African World Festival - Friday Archive

The Charles H. Wright Museum
of African American History

40th Annual African World Festival July 14-16th 2023 Rain or Shine


This July, The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History is proud to celebrate the 40th Annual African World Festival. We're excited about this milestone celebration! Save the Dates: July 14th - 16th.

Join us at Hart Plaza for this 3-day celebration that highlights the beauty, strength, and spirit of the African Diaspora. We expect over 25,000 people to enjoy our headliner acts, stages filled with entertainment, and over 125 vendors with food, clothing, health products, visual arts, live demonstrations, community resources and information, and much more!

Our gathering this year will highlight and represent our community and our shared past, present, and future. We look forward to exchanging stories and honoring where we've been and where we're going. 

Download the mobile app for real time access to the event schedule, artist information, the festival map and more. Or view the schedule online.


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The 2023 African World Festival (AWF) features local and international performers, more than 100 vendors, and countless opportunities for family fun.

Opening Night Headliner: Parliament Funkadelic Featuring George Clinton!

Just for the Funk of It! Parliament Funkadelic Featuring George Clinton. July 14th, 2023 — African World Festival at Hart Plaza.

We're excited to announce this year's opening night headliner for African World Festival: PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC Featuring George Clinton!

Get your ticket, come hear all your favorite hits, and enjoy an electrifying performance from the Grammy-award winning funk legends.

The performance begins at 8:00.

About George Clinton

As one of the foremost innovators of Funk, Clinton is the mastermind behind the legendary Parliament/Funkadelic, creating a uniquely identifiable and timeless art that has lifted Funk from what was once considered a simple style to an internationally recognized and respected musical genre. His incredible ingenuity has earned George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic their rightful place in music history: an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recipients of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Read More About George Clinton

Clinton started his career with the Parliaments, a barbershop doo-wop ensemble, which scored a major hit with "I Wanna Testify" in 1967.

Clinton then developed an act/sound which merged the polish of Motown acts, the rawness of James Brown, the bohemian style of Sly Stone and the pop sensibility of the Beatles – and forever set himself apart from the Motown era. By the early ’70s, the group's tight songs evolved into sprawling jams around funky rhythms. They dropped the "s" from the band’s name and Parliament was born. Around the same time, Clinton spawned Funkadelic, a rock group which fused acid-rock guitar, bizarre sound effects, and cosmological rants with danceable beats and booming bass lines. Funkadelic recorded a number of influential concept albums, including Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow, Maggot Brain and America Eats Its Young. Rolling Stone and Spin recently identified Parliament/Funkadelic as one of the top bands of all time.

1975 was a seminal year for Clinton: with the country caught up in the Watergate fallout and the Space Race, the wildly imaginative Clinton was busy redefining the possibilities of funk music and advancing the rise of Afrofuturism. That year Parliament put out two albums, Chocolate City (envisioning a post-Watergate America with Muhammed Ali as president and Aretha Franklin as First Lady) and Mothership Connection, a sci-fi tale in which Black aliens land on Earth with a simple message to earthlings: “Ain’t nothin’ but a party y’all”.  With music designed to “Put a dip in your hip and a glide in your stride,” the album included songs like “P-Funk (Wants to get Funked Up),” “Mothership Connection (Star Child)” and the group's first gold single, “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)”. These releases became instant dancefloor anthems and sparked funk's biggest crossover movement to date. The live performances of these recordings -which Clinton identified as a funk opera - climaxed with a giant spaceship landing at center stage and Clinton emerging as “Dr. Funkenstein,” which some have called the greatest single moment in the history of Funk.

Clinton's dancefloor dominance continued throughout the ’70s and into the ’80s with releases like “Flashlight,” “One Nation Under a Groove,” “(Not Just) Knee Deep” and “Aqua Boogie,” reaching its peak with the 1983 George Clinton solo release of “Atomic Dog,” which took the term "dancefloor anthem" to a new level. With its infectious beat and unique melodic structure, “Atomic Dog” remains as popular with young audiences today as it was when it was first released. Today “Atomic Dog” can be heard not only in the clubs, on campus, and at the cookout, but also in commercials (E-Trade) and numerous movies (102 Dalmatians, Trolls World Tour). It was sampled countless times, most notably by Snoop Dogg on his smash “Snoop Dogg (What’s My Name Pt. 2).” Indeed, Clinton’s P-Funk, with its infectious groove and irresistible beats, became a go-to source for countless early rap recordings. As Clinton has said, "Funk is the DNA of hip-hop and rap."

