Moja Arts Festival celebrating 31 years


For 11 days, events showcasing black art, dance, and theater will take place throughout downtown Charleston as the Moja Arts Festival kicks off its 31st year, Gregory Woods reports for

Friday, the musical Bubbling Brown Sugar packed out the Dock Street Theater.

“It was phenomenal. I learned about through the music about where we came from and what we went through,” said Shelton Desaussure, one of the play’s many attendees.

Romaine Heyward is the Moja Arts Festival coordinator. She said the music is just one of several events to take place over the next week.

“We are having a block party [Friday night],” said Heyward. “There will be all kinds of entertainment, food trucks and everything. It is going to be great for the family and community to come out and enjoy.”

The festival is also hosting art galleries throughout the city. Each gallery is full of quilts and handmade art that all tell a piece of black history.

“African American history is usually something that isn’t taught in school or even talked about, but here in Charleston — since this is pretty much where slave ships came — it’s an important heritage and it’s an important story that we have to tell,” said Heyward.

Heyward said the festival isn’t just for African Americans.

“It’s a celebration of African and Caribbean heritage, but it’s open to everybody and we want everyone to come see what we have to offer,” said Heyward.

For 29-year-old Shelton Desassure, Moja offers a sense of pride.

“You know it’s the importance of knowing howbeautiful of a people we are and how much came from us and hopefully we can keep it going,” said Desassure.

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