It is the weekend we have all been waiting since the announcement was made this past February. The grand opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). As thousands make plans to head into to DC from around the world, the positive energy will be very high as the museum kicks off a weekend-long celebration starting today. In addition, communities are coming together to celebrate this historic moment in their own cities. Events are taking place as close as Baltimore and as far as Jakarta, Indonesia as part of the museum’s Lift Every Voice global initiative. A detailed directory of more than 500 events worldwide is available online at www.nmaahc.si.edu.
If you are in DC or have plans to be there for the weekend, here is a quick recap of what to do and how to celebrate more than 10 years in the making.
1. NMAAHC Weekend-Long Concerts and Events – Friday, September 23 – Sunday, September 25. From the Smithsonian Folklife Festival to Public Enemy concerts, there will be something to bring all generations together. Be sure to go online to check out the schedule for the weekend-long celebration. https://nmaahc.si.edu
2. Jokes & Jazz Comedy and Live Show – Friday, September 23. A fundraising event hosted by CTE Vision Foundation featuring nationally known comedians as well as a Youth Jazz Ensemble joined by some very special musical guests at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery in DC. Doors open at 5 pm with a $40 donation. Info and tickets here.
3. Roy Ayes (Vibes/Soul Fusion) – Friday, September 23 – Sunday, September 25. Roy Ayers could very well be the best jazz/R&B artist you don’t know. His performance will take place from 8 – 11:59 pm at Blues Alley Jazz. Tickets are $40 and $45 + $5 fee. http://bit.ly/2dnyjO4
4. NMAAHC Dedication Ceremony – Saturday, September 24. Attend in person or watch the ceremony live on Facebook and on the museum’s website at 10 am EDT. The ceremony will be attended by President Barak Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
5. Black Owned Wine and Spirits Festival – Saturday, September 24. Celebrating Blacks rich history in wine and spirits, this day long festival will lay a foundation of commerce and education that will inspire and propel a movement towards the widespread support of black-owned spirits, wine and beer. Must be 21 and festival starts at 12 pm at the Rosecroft Raceway in Fort Washington, MD. Tickets start at $55. Click here to purchase.
6. DC Beer Week – Saturday, September 24 – Saturday, October 1. The National Capital Region has no shortage of beer, and certainly no shortage of people to drink it. So along comes DC Beer Week, which will satisfy beer connoisseurs and casual beer consumers alike. Pass for the week starts at $164. http://dcbeerweek.net
7. National Book Festival – Saturday, September 24. Every year the Library of Congress hosts the National Book Festival, a free celebration of all things books, from authors to readings to hardcovers. Join fellow lovers of the written word at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. www.loc.gov/bookfest/?loclr=destdc-natbookfest
8. Marlon Wayans at DC Improv – Sunday, September 25. One of the hottest club acts in the country, Marlon started young, popping up on “In Living Color” in his early 20s. He had the highest-rated sitcom on the WB, appearing in “The Wayans Bros.” with his brother Shawn and the great John Witherspoon. Tickets available for Sunday’s 9 pm show only. www.dcimprov.com/home/marlon-wayans.html
9. An Evening of Culinary Excellence Reception – Monday, September 26. Join Cuisine Noir Magazine, celebrity chefs and black-owned wineries as they celebrate the opening of the NMAAHC with a food and wine reception like no other. Event will take place at the Toolbox Pilates Art Studio in DC. Tickets are $125. www.cuisinenoirmag.com
Although the event is sold out, an honorable mention goes to A Vibration Celebration: Honoring the Life of Vertamae Smart – Grosvenor on Sunday, September 25. Mulebone (formerly Eatonville) and NPR will celebrate and honor the life of Culinary Anthropologist, Vertamae Smart-Grosvenor. FREE access and complimentary hors d'oeuvres inspired by Vertamae's best-selling cookbook: Vibration Cooking, Or, The Travel Notes of a Geechee Girl. Celebration will take place at Mulebone in DC.