House in the Park: Atlanta’s celebration of Afrocentric culture

She is beautiful and unbothered. Instagram Photo Credit: @djempressrah and Brian Dwayne
She is beautiful and unbothered. Instagram Photo Credit: @djempressrah and Brian Dwayne

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.

Sisters in the crowd sweating to the music. Instagram Credit: @tlangdance
Sisters in the crowd sweating to the music. Instagram Credit: @tlangdance
Bodies moving to the music. Instagram Photo Credit: @chancelor_11
Bodies moving to the music. Instagram Photo Credit: @chancelor_11
She is feeling the beat. Photo Credit Instagram: @mystic_mayhem75
She is feeling the beat. Photo Credit Instagram: @mystic_mayhem75
Yes... you are "gorgeous." Instagram Photo Credit: @theycallhertoni
Yes… you are “gorgeous.” Instagram Photo Credit: @theycallhertoni

 

DJ Salah Ananse and DJ Kemit spinning. Instagram Photo Credit: @phoptahgraphy
DJ Salah Ananse and DJ Kemit spinning. Instagram Photo Credit: @phoptahgraphy
Sisters looking beautiful. Instagram Photo Credit: @margaux1983
Sisters looking beautiful. Instagram Photo Credit: @margaux1983
Calaya Michelle Stallworth
Calaya Michelle Stallworth

A novelist and essayist, Calaya Michelle Stallworth is a creative writing professor in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned a doctorate in English at Georgia State University. She has published ten novels under the pen name Grace Octavia with Kensington and Harlequin. Instagram: @blackwritergonerogue



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