Last year’s Black Family Reunion Community Festival drew some 2,000 attendees from across the city. The two-day event is being produced again this year, set in Mellon Park in the economically and culturally diverse neighborhood of Point Breeze and featuring a host of local musicians. Sat., Aug. 4, catch Young Precious, J Proc, Owey and Beat Bangaz, as well as emcee Wiz Khalifa and rising R&B stars Crave. Sun., Aug. 5 will feature performers including Artistree and Rodney McCoy.
The Black Family Reunion is the largest annual event put on by the Community Empowerment Association, an organization based in the Point Breeze and Homewood/Brushton areas, whose mission is “to build healthy families and communities by way of activation, education and mobilization,” according to its web site (www.ceapitsburgh.org).
“The goal of the Black Family Reunion is to bring families together and restore some of those family values we had back in the day when the whole community used to look out for each other,” says Lee Davis, a CEA community-outreach specialist and Braddock native. “We want to restore things that worked in the past and forge ahead with new ideas to bring the young people and the older generations together. We need to get reacquainted with each other, get some wisdom and show some respect to one another.”
Key to that goal is attracting diverse elements of the community in the first place. “This is one of the few community events that brings together the African Americans from all over Allegheny County,” says Davis, “from reverends to gangbangers to the intelligentsia — all vibin’ together with a lot of information that is normally less accessible.”
Some of that information is in the form of educational workshops and presentations from community and social service organizations on topics including health awareness, entrepreneurship and the music industry. For those eager to get an early start, there’s the Community Solutions Discussion at 9 a.m. Saturday, before the Reunion’s official 11 a.m. kickoff, where community leaders from all over Pittsburgh are invited to share solutions and develop a plan of action to continue to address the challenges facing African Americans.
Additional activities Saturday include arts and crafts and children’s activities as well as the Peace in the Hood basketball tournament; that tournament continues Sunday, along with a slam-dunk contest … and a little friendly competition on the court between the “CEA All Stars” and the “WAMO 106ers.”
Black Family Reunion Mellon Park Community Festival. 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat., Aug. 4 and Sun., Aug. 5. Mellon Park, Point Breeze. Free. 412-371-3689 or www.ceapittsburgh.org