44th annual Odunde Festival in South Philly celebrates African culture

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- On the surface it may look like most street festivals. After all, there's music, food, and plenty of shopping.
But if you looked and listened closer, you quickly realize it is something so much more.

"Odunde is cultural icon, it's a cultural staple in the city of Philadelphia, we're more than just a festival," said Oshunbumi Fernandez-West, chief executive officer of Odunde365.

Fernandez-West says it's a job she was born to take.

"It was created by my mother, Lois-Fernandez, 44 years ago. I was 1-year-old strapped to my mother's back at the first Odunde," she said.

Odunde celebrates the coming of another year for African Americans and Africanized people around the world.

It's a celebration that spans 15 city blocks near 23rd and South streets, and also draws more than half a million people to the city annually.

For many, it's an experience not to miss.

"It's the unity that I most come for," said parent Amber Robinson.

"We always try to keep it cultural, the ethnicity of it," said Queen Amina who's been coming since the first festival back in 1975.

This year, the festival culminated in a concert by rapper, producer, and beatboxing superstar, Doug E. Fresh.

"It's a celebration of our culture, celebration of our life," Fresh said. "It's a blessing to still be here and be a part of something like this and I've always loved to come to Philly."
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