Thursday, December 1, 2011
Kwanzaafest in Dallas to go on despite John Wiley Price investigation
Price founded KwanzaaFest in 1991.
The Southwest region’s largest cultural expo is going on as scheduled, despite an ongoing federal investigation on the event’s founder. The continuous tremendous positive impact and effect on the community from KwanzaaFest has been a major factor in organizers inspired to move forward with the two-day festival.
KwanzaaFest, in its 21st year, will be held December 10-11 at the Automobile Building in Fair Park. At least 50,000 patrons are expected to attend. This year’s theme is “21 Years of Emancipation, Education and Enterprise.”
Acclaimed actor and hip-hop music star Tyrese, renowned Rhythm & Blues artist Eric Benet, and teen heartthrob singing group Mindless Behavior head up a list of high profile national and local musical artists. Activities include: Health-Fest, one of North Texas’ most extensive health screening and information centers; a KidsFest section for children and teenagers; a 5K run/walk around Fair Park; and vendors selling a wide variety of products and services.
Also featured this year is the Great Debate competition, where scholarships will be awarded.
KwanzaaFest is centered on the seven principles of Kwanzaa, an African culture-centered ritual that observes and promotes Unity (Umoja), Self-Determination (Kujichagulia), Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima), Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa), Purpose (Nia), Creativity (Kuumba), and Faith (Imani).
Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price founded KwanzaaFest in 1991 and has developed it into North Texas’ largest single urban cultural and family event.
As part of Price’s investigation by the FBI, launched this summer, past KwanzaaFest records were confiscated during the raid on Price’s home. The Northern District of Texas has not revealed any details of the records.
No charges have been brought against Price. Organizers and supporters of KwanzaaFest barely wavered from deciding to hold the event this year.
“We weren’t worried about it at all,” Valencia Floyd, commissioner John Wiley Price’s secretary, told Pegasus News. “It’s going to go forward as usual.”
Billy Ravkind, Price’s lawyer, told The Dallas Morning News: “They never even thought about not going forward.” A lawyer representing Dapheny Fain, Price’s assistant who’s also under investigation, also told DMN that she’s moving forward as usual with the event, concluding: “It’s a good event for the community.”
Price has received strong support from prominent local organizations and individuals through several public rallies and other events held over the past several months. Renowned Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson and Bennett College for Women president and economist Julianne Malveaux have been among national figures to express their support to Price.
The Dallas Weekly office has received numerous telephone calls, emails, and personal visits from citizens highly interested in getting tickets for the event, at about the same pace and demand than before. KwanzaaFest is free to attend, but tickets must still be attained for crowd control and security purposes.
Princeton, Prodigy, Roc Royal, and Ray Ray are among other entertainers who will perform at KwanzaaFest.
Tyrese has starred in numerous films, starting with John Singleton’s Baby Boy in 2001, a role originally intended for the late Tupac Shakur. His long line of movie credits includes 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast Five, Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Four Brothers, Waist Deep, and +Annapolis. As a musical artist, his hit songs include "Sweet Lady" and "How U Gonna Act Like That” have helped him earn several Grammy and Image Award nominations.
Benet is best known for his 1996 No. 1 hit, “Spend My Life With You,” (with Tamia) and has scored high on the charts with songs like “Sometimes I Cry” and “You’re the Only One.”
Mindless Behavior has toured with Janet Jackson, Backstreet Boys, and Justin Bieber and released their new album, #1 Girl, which shot up to #2 on the R&B charts.
Last year, KwanzzaFest’s HealthFest logged more than 35,000 mostly free health screenings for numerous health conditions, at an aggregate cost of over $1 million.
The Oncor/Encore Great Debate competition began months before, with the final two teams competing for $10,000 in scholarships. The winners of the final debate are announced at KwanzaaFest. The 5K Beat Obesity Walk/Run is a professionally managed race event that focuses on the growing epidemic of obesity. Experienced trainers are onsite to educate participants.
KwanzaaFest is Saturday, December 10 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 11 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free to enter, but tickets need to be acquired and are accessible starting December 1 at various locations. For more information, call 214-653- 6671 or visit www.johnwileyprice.com.
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