Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience

African American Heritage Festival

The Annual African American Heritage Festival is a 39 year-old celebration intended to educate, impact and promote cultural awareness while commemorating the legacy of the African American experience. The Student Life Multicultural Center, with the assistance of other campus departments, co-sponsors this nine-day festival.

This year, the focus is Madhumuni which stands for Purpose in Swahili. Join us for all the fun events to celebrate solidarity in the African American community.


March 24, 2017

OSU Reads: It Takes a Village to Foster Purpose

10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Hale Hall


OSU Reads highlights the importance of literacy and education through collaboration between The Ohio State University and Columbus City Schools. This year, OSU Reads will feature children’s author and illustrator, Jacob Carter! OSU Reads intends to bring awareness to the importance of reading by creating an educational, yet interactive experience. We will encourage our students to explore our theme of purpose through various means. Students will be able to enjoy and engage in physical activities and time spent with Jacob Carter! OSU Reads will create a space of purpose for our future leaders!


March 25, 2017

The Kick It: Kicking off the 39th Annual African American Heritage Festival

4 - 7 p.m.

Great Hall Meeting Room, Ohio Union


After a year of absence, campus favorite, Kick Off is back! “The Kick It” will give students the opportunity to take a break from academics and student involvement for a few hours and fellowship with members of The Ohio State community as well as Columbus community members. The event will feature a gallery-hop style layout with food, entertainment and a live DJ! The Kick-It will also feature performances by talent from the greater Columbus area. Be sure to stop by and enjoy some leisure time at The Kick It!


March 26, 2017

Gospel Fest: Finding Your Purpose in God's Purpose

Featuring: Timothy Reddick

6 p.m.

Ohio Union Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom East

During this year’s Gospel Fest, we encourage you to find your purpose in God’s purpose, as we celebrate the African & African-American church cultures as part of the African-American Heritage Festival in its 39th year! Our theme for the occasion is “The Black Tie Affair” as we want to put on our absolute Sunday’s Best for our King! This event will bring together people from the Ohio State and Columbus community, and even attract those outside of the Midwest. This will be a spiritual experience that we hope will uplift the community in a time of global change. We will also be incorporating our overall theme of “Madhumuni,” the Swahili word for purpose. This will be incorporated into both Gospel Fest and all other events apart from the festival. So come join us as we take part in this inclusive worship experience together. Whether it be through song, dance, or even a little comedy, this is an event that you will not want to miss!


March 27, 2017

AAHF Presents: Dismantling the Master's House

Featuring: Symone Sanders

6 p.m.

Ohio Union US Bank Theater 


Over the last few decades, a number of Blacks incarcerated has continued to increase which in turn leads to a disproportionate amount of disenfranchisement amongst Blacks. It is important that we understand the significance of our voting rights outside of appointing a president. Black communities are less likely to benefit from systems such as redlining which are put in place based on voting presences.


March 28, 2017

Poetry Showcase: Purpose for the Soul

Featuring: Jasmine Mans

6 p.m.

Ohio Union Archie M. Griffin Ballroom West


The Poetry Showcase is one of the most anticipated events of the festival. The showcase is a significant event for both experienced and aspiring poets to showcase their best work to The Ohio State and Columbus community. This year’s poetry showcase will be hosted by world renowned poet, Jasmine Mans and will feature both student and non-student talent from in and around Ohio. There will 2 rounds for poets to display their talents. The first round will consist of a poem with the theme of their choice and the 2nd round will focus on our overall theme for the 39th African American Heritage Festival, Madhumuni, or Purpose. Come and enjoy a night of spoken word from peers and non peers alike!


March 29, 2017

Variety Show: "Art in our Purpose" 

Featuring: Javier Sanchez

6 p.m.

Ohio Union Performance Hall 


As one of the pillar events of the festival, Variety Show continues to grow bigger and better each year. It features various forms of talent from both the campus and Ohio community. This year’s Variety Show is themed “The Art in Our Purpose”! Using spoken word, dance, singing, musicians and group performances, attendees will be able to enjoy a night filled with self-expression tailored around the festival’s theme, Purpose. Hosted by local artist, Javier Sanchez, Variety Show is sure to be an evening filled with unmatched entertainment and engagement!


March 30, 2017

Word on the Street: Let's Get Back to Buying Black

Featuring: Kat Blaque

6 p.m.

Ohio Union Great Hall Meeting Room


As a staple in the African American Heritage festival, Word on the Street creates a platform for all parts of the community to join in and discuss what is important and what is relevant to us. This year, we are Getting Back to Buying Black! Lead by feminist, vlogger and illustrator, Kat Blaque, Word on the Street will delve into Black entrepreneurship and how we can work to supporting up and coming businesses. The interactive night will feature dialogue with current business owners as well as games and chances to win prizes!


March 31, 2017

The Big Spring Cookout

12 - 2 p.m.

Hale Center


The African American Heritage Festival is introducing an all new program in partnership with OUAB! The Big Spring Cookout will feature a live DJ, food, games and an opportunity for students to come and fellowship with other community members! Come out to meet the chairs behind all the festival’s events and members of OUAB!


April 1, 2017

Mahogany Moments: A Toast to Purpose

Featuring: Soul Sound and DJ Lo-Key

7 p.m.

Ohio Union Archie M. Griffin Ballroom West


Culminating event, Mahogany Moments is highly anticipated each year. As a key component of the African American Heritage Festival, Mahogany Moments wraps up the week full of programs with joyous festivity. Guest will have the opportunity to partake in a dinner ceremony followed by the eventful dance portion of the evening. Mahogany Moments serves as one of the few instances the African American community on campus has to celebrate and showcase our excellence in a formal environment. This year’s theme is “A Toast to Purpose” as we honor the various achievements and milestones crossed within the African American community!


For more information or to get involved in the planning of the Annual African American Heritage Festival, please contact Katherine Betts or visit