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On July 29, Black Greek Festival is coming to Charlotte, North Carolina, for their latest event to celebrate the history, present, and future of Black Greek-letter organizations.
The Black Wall Street Times spoke with Chelsea Brown, Black Greek Festival’s co-founder and Director of Strategic Partnerships about what the Queen City can expect this weekend.
Holding an undergraduate degree in mass communications from Winthrop University and a master’s in non-profit management and leadership at the University of Maryland, Chelsea says her education and experience brought her to this point. “The main part of my day job that I love is being able to review nonprofit grants and talk with nonprofits about their work and see how we can better support them through funding. What I do with Black Greek Festival is a natural fit.”
“I’m a Delta and two of our co-founders are Alphas. We all kind of met through being in D.C. During grad school in 2019, one of them called me and said, ‘I been sleeping on it and I think we should do a festival here,'” Chelsea remembers.
Speaking on the camaraderie and vibe witnessed during their events, Chelsea says, “I love that we’re able to get together and people can network if they want to, or they can just shake their ass too, it runs the gamut.”
A proud member and stroller of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Incorporated, you’ll know Chelsea is in the building when the DJ drops Nasty Song by Lil Ru or Handsome & Wealthy by Migos.
Behind the stroll, Columbia, South Carolina’s own says the growing bond between herself and her line sisters has been something special over the years. “Once I graduated from Winthrop I moved up north. I’ve always been in Jersey or Baltimore or D.C. and the amount of times that my line sisters have come up here intentionally just to see me when I was going through really tough times — wow.” After a decade in Delta, Chelsea concluded, “I just feel like that is something you can’t get that everywhere, genuine sisterhood.”
Intentionally operating within the spirit of community, Chelsea stated, “Black Greek Fest is very intentional about specifically supporting Black-owned businesses and supporting Black initiatives.”
Though curated for members of the Divine Nine, non-greeks, friends and supporters are always invited to attend as their events are open to the public.
Minor setback for a major comeback
Like most plans for 2020, their inaugural festival was cancelled, however, the global pandemic would only delay the inevitable success of the Black Greek Festival.
Chelsea recalled, “We ended up having our first festival in 2021 here in D.C. and we had Cricket Wireless, Maker’s Mark, and Uncle Nearest as sponsors. It was really organic, we were cold calling, emailing people, very grassroots.”
Reflecting on their humble beginnings met by an eager audience, Chelsea mentioned, “It was really organic. I don’t think any of us really knew how popular it would be at our initial event but we had about 1,500 people show up.”
Since then, Black Greek Festival has hosted smaller and intimate events in Baltimore, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and even Austin during Afrotech. They also host a Brunch Olympics, as well as an annual Day of Service.
“We’ve seen a lot of folks come up from South Carolina or North Carolina to some of our events. And they’re like, ‘Oh, this is fun. I would like to have something like this down South.’ And that’s why we’re coming to Charlotte,” explained Chelsea.
What You Need To Know
Saturday’s Black Summer Festival begins 2 p.m. – 8 p.m at 835 Gesco Street Charlotte, NC 28208.
The following day, a Pop-Up Brunch will be held 12 p.m. – 4 p.m. and Day Party: Blk Joy will follow after between 4 p.m. – 9 p.m. Both events will be held at the Westend Tavern at 2817 Rozzelles Ferry Rd, Charlotte, NC 28208.