GRINDfest is Asheville’s celebration of Black Business and Entrepreneurship. It highlights the business acumen and contributions of Black people. We invite everyone to celebrate with a weekend of fun, food, learning, and connection.
Juneteenth is the time where we celebrate the timeframe where slavery was abolished. It took time for the word to spread so it is recognized as Juneteenth.
During the weekend of Juneteenth, we will have GRINDfest - a celebration of Black Business and entrepreneurship. After slavery was abolished, the people held as slaves began to use their skills and talents to do business in an economy that previously thought of them as property. Nonetheless, they made progress and became business owners.
GRINDfest will bring people together to celebrate Black Business and Black Entrepreneurs. It will highlight the progress made by people of color while also connecting people across cultures. Economies do not exist in a bubble. They include everyone.
During this weekend, we will have vendors, food, and events that facilitate the connection of what it means to be human.
WHY THIS WEEKEND?
Our commissioners just declared Juneteenth a Holiday in Buncombe county, the time that slavery was abolished. We know that the effects of slavery and white supremacy still torment our communities, but we have determined to celebrate the life and progress of the Black people in Asheville.
We wanted to highlight the work of Black people in the biggest way possible alongside other local events.
We will host GRINDfest on June 18th-20th, our celebration of Black Business and Entrepreneurship. Conveniently located in the River Arts District, we will have a weekend full of fun and learning: "Savagery" (the play), a poetry slam, local storytellers, game tournaments, a lip sync battle, vendors selling unique items, Black food from around the world and an outside dance party with local DJs. This event promises to be one of the most fun and enlightening of the year.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN?
XTREME HIP HOP AEROBICS: Supercharge your morning with movement set to great music.
PINK DOG BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS: Neighboring businesses opening up for breakfast so patrons can come purchase meals
ROOTS REVEAL: We have done this activity already with Bowie State University and will do it during the festival. People will order their DNA test that shows countries of origin and features that run in their bloodline. But they will wait until the event to open the results. In this 90 minute workshop, people will open their results and reveal their ancestry. Then they will be engaged in activities led by Dr. Masica Jordan, Clinical Psychologist and College Professor, that highlight the similarities and overlaps shared among people in the room that may not know each other, but share similar histories, countries of origin, and features. By sharing their ancestral DNA, we see that we are more alike than different.
Participants must order their own DNA test results ahead of time.
SAVAGERY: Another event during the festival will be the play, "Savagery". This play was scripted by local author, Nichole Lee and was written as a collection of stories and music from people of color. It is therapeutic in that it tells the story, but it is also entertaining and engaging.
POETRY SLAM: A night of rhythm and rhyme. We will have poetry music and food all designed to set the mood for grown folks. Bring your special person and enjoy the evening. The Black experience in America is as diverse as the flowers of the earth. Come explore the fragrance of Blackness as poets and musicians vibe out and bring us into their world.
If you or someone you know has what it takes to take the stage sign up now. The night’s winner gets a $500 prize package.
GAMES TOURNAMENT: We will have card game tournaments in addition to family fun activities.
This in addition to local food vendors with West African cuisine, Jamaican Island cuisine, and a Seafood Boil/Fish Fry, we will host community awards given to people who have made significant progress and contributions such as "single fathers/mothers, blended families, people who had to switch careers, and those succeeding after recovery/re-entry.
LIP-SYNC BATTLE: Another event that will happen is the lip-sync battle where contestants perform in the goofiest, funniest way they can to win the prize.
DEPOT STREET DANCE PARTY: We close the night out with a huge dance party. It is a festival that has great purpose and practical fun. The whole idea is to celebrate differences and learn from them while uniting people. We have already gathered all the businesses on our block in the River Arts District in addition to 20 other black businesses that are part of our Black Wall Street Program to make this festival a success. Tension can exist between people who look differently, but we designed this festival to bring folks together to celebrate and learn in a fun-filled weekend.