Explore

Inside Durag Fest: The Festival We Never Knew We Needed

By DeAnna Taylor

Share

Durags have been culturally relevant for as long as I can remember. You can choose to rock one with the cape out or for a more polished appeal, you can opt for the no cape durag. Either way, Black people have been rocking the hair accessory for years to ensure that their waves stay on swim and their edges stay laid.

In 2018, three creatives in Charlotte, North Carolina teamed up to put together a festival to celebrate all that is durag culture and then some.

Lica Mishelle, Dammit Wesley, and DJ Fannie Mae are the faces behind this one-of-a-kind event. As an art curator, Wesley wanted to put together an exhibition for Juneteenth and highlight durags in the process. He reached out to Lica Mishelle, after seeing a creative project she did go viral, in hopes that they could bring their creative minds together.

They came together, with DJ Fannie Mae overseeing all things music, to create Durag Fest. We had a chance to speak to them about what’s in store for this year’s event and their vision for Durag Fest in the years to come.

Photo courtesy of @simplisticphobia

TN: How was Durag Fest born?

Lica: Durag Fest was born out of a necessity to own our narrative in a way that uplifts the community economically, and honestly Black Twitter. #DuragHistoryWeek was one of the few memes on Twitter that couldn’t be appropriated for other cultures to use. It was just so black. Plus, wave culture was on the rise with college durag days and the like. There was already a durag culture on the internet. We just applied it to create an experience.


Photo courtesy of @duragfest

TN: What is the vision for this event?

Lica: We envision it as the rebranding of Juneteenth. Not to diminish the holiday or its historical significance, but to build upon it. Every successful American Holiday has three things: a visual identifier, traditions/activities, and businesses built around the holiday. We want Juneteenth to benefit from the same capitalism that other holidays benefit from. We want black bars and restaurants to see an increase in white patrons. We want to see African & African-American apparel being bought in higher numbers for Juneteenth events, not just Durag Fest. Durag Festival is a vehicle for change. To integrating a stimulated economy into a holiday that needs the attention it deserves.

Photo courtesy of @duragfest

TN: How did people react to the first installment of the event?

Lica: We’d never seen attendees so engaged in our lives. It was obvious that this was one of the few opportunities for our culture to be unapologetically Black and proud of it. We all have a background in events, nightlife or entertainment. Usually you can see people’s level of investment in their body language. Durag Fest was the opposite of what we experienced in clubs and concerts. People were 100% invested in the experience. The guests at Durag Festival were just as much a part of the art as the paintings were. We could see the time people put into their outfits, designing their Durags, doing their hair. Everyone was a walking masterpiece. When we finally wrapped at 11pm many of our guests volunteered to stay and clean up. We didn’t ask, they literally started cleaning because the sense of community and ownership was that strong. We knew at that moment we had tapped into a sincere black experience.

Photo courtesy of @terrysuave

TN: What can we expect to see this year?

Lica: It’s not about what you’re seeing. It’s about what you’re experiencing. Durag Festival is about the creativity of the people and that’s something we don’t have control over. We are the Met Gala of Durags and we’re excited to see what surprises are in store.

Related: Charlotte’s Best Black-Owned Restaurants And Food Trucks

TN: Where can we find out more or get tickets?

Lica: Our website at duragfestival.com. Follow us @duragfest on Instagram. We randomly throw discount codes in our followers DMs.

Share
Travel Noire

DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Flight Deal: Charlotte To Seychelles Only $752

Flight Deal: Charlotte To Seychelles Only $752

Queen City and surrounding areas, gather your coins accordingly. One of the hottest African destinations is on sale from Charlotte, and who knows when we will see this again. This is at least a $400 savings. Delta Airlines and a few of its affiliates have dropped fares to as low as $752 roundtrip. This deal […]

DeAnna Taylor

This Black Woman Is Behind North Carolina’s Newest Urban Winery

This Black Woman Is Behind North Carolina’s Newest Urban Winery

Less than 1% of winemakers are Black women. Let us repeat that again. Less than 1% of the people who create the wines we love are Black women. Ohio native Lindsey Williams is one of the latest women to be included among that number. After spending over 13 years in her career as a Corporate […]

DeAnna Taylor

Black-Owned Vegan Chefs And Restaurants In Charlotte, NC

Black-Owned Vegan Chefs And Restaurants In Charlotte, NC

Finding delicious food in a city can be hard, especially when you are 100% plant-based. Luckily, Charlotte, NC has a few Black vegan chefs throughout the city who can satisfy your cravings. If you are headed to the ‘Queen City’ you’ll definitely want to support one or all of these businesses while there. Chef Joya […]

DeAnna Taylor