1Love Cultural Festival looks to encourage cultural awareness, self-love

Dr. Melba Sampson and Derrick Young, co-founders of the 1Love Cultural Festival, during a recent press conference.

1Love Cultural Festival looks to encourage cultural  awareness, self-love
June 02
09:12 2022

In the opening of his song, “One Love,” legendary recording artist Bob Marley said, “One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel all right.” And that’s exactly what 1Love Media and Pink Robe Chronicles wants to do with the 1Love Cultural Festival: bring people together. 

The 1Love Cultural Festival is a two-day event scheduled for June 17-18 that will include musical, visual, spiritual, and creative arts to raise Black consciousness. According to organizers, the festival is designed to complement and build on the cultural contributions of the late Larry and Silvia Hamlin’s National Black Theater Festival and Cheryl Harry’s Juneteenth celebration. 

When discussing the event during a recent press conference, Dr. Melba Sampson, co-organizer and founder of Pink Robe Chronicles, said, “Our goal is to amplify African Diaspora culture and curate an immersive hybrid experience with in-person performances streamed virtually, and develop and maintain mutually enhancing connections that encourage love of self, love of community and love of culture.”

Dr. Sampson said some of the same barriers Black communities faced in the 1960s and 1970s are still prevalent today. There’s a need to shine a light on the rich history of Black people in this country and the people, art and practices that are moving the culture forward.

“By centering and celebrating African Diaspora culture, we will rail against claims that African Americans do not have a past and make clear that our cultural ingenuity pre-dates the trans-Atlantic slave trade and that our culture is not inferior,” Sampson continued.

“A celebration of this magnitude moves us closer to embodying collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, faith, unity, purpose, creativity, and self-determination.” 

The first day of the festival (June 17) will be held at the Stevens Center, 405 4th Street. The day will begin with a free “Community Conversation” featuring visual artist Elahi Stewart and co-founder of Hustle Winston-Salem, Daryl Shaw.

Later that day LB the Poet, Phonsarelli, Ely B, Untitled and Soultriii will hit the stage at the Stevens Center. Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Dashill Smith will wrap up the day. 

Day two of the festival (June 18) will be held at The Ramkat, 170 W. 9th Street, and will be headlined by several different panels.

The first panel, “Black Man Lab: We Need You!” will feature attorney Mawuli Davis, activist and retired pastor John Mendez, and Winston-Salem State University professor and co-founder of the Winston-Salem Black Panther Party, Larry Little. 

The second panel titled “Telling Our Stories As We Know Them,” will feature author and theologian Candice Benbow and educator Jana Johnson Davis. 

The third panel, “The Artist’s Way,” will begin around noon and will feature international visual artist Angelbert Metoyer. 

The last panel of the day titled “Defining Ourselves For Ourselves: Innovation and Entrepreneurship,” will bring Maurice Foxworth and Dr. Sampson together to discuss the ins and outs of starting and maintaining a successful business. Recording artist Tara Lord, violinist Chelsey Green, and Mausiki Scales and The Common Ground Collective are also scheduled to perform on day two of the festival. 

The 1Love Cultural Festival will also make stops in Houston, Texas, and Miami, Florida, later this year. Derrick Young, founder of 1Love Media, said they chose the locations for the festival based on the number of people moving there in recent years. “North Carolina as a state, Texas as a state, and Florida as a state are in the top five for people migrating to those states,” Young said. 

“That means different ideas, different people, different cultures coming to those states, so that means change is eventually going to happen. And we plan and want to be in those states in those cities when change happens.”

John Mendez, local activist and former pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church, said events like the 1Love Cultural Festival and the annual Juneteenth Festival, are necessary to keep Black culture relevant and alive. He also talked about how the festival and connecting with the culture can help curb some of the violence we’ve seen in recent months. 

“There’s a lot of conversations going on right now about the violence and the crime in our city, but what we overlook is … when you don’t love yourself and when you feel like your life doesn’t matter, it’s easy to escape and become involved with crime and violence. It’s really a manifestation about how you feel about yourself,” Mendez continued. “Culture is liberating; it’s the one thing that can turn everything around. In New York I used to be a gangbanger and I engaged in all kinds of crazy stuff, but once I connected on one hand to the Black church and the cultural life of Harlem, my life turned around.”

For more information on the 1Love Cultural Festival, visit

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Tevin Stinson

Tevin Stinson

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