Tag Archives: Umoja Fest

PHOTO ESSAY: Umoja Fest 2021 Brings the Community Together

by Susan Fried


The 2021 Umoja Fest Day of Unity parade and festival drew hundreds of people to Jimi Hendrix Park on Aug. 7 for a day of celebrating Black entrepreneurship, music, and art. For more than 50 years Seattle’s Black community has held a summer festival. Starting in 1952, it was called the East Madison Mardi Gras, later transforming into the Pacific Northwest Black Community Festival, and in 1997 it became the Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival.

This year’s event featured a Black Unity march from 23rd Avenue and East Union Street to Jimi Hendrix Park; a children’s village; and dozens of music and dance performances by artists like Zach Bruce, April Shantae, Johnny Grant, Kutt ’N’ Up, and Skye Dior. Vendors sold food, beverages, art, household items, and clothing. Local nonprofits such as the Harriet Tubman Center for Health and Freedom, the African Americans Reach and Teach Health Ministry (AARTH), Feed the People, and the A. Philip Randolph Institute had booths to spread the word about their organization’s missions in the community. 

Wyking Garrett, the president and CEO of Africatown Community Land Trust, grew up in the Central District and remembers the Black community festivals through the years and how important they were. He spoke to the crowd this year about celebrating Black love: “What I need us to really do is change the vibration; we got to change the frequency we have to tune in and unify with Black love in our community,” he said. “Tupac said Thug Life stood for ‘the hate u give little infants f***s everybody.’ The opposite of that is, if we give the love to our children properly, we got to put our families back together because that’s where it starts. Then we put our communities, which is just a family of families, and then we put the love back in it, that’s what I want to focus on.”

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Photo Essay: Abridged 2020 Umoja Fest Celebrates Black Life

by Susan Fried


Umoja Fest African Heritage Festival & Parade is one of the summer highlights of Seattle’s Central District. The festival, formerly known as the East Madison Mardi Gras and the Pacific Northwest Community Festival, has been an annual tradition uplifting Black Americans in the region for over six decades. Continue reading Photo Essay: Abridged 2020 Umoja Fest Celebrates Black Life

PHOTOS: Umoja Fest is the Soul of Seafair and a Celebration of Seattle’s Black Community

by Susan Fried

Thousands of people attended the annual Umoja Fest at Judkins Park Aug. 2–4. This year’s event was better than ever featuring the annual AfricanTown Heritage Parade, a youth football scrimmage, the Heal the Hood Basketball Tournament, more than 100 vendors, live music, delicious food, culture, and fashion.

Continue reading PHOTOS: Umoja Fest is the Soul of Seafair and a Celebration of Seattle’s Black Community