For more than 20 years, DC Black Pride has celebrated the black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the nation's capital. Every Memorial Day weekend, Washington plays host to a wealth of black LGBT workshops, galas, movie screenings and more. This year's Black Pride kicked off on May 24 and continues through May 27.
Every Memorial Day, Atlantans converge on the city's beautiful Piedmont Park for the annual Atlanta Jazz Festival, one of the country's largest free jazz festivals. Running May 26-28, the event features an impressive lineup of some of modern jazz's best talents, including the Lionel Loueke Trio, Gregoire Maret, Roy Ayers and Tito Puente Jr. But beyond the music, the festival offers an entertaining Memorial Day weekend — replete with good food, arts and crafts and mixed media — for just about everyone in the family.
The Brooklyn Academy of Music, or BAM, is the country's oldest performing-arts center. And for more than 30 years, BAM has hosted DanceAfrica, the first and one of the largest celebrations of the Diaspora in the performing arts. Along with BAM's in-house ensemble, DanceAfrica 2012 will showcase a variety of the nation's premier dance companies through the Chuck Davis-directed One Africa/Many Rhythms. The event's four-night run begins on May 25.
Grammy Award winners Sonny Rollins and Patti Austin are just two of the big names hitting the stage at this year's Jacksonville Jazz Festival, which kicks off on May 25 and runs for three days. The annual event features an eclectic mix of free festivities spanning the downtown of Florida's largest city, from amateur jam sessions to wine tasting, Zumba classes and more.
The annual Gullah Festival celebrates the culture and heritage of the Gullah people, whose unique origins stem from the slaves of South Carolina's Lowcountry. The festival, in its 26th year, features several events that pay homage to Gullah culture. R&B recording artist Tony Terry is set to headline this year's festivities, which take place May 25-27.
Each Memorial Day the island of Aruba swarms with music lovers and vacation-goers during its annual Soul Beach Music Festival. And this year won't be any different, with notable headliners R. Kelly, LL Cool J, Melanie Fiona and R&B songstress Ledisi. The festival, now in its 12th year, brings its flair — along with packed clubs, overflowing casinos and bustling beaches — to the charming island nation. The Soul Beach Music Festival, which opened on May 23, ends on May 28.
An estimated 500,000 attendees are expected at the African American Heritage Statewide Parade and Festival, an annual tribute to black history. The parade is the culmination of a yearlong celebration of black culture and heritage sponsored by the African American Heritage Parade Committee. The two-day event starts on May 27.
The Kentucky Reggae Festival bills itself as "the flavor of the islands, right on the riverfront." And with three afternoons full of reggae jams, Caribbean eats and more, the atmosphere is more Jamaica than the Bluegrass State. A part of Louisville's Water Tower Music series, the festival, which kicks off May 26, costs just $10 to attend.
Funnyman Mike Epps is headlining this year's Big Easy Comedy Festival — which also features Tony Rock, Joe Torry and more — on May 26. The two-year-old festival has hosted some of the biggest talents in comedy, including Damon Wayans, Anthony Anderson and D.L. Hughley. For ticket information and more, visit the festival's website.
The largest student-organized festival in the U.S., this year's JazzReggae Festival will bring a slew of household names — among them the Roots, Collie Buddz and Shaggy — to UCLA over the Memorial Day holiday. From Jill Scott and Les Nubians to Nas and Damien Marley, the fest, now in its 26th year, proves itself to be one of the West Coast's best summer music happenings. This year's event begins on May 27.
St. Louis and blues go hand and hand, so it's only right that the Blues Week Festival pays homage to the storied bond between the blues genre and the Mississippi River-straddling city. This year's festival kicks off on May 25.