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‘Baltimore is back,’ mayor says, announcing return of AFRAM with lineup including Ne-Yo, El DeBarge and The O’Jays

Baltimore’s summer entertainment is heating up with a sizzling lineup for the 45th annual AFRAM Festival.

After a cancellation in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a hybrid experience in 2021, Mayor Brandon Scott and Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks announced AFRAM Festival will return to Druid Hill Park for a two-day in-person event Saturday, June 18 and Sunday, June 19.

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“I am incredibly excited to be welcoming residents and visitors back to the historic Druid Hill Park for the return of one of Baltimore’s most honored traditions, AFRAM,” Scott said in a news release.

The mayor said the city parks department worked to continue the AFRAM tradition, which began in 1976, and keep the festival’s legacy alive despite social distancing limitations and gathering mandates in recent years.

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“The return of AFRAM is another signal that Baltimore is back,” Scott said.

For 2022, AFRAM is expected to highlight Black businesses, art, music, fashion, culture and what Scott described as an “amazing lineup.”

This year’s list of entertainers includes three-time Grammy winner Ne-Yo; serenader El DeBarge; legendary R&B group The O’Jays; rapper Yung Bleu; actor and singer Rotimi; Gospel sensation Le’Andria Johnson; disc jockey and 92Q radio host DJ Quicksilva; and Baltimore’s DJ Tanz.

“Baltimore has been waiting and our agency has been working. We are so excited to bring the AFRAM experience back to Druid Hill Park,” said Reginald Moore, executive director of city parks.

Touted as one of the largest African American festivals on the East Coast, AFRAM has been moved to Juneteenth weekend. Declared a federal holiday in 2021, Juneteenth — June 19 — commemorates the emancipation of African Americans, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger publicly announced “General Order Number 3,” in Galveston, Texas, officially freeing those enslaved in 1865.

AFRAM’s weekend switch is another form of celebrating Baltimore’s Black community, city officials said.

As always, AFRAM will be a free event, and residents are encouraged to apply to take part in the celebration as talent, sponsors, volunteers and vendors.


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