In the bustling city of Houston, where cultural amalgamation paints its streets with vibrant hues, stands a monumental testament to African and African-American heritage – The Black Heritage Fest. An initiative of the Foundation for Black Heritage and Culture, a recognized 501c3 organization, the festival has grown exponentially since its inception, both in its offering and its significance.
Over the course of a weekend, the Black Heritage Fest offers an immersive dive into the rich tapestry of African and African-American culture. Attendees are treated to a mix of local and international musical prodigies, enlightening guest speakers, thought-provoking exhibits, and much more. Each element, be it the health & wellness education or the unique exhibits, is meticulously curated to blend the essence of African and African-American style.
But what truly sets this fest apart is its commitment to promoting diversity, cultural sensitivity, and community social responsibility. Every year, the festival is a congregation of thousands who come to honor local icons, enjoy the craftsmanship of artists and poets, and sway to the legendary beats of the music industry. And all of this magic unfurls in the heart of Houston, in its popular venues and parks.
At the helm of this mammoth cultural fest stands Richard Andrews, M.Ed, the Founder, and CEO of the Foundation for Black Heritage and Culture. A Louisiana native and a proud father, Andrews’ journey began with his fascination for the global cultural festivals he encountered during his travels. Yet, in those vibrant celebrations, he saw an opportunity for his own culture to shine, to commend its significance in the world and, more so, in Houston.
The dream took shape in 2015 with the Houston Black Heritage Music & Arts Festival. Against all odds and fueled by tireless efforts, the event drew a whopping 10,000 attendees. Today, it is poised to become one of the nation’s largest festivals.
Richard Andrews, a Texas Southern University alumnus, has always been an advocate for community growth. His endeavors have consistently aimed at providing scholarships for HBCUs, Texas Southern, and Prairie View A&M University. Andrews’ mantra, inspired by his mother, has been to selflessly give the best of oneself. His years of work as a community organizer, his collaborations with esteemed leaders, and his contributions to the city have rightfully earned him accolades and respect.
But the Black Heritage Fest isn’t just the vision of one. The FBHC Board of Directors for 2022-2023, a collection of luminaries in their respective fields, bring diverse expertise to the table:
Darryl King, CEO of the Principle Partnering Group, LLC, focuses on facilitating partnerships and objectives in the business realm.
Deborah M. Wilson, Ed.D, LPC, LCDC, brings in decades of experience in teaching, mental health counseling, and program development. She stands as a strong advocate for the African American community.
Osjetta Gascey, the Digital Marketing Lead at Cigna, bridges her vast experience in non-profit and healthcare with her dedication to mentoring young professionals.
Dr. Tyra Jones offers her expertise in education, especially in graduate-level math and science, while also advocating for equal opportunity in education.
Constance Jones champions minority businesses as the Senior Director of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, living her passion daily.
Beyond these stellar personalities, the festival invests in the future with the Festival Youth Ambassador Program. Affiliated with the Tilman J. Fertitta Family College of Medicine Students UH, this initiative kindles the fire of passion in young college students. Through hands-on experiences, these ambassadors carry forward the legacy, ensuring that the festival’s impact resonates for generations to come.
The Black Heritage Fest stands as an embodiment of a community’s pride, its history, and its unwavering spirit. It’s more than an event; it’s a movement – echoing tales of the past, celebrating the present, and crafting a brighter future.