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Style and Vibes: Odunde Festival 2015

Sofiya Ballin

Updated: Monday, June 15, 2015, 4:35 PM

Shah Jannele dances at the 2015 Odunde Festival. (Photo: Sofiya Ballin)

The largest African-American festival in the country celebrated its 40th birthday this weekend.

The Odunde Festival, which celebrates the African new year and celebrates the diaspora, has blessed us with vibrant cultural performances, vendors from around the globe who offer us a piece of another world and some of the most beautiful people all in one space.

Festival attendees strolled down South Street from 21st to 23rd and down Grays Ferry in traditional African garb, locs were pinned in intricate styles and men/women donned beautiful Kente and Ankara prints.

Fanta Celah, 34, owner of Fanta Celah creations tries on one of her intricate jewelry pieces for a customer.

Fanta Celah, 34, owner of Fanta Celah creations tries on one of her intricate jewelry pieces for a customer.

Fante Celah

Her jewelry isn’t the only thing intricate. Check out her wrapped locs! She calls it the Cosmic Crown adorned with copper pieces she made herself. “For women with locs sometimes they can get very heavy. This look is a sweet escape that’s regal and balances the weight,” Celah said.

Positive Movement drill team marches down South Street.

Positive Movement drill team marches down South Street.

Hip hop dance organization, Project Positive literally takes it up a notch.

Hip hop dance organization, Project Positive literally takes it up a notch.

Carl Jr.

Carl Jr., 22, “This is so important. It brings black people together to just chill and there’s so many good vibes.” Loving the skyscraper hair.

Katie Beth, 22 from Lancaster who dons beaded bra, belt and necklace.

Katie Beth, 22 from Lancaster who dons beaded bra, belt and necklace.

Logan Smith, 22 “Everything happening right now kind of breaks out culture. It’s great for people to see our culture instead of making assumptions or stereotyping.”

Logan Smith, 22 “Everything happening right now kind of breaks our culture. It’s great for people to see our culture instead of making assumptions or stereotyping.”

Michelle Grover

Michelle Grover, 44, rocks turquoise fabric earrings and glasses with a beautiful braid-hawk.

A young boy earns a high five after mastering the massive capoeira circle.

“See everything else is Kool Aid and syrup! My water ice is organic.”

When your crew’s hat game is crazy.

Shah Jannele

Shah Jannele, 29, has been coming to Odunde since she was a little girl. “It’s tradition. I come out every year because people have to show support if we want this to continue.”

Calude

Calude, 34 is from Gabon. Lived in the U.S. for 14 years. “This is a typical African outfit. It’s a relaxed Sunday look.” And of course, in royal purple.

Model and professional dancer, Kingsley Ibenche, 24 keeps it simple with black overalls, beaded necklace and a brown satchel.

Model and professional dancer, Kingsley Ibenche, 24 keeps it simple with black overalls, beaded necklace and a brown satchel. “I’m always working, being here I can chill and enjoy other people’s art and there’s so much positive energy. I feel free finally.”

Model and professional dancer, Kingsley Ibenche, 24 keeps it simple with black overalls, beaded necklace and a brown satchel.

Mariama Taifa-Seitu, 21, DC. “I lost my mom. She’s all over this place.”

Aja Thompson, 21 Nate Dunson, 20 and Eugene Williams, 20 are from West Philly can’t find their friend but their prints are on point.

Aja Thompson, 21 Nate Dunson, 20 and Eugene Williams, 20 are from West Philly can’t find their friend but their prints are on point.

A traditional gele at the Odunde Festival 2015

Traditional geles were everywhere.

Odunde 2015

An artist paints spiritual symbols on the faces of festival attendees.

Ebony Williams, 35 and Luzette Andrews couple from Brooklyn, NY

Ebony Williams, 35 and Luzette Andrews came down from Brooklyn, NY “This is our first Odunde, it’s really great. We love the variety of foods and there’s SO much culture.”

Michelle Grover, 44, and Chad Grover, 43

Michelle Grover, 44, and Chad Grover, 43. “We got married on Odunde, we come every year to celebrate our anniversary.”

Sa Mutt Scott,51 and Netfah Amina-Afia, 42

Sa Mutt Scott, 51 and Netfah Amina-Afia, 42 from New Jersey. “We’ve been coming to Odunde for 22 years. When I first started coming they had like 5,000 people or 6,000. It only took up one part of the street.Now, it must be 40,000. It’s grown in size and its audience while still maintain its cultural roots.”

“It’s like a reunion and celebration of life for the elders and the children.”

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Sofiya Ballin

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