African Festival of the Arts (AFA) announces exciting 30th Anniversary entertainment line-up 

Special events and surprises slated for anniversary year


artist Woodrow Nash

Africa International House USA, Inc. (AIH) today announced its world-class talent line-up for the 30th Annual African Festival of the Arts (AFA), held over the four-day Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 – Sept. 2.  At 30, the AFA is the progenitor of African inspired cultural festivals in Chicago and across the country.  The theme for this special anniversary is “Spirit of Africa.”  Each year the AFA draws tens of thousands of people to its long-standing home in Washington Park. The Festival opens from 1 p.m. – 10 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Saturday – Monday.

The Ohio Players,  the 1970’s pioneers of street funk and underground R&B, will headline the finale of the AFA on Labor Day, Monday September 2.  Joining AFA as guest host for all of the evening events will be Chicagoan Damon Williams, who began his career at All Jokes Aside Comedy club. Damon can be heard weekly on the nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning Show doing the hilariously funny Seriously Ignorant News.  He will be joined in his hosting duties by Sheila O.AIH board member, international media personality, and the first female disc jockey to host a nationally syndicated AFRO BEATS radio show in the U.S  Your Gospel Sister Pam Morris-Walton, AIH Board member, will host Sunday’s “In the Spirit”.  audience.pngOlurotimi Akinosho, known professionally as Rotimi, will take the stage on Saturday, August 31.  The Nigerian-American actor, singer, and model is known for his role as Darius Morrison on the Starz series Boss, and currently stars as Andre Coleman on Power, also on Starz. His 2017 single “Want More” with dancehall artist Kranium established him as a music powerhouse.  He’ll be joined by rapper Wale who first rose to prominence in 2006, with his song “Dig Dug.” Themed entertainment will be featured on two stages each day of the Festival’s four-day run.   Additional talent announcements are pending. The line-up as of today includes: 




Ablade Glover  is a Ghanaian artist and educator. He has exhibited widely, building an international reputation over several decades, as well as being regarded as a seminal figure on the West African art scene. Glover’s style has been described as “swirling between abstraction and realism”,and his subject matter typically favors large urban landscapes.


During the AFA the Festival grounds come alive as Washington Park is transformed into an African village. Visitors are transported across the Diaspora with interactive engagements, vibrant drumming, museum quality and collectible artifacts, colorful and rich, hand-woven fabric and textiles, and other program spaces. Interactive spaces include: Drum & Afro-Folk Village, Children and Family Pavilion, African Heritage Pavilion, African Spirituality, Wellness (Health) Village, Author & Book Pavilion, Fine Art Pavilion, Food Court, and the African Marketplace.

Tickets for these performances are included in the price of festival admission and may be purchased now beginning at $15.  Click here for advanced purchases.

Connect to the 30th Annual AFA experience on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using #AFAChi30.

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B’Rael Ali is Black Art in America’s featured artist at the African Festival of the Arts, Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30 – Sept. 2. Washington Park #chicago. Stop and say hello. #painterpoetdancer @braelalithunder

Sponsors for the 30th Annual African Festival of the Arts include AC Green,

AARP Foundation, AARP Illinois, Africa International House USA,  AfroZons, Babystore, Black Leadership AIDS Crisis Coalition, BET, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Bonneville Academy Charter School, Bud Billiken Parade, CBS 2 Chicago, Chicago Alliance of African American Photographers (CAAAP), Chicago Cubs, Chicago Park District, Chicago Reader, Chicago Sun Times, Chicago Teachers Union, Chicago White Sox, ComEd, County Care, Disney, Ethiopian Airlines, Field Foundation, Ford Foundation, Ford Motor Company, Gift of Hope, Illinois Art Council, IlliniCare, Illinois Lottery, Jewel-Osco, Luster Products, MacArthur Foundation, Navy Pier, Nielsen, NRG, Oak Street Health, Pepsico, Pillars Insurance, PNC Bank, Prince Charitable Trust, Rogers Auto Group, Rush Hospital, Senior Talk Radio, Starbucks, State of Illinois, Step North, Surfs Up Restaurant, T-Mobile, The Chicago Citizen Newspaper, The Chicago Crusader, The Circle Foundation, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, UChicago Medicine, UIC’s Urban Health Program, United Airlines, Veteran’s Affairs, Walmart, Wines of South Africa and WVON Radio.


About Africa International House USA, Inc.

The mission of Africa International House USA, Inc. (AIH) is to serve as a center that exposes and educates all people to the individual works and collective contributions of African cultures. Our mission is addressed through our flagship program, the African Festival of the Arts, and through other activities that promote African-based culture. AIH is an umbrella for linkages and exchanges of people from Africa and the African Diaspora. Since its inception, AIH has worked to bridge the divides between the people of the African Diaspora with its unique brand of cultural programming.