Bessie Smith Heritage Festival
The Bessie Smith Heritage Festival will be held February 27 & 28 at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Friday, February 27 at 7:00 p.m. will be an Artist Talk and reception with Charlotte Riley-Webb whose exhibit Blood Rhythms, Strange Fruit is currently on display in the museum at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. More than two years in the making, this exhibition is based on a Sankofa mentality: acknowledging the past to improve our future.
Saturday, February 28 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. – Youth Art Experience at the Bessie will be held in the Vilma Fields Atrium and Bessie Smith Hall. This event will allow the youth to participate in hands on art projects as well as learn about various genres of music and get to hear and learn about a variety of musical instruments. The Artist Talk and youth event are free to the public.
On Saturday night beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Bessie Smith Hall will be a night of outstanding entertainment. The show begins with Ogya World Music Band performing and getting everyone on their feet and dancing. OGYA (pronounced O-jah and means FIRE) brings hot, sultry rhythms of West Africa, the Caribbean and the Americas with high-energy original compositions. Headlining the show that night will be Toia Jones and her band LyriQ. Toia, who most recently was on The Voice 2014, has done shows with R&B great Fantasia, entertained audiences alongside Blues artist Peggy Scott-Adams, currently tours and is featured with Southern Soul artist Bigg Robb, and is soon to opening for the Legendary Diva herself, Ms. Chaka Khan. But it’s when she’s with her band LyriQ that her versatility soars. She’s a movement all by herself but a force when her band is behind her. She mixes various genres of music to form her own unique style. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center or by phone at (423) 266-8658.