Being the most sampled artist, Clinton has become recognized as the godfather of modern urban music. Beats, loops, and samples of P-Funk have appeared on albums by 2Pac, OutKast, Dr. Dre, Busta Rhymes, Missy Elliot, De La Soul, Fishbone, Ice Cube, Public Enemy and Childish Gambino, to name but a few. Clinton’s collaborated with Kendrick Lamar on the influential rapper’s Grammy-winning album To Pimp a Butterfly. Through it all, Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic have maintained a rigorous touring schedule that would test artists 50 years his junior. Considered by many to be one of the original jam bands, Parliament/Funkadelic’s 2-to-4 hour performances appeal to and attract many of the same fans that populate concerts by The Dead, Phish, and Dave Matthews.

Celebrating his 80th year on planet Earth, Clinton is as busy as ever. In addition to touring, he is working on three recording projects that feature collaborations with a “who's who” of top artists from the last four decades. And he has started a new career as a graphic artist; his paintings were prominently displayed during Art Basel in Miami.

More Featured Performances

Friday, July 14

Sun Ra Arkestra
Sun Ra Arkestra

A pioneering jazz group founded by the late Sun Ra.

Founded in the Mid-50’s and led by 96 year old alto saxophonist Marshall Allen since Sun Ra’s Death in 1993. The group has kept touring over the past two decades.

The performance begins at 6:00 PM on the Pyramid Arts Stage.

Detroit Youth Choir
Detroit Youth Choir

The Detroit Youth Concert Choir & Performing Arts Company (DYC) is a non-profit 501(c) 3 organization that services young people throughout the Detroit Metropolitan area. The Detroit Youth Choir teaches and develops students through music education, dance, and theatrical arts. Our program is designed for youth between the ages of 8-18.

The Detroit Youth Choir vision is to offer the youth of Metro Detroit a world-class performing arts experience that develops their creative skills and talents.

The Detroit Youth Choir has performed at various events around the city of Detroit, nationally, and internationally. DYC had the opportunity to perform at the Michigan
Outdoor Adventure Center’s ribbon-cutting ceremony before Governor Rick Snyder and Mayor Mike Duggan. We also performed at the Rhythm & Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony before many celebrities, dignitaries, and pioneers of the music industry.

The Detroit Youth Choir has had major accomplishments. They participated in a documentary IMAX film titled “America’s Musical Journey”, which has been shown in all
IMAX theatres across the U.S The choir also recorded with the UK group The Go! Team and was featured on seven songs on The Go! Team’s album. The Detroit Youth Choir entered the national competition America’s Got Talent where the choir traveled Los Angeles, CA and reached 2nd place. The organization has performed for other local organizations such as; Spectrum Children Services, Detroit Pistons, U of M Basketball Club Ann Arbor, FCAAN, BCBS, DTE, Cleveland Cavaliers, Scholars for Dollars, Focus Hope, Arise Detroit, A.I.M. Youth Conference, The D-drop New Year’s Eve Celebration, IMPACT TV, Light up Detroit organization, Youth Development Commission of Detroit and The Detroit Public Library.

The first performance begins at 5:30 PM and the second performance begins at 7:00 PM at Watoto Village.

