Yesterday, beginning at about 8 a.m. African Americans from throughout the country exited Interstate 20 at Boulevard, made a left turn and descended upon Atlanta’s historical Grant Park to usher in House in the Park 2015, a house music extravaganza that has become a huge black family reunion of sorts for music, dance, and culture lovers. While weather reports promised rain, the atmosphere proved too jubilant to be bothered. Not one cloud was in the sky. Even the Georgia sun was forgiving as Black folks did their thing, dancing the day away, forgetting troubles and preparing for a new season. Beneath packed pavilions, top DJs including Salah Ananse and Kemit combined their innovative house, world beat and soul mixes with live drummers, making a sonic sensation that pulled attendees into dance areas where they danced until sweat rolled from their bodies to the floor.
Most beautiful about the annual House in the Park Atlanta event, which is in its 11th year, is its clear connection to Afrocentric culture and celebration of all things black and beautiful. In the crowd, one sees African dance, beauty and culture woven into American ritual. It is the apogee of what it is to be African American. HBCU alums set up tents, serve drinks and BBQ chicken as they take pictures to document their growing families and old ties renewed. Singers like Algebra Blessett and Carmen Rodgers flit about in Batik fashions, smiling and hugging passersby. Noted photographer Shannon McCollum stands guard on a picnic table, holding his camera and clicking away. But it’s not a “Who’s Who” event. The people are the celebration. The people make “house” home. –Calaya Reid
For more information about House in the Park, visit http://www.houseinthepark.org/
Check out a few pictures below.