It's been 6 or 7 years since I've been back in Winston-Salem and seen the National Black Theater Festival, and I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of the beautiful people and activities going on in my city!
When I first moved back to Winston I was very irritated (and I still am) with the lack of things to do here compared to surrounding cities, but we're working on that. When I was younger I was not interested in the plays so my parents wouldn't take me (which was weird because I was always in plays and obsessed with musicals as a child). But if I were my parents I wouldn't waste money on a ticket for me either. My attention span was the size of a rock.
I remember walking up and down the streets and visiting the vendors like the rest of the kids. Now that I'm older, the National Black Theater Festival was a different experience, especially with Winston’s new growth in the last year.
Wednesday, I enjoyed my first play at the National Black Theatre Festival called “The Journals of Osborne P. Anderson,” which was written and directed by Ted Lange and featured famous actors such as Starletta DeBoise, (Friday After Next), and many more.
They play recapped the story of John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry through the journals of the only survivor Osborne Anderson. The heart-wrenching stories were told from the various perspectives of blacks in the 1800s.
Unfortunately, rain mixed with having to work put a damper on being a part of activities earlier in the week, but I was able to be in the middle of the hustle and bustle of downtown. I gained honor the of working with a fellow creative I met stalking on Instagram and we people-watched through the glass of Camino Bakery and Washington Perk as we planned something new we have been working on together. (WAIT ON IT) I had my camera on hand and she picked it up and started snapping culture as it filled the streets, I didn’t argue, I just let her do her thing.
There were so many people dressed up to look nice for the plays. Many were in traditional African garb.
After Friday’s rain I was finally able to take advantage of the many things the festival had to offer, such as the Midnight Poetry Slam and the International Vendor’s Market inside the Benton Convention Center.
A few friends and I headed down to the Marriott to enjoy the live music upstairs and a dance floor downstairs. The building was so full of life and everyone was obviously there to enjoy the good music and each others company. I even got a chance to meet Winston-Salem native 9th Wonder! He was welcoming and laughed at my excitement to meet him.
Saturday we attended the block party, we danced in the field as an old school cover band played endless hits and eventually walked the packed downtown streets. We later went to Bull's Tavern, which has a different live band every night. I fell in love with the and that night, Crank the Dank, a band all the way from Georgia. They played a variation of funk and rock throughout their set and it was never a dull moment with them. I have never seen so many people in one area from Winston-Salem at one time! I was excited to see those I had not seen sense almost Children's Church, like artist Steve Frazier (check him out and follow him @iamstevefrazier), I was in love with his coat, and had to snap a pic! However he was not the only one, there were so many beautiful and well-dressed people that I HAD to get their photos.
Maybe I was just too young to remember, but I have never seen Winston go all out like this. From watching beautiful people walk by, the plays, or just socializing with other young people in the city, I really enjoyed the National Black Theater Festival this year