Melanin for All Brethren

Written by: Camden Henry

October 7, 2017

The Melanin Festival is a festival created to pave a lane for youth brand expansion and knowledge. Set to be held annually during the fall, the festival follows a specific motto: “To unify cultures of all backgrounds by bringing together local businesses, art, and community figures for five days of community service and tons of fun…”

Henry “Apollo Robinson” DuHart, a Ft. Pierce native and former FAMU student, moved to Tallahassee about three years ago and was immediately inspired by the people and events dwelling in the area. After noticing the imbalance between parties and black empowerment, he had a dream that motivated him to create the Melanin Fest.

“We need to do something progressive. Proud to be black, yes. But less turn up,” DuHart said as he passionately spoke about what he’s noticed not only in Tallahassee but in Florida as a whole. Since it is a college town, it isn’t a coincidence that Tallahassee is filled with a variety of festivities, especially during the fall semester. But in what ways can a balance be administered?

T’Sehai “Troubelle” Dames, another host and associate of DuHart, believes that individuals should take the initiative to learn from this festival and apply it to everyday life. “People come with a problem but where is the solution?”, Dames questioned.

Based off the Dames’ question, it’s quite evident that the festival is held to be the answer to that question. The festival hosts a variety of different events to not only empower but encourage people to keep hone in on their natural abilities as a human being that goes far beyond music and other forms of artistry. These abilities are focused on agricultural knowledge, spiritual self-awareness, and upholding organic brotherhood.

Since the festival is fairly new, it isn’t a huge boom compared to other events and has been currently limited to social media and “word of mouth” promotion. To make matters worse, the recent impact of Hurricane Irma affected the original schedule of the festival. Ironically, the first annual Melanin Festival was affected by a storm, which led to its postponement as well. But despite the effects of the storm in early September, the Melanin Festival is still alive and well.

DuHart’s plan for the festival is to keep expanding as long as possible. Through plenty of persistence and time, the next festival will possibly make it to Jacksonville, Florida. “This is your future”, says Angelica “Anala Tefnut” Simmons, another attendant and host of the festival, who believes that the festival will not just be beneficial for the current life but the future life as well. All in all, the positivity placed into the festival seems to be working out for their group TUA, the Tallahassee Unsigned Artists.

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