Here we are, right smack in the middle of the summer, and the events, festivals and more just keep heating up! Following are a few to help you along your summer groove. Enjoy!


Through Oct. 20

“Things That Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive” (Los Angeles)

Regarded as one of the foremost contemporary artists in Cuba and the Caribbean, Manuel Mendive “began his career in the early 1960s during a period when dominant Cuban abstract expressionism was waning, which paved new ground by moving beyond the reliance on mainstream Western art forms such as cubism and surrealism.”

Now through Oct. 20, the California African American Museum will present the exhibition “Things That Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive.” The exhibition—highlighted by drawings, paintings, sculptures and performances from the early 1960s to the present, giving special focus to discrete themes common across his work, including religion, nationalism and memory—features the 50-year career of this prominent Afro-Cuban artist, and is the first of its kind in the U.S. to focus exclusively on the contemporary visual and material culture of the Afro-Cuban religion Santería.

Through Nov. 10

“American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s” (Washington, D.C.)

Held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the exhibit—hailed as “an unprecedented artistic exploration of the intersections of race, gender and class made in direct response to social upheaval of the times”—encompasses some 45 works from artist Faith Ringgold’s landmark series “American People” (1963–67) and “Black Light” (1967–71), along with related murals and political posters. Together, they represent the first comprehensive survey of her politically charged paintings of the 1960s, which explores the emotional and often controversial issues at the forefront of the artist’s experience of racial inequality in our country at this historic and tumultuous time.


Through Dec. 29

“Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward” (Birmingham, Ala.)

The work of several of the world’s finest contemporary artists, including Theaster Gates, Hank Willis Thomas, Dawoud Bey, Jefferson Pinder and Shinique Smith, will be among the highlights of an unprecedented series of projects that uses contemporary art to tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement in “Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward.” Presented at the Birmingham Museum of Art, the projects are in commemoration of the nearly 50 years that have passed since a bomb blast ripped through the walls of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four innocent little girls as well as two boys in the resulting violencethat occurred later that day.

• “Etched in Collective History” runs Aug. 18-Nov. 17.

• “Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project” runs Sept. 8-Dec. 2.

• “Question Bridge: Black Males” runs Oct. 6-Dec. 29.



Aug. 1-4

Caribana in Toronto (Toronto)

Billed as “North America’s largest cultural festival,” Caribana in Toronto—this year celebrating its 47th anniversary—attracts attendees from all over Canada, the U.S. and around the globe to celebrate all things Caribbean. From inspiring music—including steel pan, reggae, calypso, hip hop, chutney and soca— to expressive visual and performing arts, an exciting parade and delicious Caribbean cuisine, the festival is an annual favorite. The signature event is the Scotiabank Caribana Parade, where, the organizers say, “over 10,000 masquerades will participate as they strut and dance down the 3.6 kilometer route in elaborate costumes, set to the vibrant Caribbean beats of the famed mas bands.”



Aug. 1-11

Anguilla’s Summer Festival 2013 (Anguilla, the Caribbean)

The Anguilla Summer Festival celebrates the culture of the island at its best. One of the top five Caribbean carnival destinations, Anguilla’s festival is billed as “the biggest Caribbean Beach Party.” Activities include numerous pageants, a Miss Anguilla Swimsuit & Costume Competition, a Soca Classic, Jouvert celebration, boat races, parades, calypso, BBQ festivals and more.


Aug. 16-18

Edmonton’s Labatt Blues Festival (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

Featured at the Heritage Amphitheatre along the scenic River Valley in Hawrelak Park in Edmonton, Canada, the event is billed as Western Canada’s largest blues festival. This year’s regional and international talents include Little Charlie, Terrance Simien, Monkeyjunk, Anson Funderburgh, Homemade Jamz, the North Mississippi All stars, Kirk Fletcher and Arsen Shomakhov, among others. The festival also encompasses great food, dancing and a Labatt Beer Garden.

855-985-5000 (toll free),

Aug. 29 – 31

Megafest (Dallas, Texas)

Returning to the U.S. for the first time since 2006, MegaFest—a three-day family festival hosted by T.D. Jakes—will take place at the Dallas Convention Center, American Airlines Center and other venues throughout the city. This event is billed as a “marriage of four of Jakes’ most popular conferences: ManPower, Woman Thou Art Loosed, MegaYouth and MegaKidz,” plus a bevy of entertainment, business and other empowering features suitable for the whole family. Some of the events include the “Just Churchin’” comedy show, hosted by Cedric the Entertainer and Niecy Nash; a Woman of Purpose Concert in conjunction with Autism Speaks, featuring Holly Robinson Peete, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Mary Mary, Babyface, Kim Burrell and others; the Ball Up championship streetball game with the Professor, AO, Baby Shaq, Air Up There, Bone Collector, Pat the Roc, Special FX, Springs, Sik Wit It, Violator and G. Smith; and special featured speakers and guests including Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen, Bishop I. V. Hilliard, Dr. Jasmin Sculark, Dr. Marvin Sapp, Pastor Sheryl Brady, Dr. E. Dewey Smith and Pastor Chris Durso, just to name a few.

Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for and as a senior travel writer for, an Afrocentric travel website.