Sunday marked the renowned 41st Odunde Festival in Philadelphia, Pa.
Established in 1975 by Lois Fernandez, with only a $100 grant, it’s grown into one of the biggest African street festivals in the U.S., with 500,000 festival-goers covering more than 12 city blocks, and attracting hundreds of vendors and vibrant performances (it’s definitely deserving of its own documentary). According to the festival’s site, “It is an occasion highlighted by a colorful procession where an offering of fruit and flowers is made to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess of the river.”
So it’s especially fitting that the 51st Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi was among the attendees as the occasion presented an august opportunity for the traditional ruler of Nigeria’s Ile-Ife—considered the birthplace of all Yoruba people—to engage more than 3,000 Ife indigenes living in the U.S. on development of the ancient Yoruba town.
Odunde is part of the reason I fell in love with Philly. Beautiful black people from across the diaspora showcase their culture, support black businesses, learn from each other and love themselves on an intrinsic level. I wanted to capture that energy and the style. Our diversity manifests through our style of dress and our hair. People come dressed in African prints and always find innovative ways of mixing them with their own personal flair. This was my fourth Odunde and I knew I could arrive how I was. Just being there around all my people and watching them be happy in their skin is life giving. The whole time I thought to myself, ‘Wow. We are SO beautiful.’
Check out the photo highlights below: