What do you get when you mix Wakanda with SXSW and place it in Charlotte’s innovation hub at Camp North End? The Black Mecca, and it may be the city’s blackest event of the year. Organizers of the new art, tech and music festival — happening on Sept. 22 — believe it’s the local event that Charlotte’s black millennials and creatives have been waiting to experience.
“It came from the idea if we can take everything from black culture that we make part of our everyday lives, and embed it into one central location, we can create a new cultural experience for our community,” said Sekona Washington of Synergy Entertainment, the group behind The Black Mecca.
The jam-packed event will have stage performances by Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE) soul singer and songwriter, SiR, who has toured with his labelmate, Grammy award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar. SiR has also worked with legends like Anita Baker and Stevie Wonder. Additional acts include Charlotte natives rapper Deniro Farrar, singer Cyanca, and violinist/singer Bri Blvck. Arkansas rapper Kari Faux also joins the lineup.
Beyond musical artists, attendees can expect food trucks, visual arts, and lifestyle and tech vendors to occupy the festival grounds. Cultural experiences like Grits & Biscuits and AfroPop! Nation will create a vibe throughout the day. The event is hosted by comedienne Jasmin Brown.
Music festivals have become more popular than ever, and many black artists are either headlining major festivals or creating their own — drawing thousands of fans from around the country. Washington believes there’s an opportunity for a unique, black festival in Charlotte. She’s anticipating 4,000 attendees with people traveling from the East Coast including Atlanta, Washington, D.C. and New York.
“We don’t have anything that is a staple here from a festival perspective. That’s what I wanted to bring to the city as we continue to try to compete with these other major festivals around the country and create a positive economic impact,” Washington said.
The Black Mecca also has a philanthropic component with charitable donations going to Behailu Academy, a local visual and performing arts nonprofit for youth, and the Flint City School District in Michigan to aid in the water crisis.
For tickets or more information, visit theblackmecca.com.