Close-up photo depicting Shaina Shepherd singing passionately into a microphone.

PHOTO ESSAY | Umoja Fest 2022 Celebrates Black Unity and Love

by Susan Fried


Last weekend, thousands turned out for Umoja Fest, Seattle’s iconic annual celebration of Black love and unity that started over 70 years ago. Taking place in Judkins park Aug. 5–7, the festival featured hundreds of vendors, DJs, live performances, a Children’s Village, arts activities, a football scrimmage, and a parade on Saturday, Aug. 6. The Africatown Heritage Parade started on Cherry Street and moved down to Judkins Park. Marching bands, dance groups, Buffalo Soldiers, and many more took part, with enthusiastic spectators lining the streets to cheer them on. 

Check out some scenes of this year’s Umoja Fest and the parade below.

Slime-making was one of the most popular activities at the Umoja Fest Children’s Village. (Photo: Susan Fried)
The All-City Band marches in the Umoja Fest Parade on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo: Susan Fried)
A member of the Electronettes Drill Team performs at the end of the Umoja Fest Parade on Saturday, August 6. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Those who watched the parade lined the intersection of 23rd and Jackson Street. (Photo: Susan Fried)
The Electronettes Drill Team performs at the end of the Umoja Fest Parade on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Frisco Kid, part of the Seattle Buffalo Soldiers parade contingent, demonstrates some gun tricks during the Umoja Fest Parade on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Seattle Buffalo Soldier James Jones waits for the Umoja Fest Parade to start. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Thousands of people attended the annual Umoja Fest over the weekend of Aug. 5 through Aug. 7, 2022. (Photo: Susan Fried)
A model walks the runway on the Afrobeats Stage on Saturday, Aug. 6, during Umoja Fest. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Some children participate in a dance off with DJ Vitamin D and host Nate Jackson in front of the main stage on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, during Umoja Fest. (Photo: Susan Fried)
Young entrepreneurs Olu Dixon and Eyoub Endris sell their T-shirts at the 2022 Umoja Fest in Judkins Park on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo: Susan Fried)

Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. Her early career included weddings, portraits, and commercial work — plus, shes been The Skanner News’ Seattle photographer for 25 years. Her images have appeared in the University of Washingtons The Daily, The Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and many more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.

📸 Featured Image: Local singer, songwriter, and organizer Shaina Shepherd performs on the main stage during Umoja Fest on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo: Susan Fried)

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