The Black Arts Festival is not just any cultural gathering; it’s a vibrant celebration of African-American heritage, art, and music that has become vital to Houston’s arts and culture scene. This year, the festival launches its inaugural two-day event at the Shrine Cultural and Events Center (5309 MLK Blvd., Houston, TX 77021) on Nov. 18-19.
The Foundation for Black Heritage and Culture (FBHC) will create a jam-packed weekend of speakers, exhibits, musicians, artists, poets, and craftspeople locally and nationally within themed villages centered around empowerment, health, cultural arts, and more. The musical lineup includes well-known line dance king Cupid, Keyun & The Zydeco Masters, Ruben Moreno & The Zydeco Re-volution, Dominique Hammons, and a fashion showcase featuring local designers and DJs.
“It’s important to give our local artists a platform to showcase their talents,” said FBHC founder Richard Andrews. “Sometimes our locals don’t have a chance to open up or perform at these events, and we bring it right to the community.”
Additionally, there is a free Interactive Kids Zone for children, a Health and Wellness Zone, and a grand Houston Honors Awards ceremony.
“The health portion of the festival means so much to me because I lost five members of my family from cancer. My brother died from lung cancer at 43 years old. I want to keep our people alive and bring this awareness to our community,” Andrews said. “I remember the Defender sponsoring the Health Zone in 2015, and I can’t help but be thankful to the Black media for being a major supporter of this vision.”
To truly understand the essence of this festival, it starts from the origin—Andrews, the founder of FBHC, who has been the driving force and the heart of this cultural event.
Andrews, a Louisiana native, relocated to Houston in the early ’90s. He felt a strong connection to the city and its Black culture. His fondest memory was when he was introduced to the Shrine Bookstore and read books on Black leaders who shaped U.S. culture and history.
“Reading ‘The Autobiography of Malcolm X’ was pivotal. I remember taking a trip to Harlem, and it was an eye-opening experience. Walking down Lennox Avenue, 125th Street, all I saw was vendors. The essence of the Harlem Renaissance, I wanted to bring that experience to Houston in the form of a festival to showcase the music, art, and poetry.”
His journey led him to become a devoted historian and advocate for African-American heritage. The inaugural Black Arts Fest culminated over a decade of hard work, relationship building, and tireless dedication to the community. The Foundation is the producer of the signature Houston Black Heritage Music & Arts Festivals which launched in 2015 and has drawn nearly 10,000 people, and the Black Arts Festival is expected to bring that same energy.
“I want people to walk away feeling more unity and pride as they contribute to preserving the culture,” he said. “This is for us by us.”
For more information about The Foundation for Black Heritage and Culture, visit houstonblackheritagefest.com.