Photograph of Somi

Somi Kakoma — the vocalist, composer, and writer known in the jazz world simply as ‘Somi’ — was born in Illinois to parents who emigrated from Rwanda and Uganda. Hailed by The New York Times as “a performer in full command of her instrument and powers”, she discovered her musical identity traversing the cultural bridge between Africa and America. That sense of discovery continues to guide a career in which she has has crafted “an elegant amalgam of the musics she loves and the bi-continental experiences that have shaped her life.”(NPR)

Somi’s latest album, Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba is a deeply personal all-star tribute to Miriam Makeba, the groundbreaking South African singer and activist who turned 31 years of political exile during the apartheid era into a career of global triumph and influence. In October 2022, the Zenzile album was awarded Best Jazz Vocal Performance at the inaugural Jazz Music Awards. It is also a companion project to an original musical (also about Miriam Makeba) that Somi wrote called “Dreaming Zenzile”. Both projects arrive on the heels of the unplanned release Holy Room - Live at Alte Oper with Frankfurt Radio Big Band that Somi decided to independently put out shortly after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The album ultimately earned her a 2021 Grammy® nomination for Best Jazz Vocal Album. With that nomination, Somi became the first African woman ever nominated in any of the Grammy® jazz categories. The album also won the 2021 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Vocal Album.

Ever committed to storytelling, Somi’s previous studio album Petite Afrique tells the story of African immigrants in the midst of a gentrified Harlem in New York City, won the 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Jazz Album and featured special guest Aloe Blacc. Petite Afrique was the highly anticipated follow-up to Somi's major label debut The Lagos Music Salon which was inspired by an 18-month creative sabbatical in Lagos, Nigeria and features special guests Angelique Kidjo and Common landed at #1 on US and international Jazz charts. Straddling the worlds of African jazz, soul, and pop, Both albums earned her ECHO Award nominations in Germany for Best International Jazz Vocalist.

Closely mentored by the legendary trumpet player Hugh Masekela, Somi has carved out her own path as an artist, scholar, and activist. She is a Doris Duke Artist, Soros Equality Fellow, a United States Artist Fellow, a TED Senior Fellow, a Sundance Theatre Fellow, and a former artist-in-residence at Park Avenue Armory, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Baryshnikov Arts Center, and UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance. She is also the founder of Salon Africana, a boutique cultural agency and record label. Often celebrated for her activism, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon asked Somi to perform at the United Nations’ General Assembly in commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Somi holds undergraduate degrees in Cultural Anthropology and African Studies from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Master’s degree in Performance Studies from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University, and is currently a Graduate Prize Fellow working on her PhD at Harvard University’s Department of Music. In her heart of hearts, she is an East African Midwestern girl who loves family, poetry, and freedom.

The performance begins at 8:00 PM on the Pyramid Arts Stage.

Parliament Funkadelic featuring George Clinton
Parliament Funkadelic featuring George Clinton

As one of the foremost innovators of Funk, Clinton is the mastermind behind the legendary Parliament/Funkadelic, creating a uniquely identifiable and timeless art that has lifted Funk from what was once considered a simple style to an internationally recognized and respected musical genre. His incredible ingenuity has earned George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic their rightful place in music history: an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and recipients of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The performance begins at 8:00 PM on the Ford Main Stage.

Download the Full Friday Schedule

Saturday, July 15

"Havana Hop" Feat. Paige Hernandez

Paige HernandezHavana Hop: a children’s tale of culture and confidence!

Young Yeila dreams of being a superstar but her lack of confidence gives her awful stage fright. With advice from her mother and mentors, Yeila begins her journey to find her roots, get confidence and be amazing! Travel with Yeila who visits her grandmother in Cuba to add a salsa flavor to her own hip-hop style! The audience gets to dance along in this dynamic participation play where one actress creates three generations of lively women. Journey with Yeila as she discovers the fun of her multi-cultural heritage.

Mumu Fresh

Mumu FreshMumu Fresh (also known as Maimouna Youssef ) is a GRAMMY-Nominated, Indigenous Music award winning, Musical Ambassador for the US, elected Governor of The DC Chapter of The Recording Academy & an Ambassador of The Black Music Collective.

Mumu Fresh has toured internationally as a critically acclaimed Afro- Indigenous singer, Emcee, songwriter, activist, workshop facilitator and audio engineer who’s been called a “quadruple threat” by The Roots’ Black Thought and “groundbreaking” by Oscar-winning artist, Common.

