COLUMBUS, OH – The countdown has begun! In less than 30 days, the Ohio Black Expo (OBE) will take over downtown Columbus with four full days of diversified events celebrating African American culture, people, history, and contributions. Welcoming more than 30 thousand people Memorial Day Weekend and expanding to the Greater Columbus Convention Center, the Expo will be one of the largest events of its kind this year.
Kicking off the weekend on Thursday, May 25th will be the Level Up Business Conference, presented by Aventi Enterprises. Taking place at the Columbus Convention Center from 8 am – 5 pm, business owners from around the state of Ohio who are ready to take their business to the next level will have the opportunity to experience dynamic speakers, resources, and insightful topics through the conference focus, “Building the Economic Impact of Black Founders.” Also on Thursday, the Level Up Youth Summit and the return of the Salute to Black Business Awards Gala.
On Friday, May 26th, the Expo will provide another full day of activities, including a Health and Wellness Workshop presented by ROOTT, the Ohio Black Expo Golf Classic, a series of networking events, and the Official Riverfront Culture Fest Kick-off Party that evening. The major event of the day is The State of Black Ohio, from 8 am – 4 pm. Powered by The State of Ohio Collective, thought leaders, experts, and elected officials, solution-oriented discussions will be held, focusing on systemic, structural, and institutional issues in the areas of health, education, economic development, tech, and the arts. Discussions at the Expo through The State of Black Ohio will be a culmination of previous regional conversations held around the state.
Climaxing the weekend, Saturday (11 am–11 pm) and Sunday (11 am – 8 pm) will be the Business Expo and Riverfront Culture Fest. Kicking off with a parade featuring high school HBCU-style bands, youth drumlines, dance teams, community groups, and special guests, the weekend will host vendors, food trucks, entertainment, honors, concerts, and activities for the entire family. Highlights for Saturday include the OBE Honors Ceremony and Hall of Fame Induction (Recognizing Ohio’s Change Agents and Celebrity/Notable Achievers). Special features for the weekend will include performances by Kevin Ross, KRS-One, Gospel Great, Smokie Norful, and the queen of percussion, Sheila E. In addition, a 50 Years of Hip-Hop Tribute will be presented, and music representation in the areas of Gospel, Jazz, R&B, Blues, JazzHop, GoGo, and African Dance will be heard.
“The Ohio Black Expo was originally founded to support and amplify Black-owned businesses,” stated President and CEO, Sherri Hamilton. The mission expanded in the late 1980s to improve the quality of life for all Black citizens of Ohio. Proceeds of all events support youth and community programming throughout the year.” She added, “We’re excited to welcome everyone to Downtown Columbus for a weekend immersed in our culture while moving our mission forward.”
To participate, sponsor, or for a full scope of events at the Ohio Black Expo Riverfront Culture Fest + Convention, visit ohioblackexpo.com.