Last weekend I had the opportunity to go to the 2016 Indiana Black Expo downtown at the Indianapolis Convention Center. It was an amazing event and I was really pleased with the exhibitions.
The prior weekend I went to the first Indiana Black Expo Film Festival in which I had the opportunity to be a participant. Our short film Moving Still was accepted into the festival among other wonderful films that covered the topic #yourlifematters.
I decided to attend the Expo on a Saturday which is usually one of the busier days of the Expo. My first stop was the Exhibition Hall which touted an array of vendors that sold beautiful African prints, clothing and jewelry. There were also vendors selling vintage and original designs as well. I was so amazed at the plethora of gorgeous fabrics and designs. I was completely in heaven since I have a secret obsession with fabrics myself.
There was an air of joy and celebration in the air as people milled around. Many greeted old and new friends while partaking in the food, music and even haircuts that were available.
Just down the hall there was an entire exhibit dedicated to health and wellness. You could get free health screenings, free information and advice from medical professionals as well a find others who are on their own health journey as well. In the black community health issues are of utmost importance and it was great to see so many individuals and kids taking interest in these exhibits.
All around me people were having a great time socializing and learning more about their community as well as their history.
My personal favorite was the Cultural Arts Exhibit. There was a special exhibit dedicated to the founders of the Crispus Attucks school. This school is said to have built a city. The founders and first principals were highly educated and distinguished educators. They did so much for the raising the education standard in Indianapolis. It was amazing to see original letters from slave masters stating that God had convicted them to release their slaves and support the start of a school. The exhibit that showcased the first African American pioneers in Indiana garnered interest from many generations. I witnessed as a young man excitedly found his name and the name of several relatives in a book that held the ancestral records of many Black Families.
As I walked through the art exhibits I was blown away by the local young talent that had submitted their work to be showcased. I was very moved by all of the work. It made me grateful for everything that the settlers had done for our city.
Next I visited the fashion show that highlighted the original designs of several local artists. I saw full outfits that were crotched by hand. I personally love to crotchet as a hobby. I cannot imagine creating an entire outfit with my crotchet hooks let alone a whole collection! What I loved about the fashion show is that every single body type was represented on the catwalk. The response that the large audience gave was warm and supporting. I love to see artists do what they love and find an audience that connects with their work.
I think that 2016 Indianapolis Black Expo was a great success. My only regret is that I couldn't have made it to more events. During the weeks leading up to the final events there were many other programs to enjoy such as:
- The Youth Summit
- Business lectures
- Music Concerts
- Discussions from leaders in the community
- Awards shows
If you are in town for the 2017 Indiana Black Expo you should definitely put it on your list of things to do.