

Leslie Neilsen

Lena Horne

Gary Coleman

Barbara Billingsby

George Steinbrenner

Rue McClanahan

Dixie Carter

Teddy Pendergrass

Locally where I’m at: I lost those who were close –

Forrest Rash

Rev. Jodie Joiner

Ethel Richards

Dorothy McGuin

and two I felt were family: Sabrina Junior who was my cousin was murdered in August.  This was a disgusting act of violence that effected my family, my younger cousins who will not see their mother again. And my family had the family dog we called “boo-bear” had be put to sleep because of age illness. We were blessed to have her as a dog. We took her in our home, fed her, played with her and just took her in as family. We thanked God for her 14 years (98 dog years) she has given us.

2010 was a rough start.  But I think 2011 will be an improvement of better beginnings, healing, and outcomes.