In 2009 Richard Andrews put his vision in motion. Within the next year he will see it come into fruition as August 2-3, 2014 will be the premiere of the Houston Black Heritage Festival.
Andrews became inspired after he went on a tour in Memphis, TN at the famous Lorraine Hotel where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Soon after he went on the Malcolm X tour in Harlem and it changed his perspective on life.
“When I went through the history and the culture of African Americans it just inspired me to learn more about the culture,” said Andrews. “I came back and started an organization called the Foundation of Black Heritage and Culture.”
While in school he decided to go ahead and pursue the Black Heritage Festival because God entrusted him with the vision to create a Black Heritage Festival.
The purpose of the Houston Black Heritage Festival is to have events that support services and programs related to Health and Wellness, Fitness, Financial Empowerment and Education. Through self- expression and creative arts such as music, poetry, dance and theatre the history of African Americans are taught with the emphasis of the rich heritage that was inherited from ancestors. The Houston Black Heritage Festival will serve as a reminder of the journey of the African American and provide the evidence of the success of that journey.
“It means a lot to mean to dig in to the culture and to let myself be the best that God wanted me to be,” said Andrews. “When I started to get into the history and the culture things started to get easier for me, I graduated from college and went on to graduate school but before that my experiences were mediocre to poor. “
The health and wellness portion of the event is a strong focus for Andrews as he graduated from Texas Southern University with a degree in Kinesiology.
“There are 33 diseases affecting African Americans and all of them are preventable and I want to shed a lot of light on the health of African Americans and how we can sustain our lives and live better lives by addressing some of those issues,” said Andrews.
The Houston Black Heritage Festival will be a two day festival at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Discovery Green park.
“We want this to be an annual event and the goals of the festival are to foster awareness and promote the principles that communities can change through love and unity and work,” said Andrews. “We definitely need change in our community and not saying that we have the worse community but we need to improve certain things. It’s not just us but we are an evolving society and when the world evolves we have to evolve with it also.”
The empowerment portion will be at the George R. Brown where speakers will present during the day and in the afternoon there will be vending booths and arts, crafts, poetry and entertainment going on at Discovery Green.
“It will be a real live festival environment,” said Andrews.
The Houston Black Heritage Festival wants to align with other African American cultural events such as the Juneteenth festival, The Black Heritage Society and The Black Heritage Art Gallery and the Black Expo with the hope that they will play a part in the Black Heritage Festival and come together and create an annual event for the community.
The festival already has supporters from leaders in the city and state such as Larry Green, City Councilman District K, State Representatives Borris Miles, Sylvester Turner and Judson Robinson, Urban League CEO, but Andrews is still looking for supporters and contributors while seeking support from the city. Andrews has a vision to raise awareness of the African and African American heritage within the Houston community and surrounding areas and to increase exposure to African and African American culture through positive images and achievements. He even has a portion of his event directed solely towards youth called “I Am Hip-Hop”.
Richard Andrews is still in turbo drive as he is preparing for the launch of The Houston Black Heritage Festival. With less than a year to go he is still recruiting speakers and entertainers who want to convey the same message as he that African Americans are not inferior. The festival will be an two day all day family event .