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This Tucson festival is ready to showcase Black artists

From left, MoLaflo, Aske, Cash Lansky, Zora Thomas, Pheo and Fiona Fenix. All six artists will be performing at different events during the Black Renaissance festival.

Performances showcasing Black artists based in Southern Arizona, covering spoken word, hip-hop, jazz and the visual arts, will take place in venues around Tucson this month as part of the Black Renaissance festival.

The events, meant to coincide with Black History Month, will be the first held as part of the festival since early 2020, before the start of the pandemic.

Festival founder and curator, musician Seanloui Dumas didn’t hold any live events last year, opting instead to produce a series of podcasts and other forms of online content promoting Black artists throughout Arizona (you can hear the pods and get more details about upcoming events at blackrenaissance.online).

But Dumas, who launched the festival series in 2019, said people have been eager to get back to live shows.

“That energy of celebration, the energy of coming together with one focus, it is something that is very electric,” he explained.

Among the planned activities:

A free spoken-word event from 7 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 12, at & Gallery, 419 N. Fourth Ave. The evening will feature several spoken-word artists, including Larry Moore, Ms Redd and headliner, Zora Thomas.

A concert on Feb. 18 at Thunder Canyon Brewstillery, 220 E. Broadway, pairing local hip-hop artists Aske, Cash Lansky and Pheo with the Freddy Jay Live Jazz Band. The concert runs from 7 to 9 p.m. and admission is $7.

A free live art exhibit featuring the works of Fiona Fenix at Hotel McCoy, 720 W. Silverlake Road, from 7 to 10 p.m. on Feb. 25.

Dumas said, even in its first couple of years, Black Renaissance had a solid response from the community.

Shows during its 2020 events were packed, Dumas said. He hopes to capture a little bit of that at this year’s engagements.

“It is going to be cool, different,” Dumas said. “People are going to be masked up, but I think people have been looking forward to it.”


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