Scientists, seasons and calendars are all telling us we’re almost through with summer. Though it’s been one of the wettest summers on hand, the wealth of talent that has visited Atlanta from Kenya in the last couple of months has been undeniably sizzling hot.
Kenya lands in Marietta
The end of Spring ushered in Kenya’s Cultural Ambassador and award-winning Gospel Artist Emmy Kosgei, who graced this year’s Atlanta Majuu Cultural Festival. The annual cultural festival hosted by the Kenyan American Community Church (KACC), celebrated a taste of Kenya with an array of musical performances, concerts and a display of Kenyan food and merchandise. Ambassador Kosgei lauded the Kenyan spirit she experienced throughout the three-day event, promising to return to Atlanta. “I’m making this my second home,” she said, congratulating the organizers for keeping the cultural wealth alive in a foreign land.
Photos courtesy of DKK Photography.
Worshiping through Life’s storms
Not long after, Gospel Praise & Worship minister, Vicky Kitonga made a stop in Atlanta during the month of June. Vicky Kitonga, whose musical career spans over 25 years, is best known for her award winning song “Tulia”. A motivator and a voice of empowerment for women, Ms. Kitonga keeps an active social media presence, using it as a tool to encourage oneness within the diaspora community.
Sharing laughs in diaspora
Not one to be outdone, Kenyan comedian Dr. Ofweneke made his “eagle landing” in Atlanta at the beginning of July, to host a night of comedy benefiting the upcoming Sauti Awards. Dr. Ofweneke who started out as a wedding MC, moved on to be a radio presenter at Milele FM. Confusing many with his Nigerian accent, Ofweneke has skillfully mastered the accent to take on his most popular role to date – Stand-up Comedian. His show in Atlanta was the first of it’s kind by a Kenyan. Ofweneke hopes to be the first African comedian to host the BET Awards and he is doing it, one joke at a time.
The Kenyan American Community Church (KACC) and Sauti One, have been instrumental in working to bridge culture, music and local talent within the community by organizing community events and inviting talent to Atlanta. These visiting artists, all view Atlanta as a spring board of diaspora talent.
As we bid Summer ‘17 goodbye, Atlanta will again play host to the biggest African Gospel Awards ceremony in the diaspora – Sauti Awards. Gospel music artists from the diaspora and around the world will be convening at North Atlanta High School from August 11th – 12th for the 3rd Annual Sauti Awards to celebrate local and international talent alike. An impressive lineup of international artists like Evelyn Wanjiru, Princess Farida, Kelele Takatifu, Janet Otieno are set to take the stage. Also in attendance will be well known Diaspora based artists like Benachi, Fred Obare and Band, Zangi, Izzo, Kate & Nancy to name a few. Just like last year’s Sauti Awards, this will be another one for the books.
Atlanta is positioning itself as a birthplace for talent and business ventures. The high-profile events that have taken place within the community this summer have revealed the competitive edge of local businesses, and the willingness of the local community to try out new ideas that foster community growth. In the process, new photographers, videographers, sound engineers, event hosts, and corporate sponsors have been born. Don’t be surprised if the next big thing comes out of Atlanta. Don’t worry, we’ll be watching as Atlanta unfolds into the greatness we’ve always known it to be. In a sense, the summer brought Kenya to Atlanta – home away from home.