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Odunde Festival tradition continues

June 12, 2018

The Odunde Festival took place June 10 in South Philadelphia.

Keeping with the tradition of past festivals, the 2018 Odunde celebration begin with CEO Oshunbumi Fernandez-West leading participants in paying homage with a traditional ancestry dedication. This year’s festival took place in the 2000 block of Greys Ferry Avenue and spanned a 15 block radius in South Philadelphia.

Priest Frank Owner of Forever Living Memories LLC traveled to Philadelphia to sell his handmade jewelry products for men and women.

This year included singing, drumming and a live stage performance from the legendary hip-hop artist KRS-One.

Fernandez-West said the festival has a $28 million dollar economic impact on the city. She added the event helps reinvest money back into the urban community and raises awareness of African cultures.

This is Fernandez-West first year running the festival without her mother and Odunde founder Lois Fernandez. She passed away at the age of 81 in August 2017.

“My mother created Odunde in 1975 and people used to laugh at my mom and say, ‘go head with that African stuff,’” said Fernandez-West. She said lately African culture has become so popular due to Wakanda from Marvel’s film “The Black Panther.”

Despite the growth in attendance, Fernandez-West said that her and her team has represented African culture long before “The Black Panther” movie popularity.

“Odunde reminds us as African-Americans that we come from a lineage of African kings and queens.”

“We are not what they portray to us in the media and reminds us that.”

Fernandez-West mentioned that Odunde is one of many year round efforts to continue the mission of growing the culture stronger.

“We are a year round program that teaches African dance, African drumming, African yoga or anything African centered we touch on that.”

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