concert diverse 1
August 2, 2022

Black Arts & Cultural Festival Presented by USNYBCC on 8/6

The Black Arts and Cultural Festival Presented by UpState New York Black Chamber of Commerce to Be Held at The Empire State Plaza on Saturday, August 6
Grammy-Nominated R&B Artists SWV to Headline Event
UpState New York Black Chamber of Commerce is the Festival’s New Sponsor

New York State Office of General Services Commissioner Jeanette Moy today announced the lineup of performances and activities for the 2022 Black Arts and Cultural Festival Presented by UpState New York Black Chamber of Commerce at the Empire State Plaza from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 6.

“The Black Arts and Cultural Festival is an opportunity for everyone to celebrate New York State’s rich heritage of Black history and culture. Along with the support of vendors, art, and free entertainment, this is an opportunity for everyone to come out and enjoy a part of what makes New York special,” Commissioner Moy said. “I want to thank the new sponsor of this event, the UpState New York Black Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber’s generosity is helping us bring an exciting lineup of music, art, dance, and activities to the Empire State Plaza for this fun cultural event.”

UpState New York Black Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Anthony Gaddy said, “The UpState New York Black Chamber of Commerce and Albany Black Chamber are proud to be the official title sponsor of the 2022 Black Arts and Cultural Festival. ‘BlackFest,’ as it is known to many of us, has a rich history in the City of Albany. We are honored to be a part of that tradition and honored to partner with New York State for this year’s festival. We look forward to introducing some of our members to the community as well as meeting some of the business owners and entrepreneurs who will be on hand.”

The Black Arts and Cultural Festival will feature a special performance by headliner SWV and special guest artists Freedom Stratton, and DJ T.G.I.F. The festival’s main stage will also host a children’s performance showcase presented by the Frank Chapman Memorial Institute and a performance by the 2022 MLK Ensemble.

Formed in 1992, SWV is a trio of talented women who have produced a number of top 10 R&B hits, including “I’m So Into You,” “You’re Always On My Mind,” “Right Here,” and “You’re the One.” With more than 30 million records sold, this Grammy-nominated trio is one of the best female groups of all time, according to Billboard.

Whether it’s live music, dance, or spoken word, the creative arts play a significant role in drawing people to this annual event. This year’s festival will feature:

  • A gospel stage under the direction of Cliff Patterson
  • A Teen Stage under the direction of Her Temple Monologues founder Shavina Richardson with performances by Team Onyx, The BarBs, The Elite Barbetts, Something Exclusive, Touchmoney Cease, 2HOT4U, and more
  • A Heritage Culture Area with exhibits by the 369th Veterans Association, Rapp Road Historical Association, Underground Railroad History Project of the Capital Region, and more
  • A Kids Zone with pony rides, face painting, bounce rides, and crafts with the Albany Tulip Queen and the queen’s court

The festival will also feature amazing food that will be served up by more than a dozen vendors, including Umana, Roy’s Caribbean, Ya Ya’s House of Southern Cusine, Alotta Empanadas, Chocolate is Self Care, Guido’s Frozen Desserts, PJ Franks, Kona Ice, Mosall’s Grove, Mr. Ding-A-Ling, Precious Memories, Raven’s Lemonade, Times Square Catering, and Nelly’s Treats.

There will also be more than 50 vendors at the event who will be providing information about their organizations and businesses, as well as selling handmade gifts, food, personal care products, and cultural arts and crafts from the African diaspora. 

The Black Arts and Cultural Festival is sponsored by UpState New York Black Chamber of Commerce with additional support from Price Chopper/Market 32, Hot 99.1, MVP Health Care, SONYMA, CDTA, Renaissance Albany Hoel, and the Capital District YMCA.

Free parking is available in the East Garage and the Madison Avenue and Grand Street parking lots. Paid parking is available in the visitor lot underneath the Empire State Plaza.

Main Stage Performance Schedule

2:15       Children’s Showcase

3:00       DJ T.G.I.F.

3:15       2022 MLK + Ensemble Showcase

4:00       DJ T.G.I.F.

4:35       Freedom Stratton

5:15       DJ T.G.I.F.

5:30       SWV

For event updates and additional information, visit, @EmpireStatePlaza on Facebook, and @plazaevents on Twitter, or call (518) 474-4759.