Get Your MOJA Mojo
Raise your hand if you are neck deep (or plan to be) in MOJA. Have tickets to a show? Know what MOJA is?
Chances are, not nearly enough hands went up for this culturally significant fall festival celebrating African-American and Caribbean arts. It’s time that changed. From classical jazz to boxing, MOJA (a Swahili word meaning “One,” celebrating harmony amongst all people), is not to be missed.
Now, there are different viewpoints on MOJA, one being that it has ventured far from its original intention with too much interference from the city (you can read about that here). But for our purposes, we’re about getting your excited rear in a seat, and hopefully this breakdown will help you do just that:
Caribbean Street Parade and Opening Ceremonies
We love a good parade. This one, featuring students from Charleston County Schools, African drummers and dancers, boy & girl scouts, and members of civic organizations, winds through our streets and culminates behind the Custom House. Hold on to your beads…this isn’t Mardi Gras.
PERFORMANCE: Friday, September 24, Caribbean Street Parade at 5:30pm and Opening Ceremonies at 6:30pm at the U.S. Custom House, Concord & Market Sts.
Reggae Block Dance
Think family reunion. This is the event everybody knows about. Children, grandparents – everyone comes together to celebrate. Experience live music featuring reggae bands (headliner: Causion), African drummers and dancers, ethnic foods and international crafts. Expect a crowd – 12,000 of your newest friends.
PERFORMANCE: Friday, September 24 from 6:30-11pm behind the U.S. Custom House, Concord & Market Sts.
An Evening of Jazz Under the Stars with Jonathan Butler
Date night doesn’t have to be the prosaic dinner and movie. Consider an outdoor evening in a twinkly romantic cabaret setting (white linen-covered tables, not bleachers) with internationally renowned jazz artist Jonathan Butler. Lonnie Hamilton and Friends opens the evening’s entertainment.
PERFORMANCE: Saturday, September 25 at 8pm at Porter-Gaud School Stadium, 300 Albermarle Rd., West Ashley
A Gospel Explosion
A community fave! Expect an afternoon of hand-clapping, foot stomping gospel music featuring two “competing” choirs, the Royal Baptist Church Male Choir and the St. James Presbyterian Church Male Choir, along with vocalist, Mario Desaussure. According to MOJA Arts Festival Program Coordinator Elease Amos-Goodwin, “If there’s somebody in Charleston who hasn’t experienced a gospel concert, please bring them to me!”
PERFORMANCE: Sunday, September 26 at 4pm at Trinity United Methodist Church, 273 Meeting St.
R&B Concert at Family Circle Stadium
Sing along with legendary Patti Labelle and Boyz II Men. “Although we’ve come (snap) to the end of the rooad…”
PERFORMANCE: Saturday, October 2 at 7pm (doors open at 6pm) at Family Circle Tennis Center, Daniel Island
A rousing end to an exciting festival featuring Tropical Steel Vibes from the Caribbean, Kinobe and the Soul Beat Africa, and Latin music live; African American and Caribbean craft vendors, and ethnic foods. Come for a fun, family-friendly afternoon and evening, winding down around Mad Men.
PERFORMANCE: Sunday, October 3 from 4–9:30pm at Hampton Park
The festival runs Thursday, September 23 through Sunday, October 3, 2010. Nearly half of MOJA’s events are FREE and ticket prices range from $5 – $35. Come for visual arts, classical music, dance, gospel, jazz, poetry, R&B music, storytelling, tennis & boxing tournaments, theatre, lectures, children’s activities, traditional crafts, ethnic food, and much more.
For an events schedule and to purchase tickets visit MojaFestival.com.
Story by: Claire Gibbons