While touring 6 of the 7 continents Mumu Fresh has built a relationship with over 200K engaged fans on social media who have shared and streamed her music millions of times in at least 92 countries throughout the world to date. Mumu Fresh’s music and philanthropic endeavours has been featured in publications such as Variety, Ebony, Essence, BET, NPR, Al-Jazeera, Afro Punk & more.

Maimouna has served as a mentor for several Grammy U affiliated young aspiring artists. In 2020, she founded her own online music education platform called “Muniversity Studies” to teach aspiring artists how to reimagine the music business and thrive independently with purpose. Mumu Fresh is quickly becoming known as an independent music mogul for her generation. She is committed to ‘Art Activism’ and has performed within the US prison system, Congressional Black Caucus, I.M.A.N. Central in Chicago, The W. K. Kellogg Foundation and more, bringing awareness to important social issues. Mumu Fresh is a global citizen, musical healer, cultural philanthropist and a community pillar.

Re Lxuise
Re Lxuise Photo

Ré Lxuise (pronounced, Rae Lou-ease) is a Detroit raised, Atlanta dwelling, Grammy Nominated songwriter. Her voice has been defined as sultry and soulful, infused with a twist of modern “R&B” essence. After the recent success of her debut album "Nostalgia: 199X", she is beginning carve her own lane in the “R&B” world. With electric stage presence and melodic grace, Ré Lxuise is the the new superstar in town!

Download the Full Saturday Schedule

Sunday, July 16th

Omar Sosa Quarteto Americanos

Omar SosaCuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa is one of the most versatile jazz artists on the scene today. He fuses a wide range of jazz, world music, and electronic elements with his native Afro-Cuban roots to create a fresh and original urban sound – all with a Latin jazz heart. Omar Sosa’s musical trajectory has taken him from Camagüey and Havana to touring in Angola, the Congo, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua in the 1980s; to a sojourn in the African-descent communities of Ecuador in the early 1990s; to an extended presence on the San Francisco Bay Area Latin jazz scene; to his current engagement with artists from France, Cuba, Brazil, and several North, West, and East African nations.

Oumou Sangaré

Oumou SangaréOumou Sangaré is an internationally renowned and award-winning singer, composer, business pioneer, and activist who champions women's rights in her native Mali and throughout Africa. Sangaré's style is wassalou, a popular musical genre derived from folk traditions in the rural southwestern part of the country. She's earned acclaim for her many recording landmarks, from her 1989 debut Moussolou, with its traditional wassalou sound, to 1996's Worotan, which featured a horn section arranged by funk legend Pee Wee Ellis, to 2009's Seya, which won Sangaré the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album. Her 2017 release, Mogoya, featured a collaboration with iconic Afrobeat drummer Tony Allen and was followed in 2022 by the typically eclectic Timbuktu.


KIZABA, is a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, pioneer of Afro-Congolese electro music, based in Montreal, Canada, who sings in French, English, Kikongo and Lingala. In 2022, for his first tour of the United States of America, in Louisiana, he was the opening performance of the historical New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on the main stage, with a line up of great artists like Lionel Richie, Ceelo Green, Charlie Wilson, Kelly, Foo Fighters and more. He has also performed for audiences at the Festival International de Louisiane and traveled to Europe to present his music in England at the Africa Oyé Festival and in Spain at Mapas. He has also toured in several shows in Canada, Quebec, British Columbia and around the world on different continents. At the beginning of his career, he accompanied jazz teacher François Mantuila Nyomo for several years, his uncle, one of the most famous guitarists on the African continent.

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40th Annual African World Festival

Members of The Wright attend free. Not a member yet? Join today.

African World Festival Retrospective Exhibition


African World Festival Through The Years Retrospective Exhibition

Visit this Retrospective Exhibition created in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Detroit's African World Festival.

Featuring Works By:

Hugh Grannum

Felicia Hunt

Kwabena Shabu

Terrence A. James

James Charles Morris

And more

The exhibit is included with festival admission.


Platinum Presenting Sponsor


African World Festival Logo


Festival Community Sessions

Thank you to everyone who joined our four Festival Community Sessions!

We loved hearing your ideas, answering your questions, and working together to plan an awesome event.

See you in Hart Plaza July 14-16 for 40th African World Festival weekend.