The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival and Music Fest will celebrate 19 years of promoting diversity and cultural sensitivity this January. The ten-day festival begins on January 10 and ends on January 20. A highlight of the Festival is the Music Fest held at Curtis Hixon Park on January 19 and 20.

The 19th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, which seeks to promote diversity and cultural sensitivity, will be held over a ten-day period beginning on January 10 and ending on January 20. This is a family friendly festival which honors the many contributions that African Americans have made in society. Each day offers events for both children and adults.

The Festival features speakers, musicians, artists, poets and craftspeople who are from both the local area and nationally. According to Festival Chairpersons, Ruby Jackson and William Saunders, “The festival traditionally begins the weekend before and concludes the weekend after the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday to promote diversity and cultural sensitivity.”

Highlights of the Festival include a two-day Music Fest on January 19 and 20. The headliners for this year’s Music Fest will include Morning Star, CeCe Peniston and RNR (Rick Braun and Richard Elliot). There will be local and regional artists performing as well.

In addition to the Music Fest, there is a 5K Run/Walk sponsored by Publix. The 5K will include a warm-up Boot Camp presented by Health/Fitness Guru, Chinyere Sam. According to Sam, “The purpose of the warm-up Boot Camp is to held increase the body’s core temperature prior to intense activity.”

New this year, there will be a two-day Great 8 Esports Tournament. This will be help during the Music Fest on January 19 and 20. This will be led by Derek Watford, a military veteran and founder of High Point Gamer. “As an advocate and keynote speaker for schools, universities and professional sports teams, I seek to increase the minority participation in the Esports and gaming industry,” explained Watford.

Day one of the Great 8 Esports Tournament will be for anyone 15 years and older. Day two will be reserved for military veterans only.

The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival was started by Dr. Samuel Wright in 2000 along with major contributions from the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau. Wright said, “Since the birth of the Festival, many other organizations and companies have helped support the vision to raise awareness of the African and African American heritage within the Tampa Bay area.”

Events will be held throughout the area. The Music Fest will take place at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa. For more information on events and seminars and to register, please visit

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