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OMG—Houston selected to host 2026 FIFA World Cup matches

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The city of Houston, Texas was selected by FIFA as one of the host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup that is being hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada. NRG Stadium, the home of the Houston Texans and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, will be the venue in Houston for the world’s largest sporting event. Details are still to come on what games and how many will be held in Houston. We won’t know for a few more years who will be playing here.

Houston joins the cities below as hosts for the 2026 World Cup. The United States will have most of the tournament games with matches also being held in Canada and Mexico.

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Texas Southern partners with IgboFest to promote education, culture, and diversity

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IgboFest Houston, a cultural entity and festival that showcases the African heritage and Igbo culture to the great city of Houston has partnered with the Texas Southern University (TSU) to promote, embrace, and encourage culture, and diversity education in the community.

TSU will be visibly present at this festival to showcase their potentials as an inclusive, equitable, and welcoming institution for all members of the community. Internationally renowned TSU’s Debate Team will also be at this event to perform the “Igbo Landing Mass Suicide of 1803”, a rendition of one of the largest mass suicides of enslaved people that took place when Igbo captives from what is now Nigeria were taken to the coast of Georgia.

According to Dr. Chris Ulasi, TSU’s acting Dean of the School of Communications who also chairs the Houston IgboFeast, “This partnership is highly needed and most importantly, would reflects the mission of the IgboFest in building cultural awareness, linguistic diversity through teaching and learning of critically endangered languages, and youth cultural literacy.”

Texas Southern University welcomes new president

Texas Southern University President Dr. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young. Texas Southern University, one of the nation’s largest HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), possesses an impressive array of undergraduate and graduate programs, a diverse faculty, and 80-plus student organizations.

IgboFest Houston has reigned for decades in the City, bringing in performers from across the United States and globally. The 2022 IgboFest will showcase the  Ijele Masquerade, classified as the biggest masquerade in Sub-Saharan Africa. Group performances will range from traditional to acrobatic dancers, whereas other displays will involve very rare masquerades from the Igboland. Expected at this event are; Government representatives including Houston’s Mayor, Sylvester Turner, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Congressman Al Green, Texas Hour Rep. Jarvis Johnson, and others.

This colorful carnival which also is the largest African cultural festival in the City will hold at the Discovery Green – 1500 McKinney on Saturday, July 16, 2022. Admission is free. Bringing the African heritage and indeed the Igbo culture to the most diverse city in America is traditionally motivating and spiritually authentic.

Texas Southern University, one of the nation’s largest HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), possesses an impressive array of undergraduate and graduate programs, a diverse faculty, 80-plus student organizations, and an alumni network comprised of educators, entrepreneurs, public servants, lawyers, pilots, artists, and more, many of whom are change agents on the local, national and international stage.

For more information, please call 281-788-8133  or  832-452-7784

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Houston’s Emancipation Park Bubbles with Juneteenth Festival Excitement

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Saturday, June 18, and Sunday, June 19, 2022.  Sizzling temperatures rising to triple digits, humidity at its highest, and this spectacular Juneteenth festive celebration is on in Houston, Texas. Just the kind of vibe Houstonians needed to balance the heat.  From memory lane to everyday sing-along lyrics, be it cultural, social, historical, or contemporary, Kool and the Gang, The Isley Brothers, Sheila Escovedo, aka Sheila E., and Maze, featuring Frankie Beverly all projected a dynamic type of energy and synergy that surpassed the heat.

Multi-colored flashing stage lights. Action begins with the world renown R&B group Kool and the Gang entering the main stage showing off their funky and jazzy appearance—old school/new school.  Horns playing softly in the background, lead singer proudly welcomes the audience, then gives a brief historic account of their humble beginnings. Being the longest performing R&B group in history, and the most sampled R&B band of all times; JT naming each player as an original with the group, dating back to 1969 when they officially assigned their name as Kool and the Gang; group, album, and song all called Kool and the Gang.  This high energy performance certainly reflects the message in their music. “Celebrate good times! Come on! It’s a celebration. Everyone around the world . . . Come on! Cel-a-bra-tion!”  This signature line had the audience on their feet, rocking to the beat, and echoing every word.

Congress Woman, The Honorable Sheila Jackson-Lee, and Houston’s Mayor Sylvester Turner dancing to Kool and the Gang while celebrating good times on the VIP pavilion.

Like a shepherd with his staff tending to his sheep was Ron Isley with his cane entering the stage, capturing the crowd, singing their 1978 classic, Groove With You. And the audience swinging side-to-side, singing along, and . . . grooving.  This epic old-schooler slows it down, calling out the “Choosey Lovers.”

Day 2—Sunday, June 19, 2022

But Houstonians were not only grooving with the musical artists, among many others was one political rock star, Beto O’Rourke -candidate for Texas Governor immersing in all the festivities at the Juneteenth Celebration at the Emancipation Park 150th Anniversary.

This multi-ethnic, multi-talented diva is ‘multi’ with a sense of ‘purpose’ from all angles; she sings, plays, and dances to multi-genre music. With the mic in her hand, rocking to the background instrumentals, Sheila educates the audience of her Mexican Indian father and Creole mother.  Soaked in a medley of instrumentals, she signaled to the musicians to halt.  She then commands the keys, and each musician strikes accordingly.  As a woman of the Christian faith, not only did she sing, danced, and played the guitar and drum to secular and gospel music, she also gave a chilling testimony about surviving childhood molestation at the age of five.  Her statement shows in her performance: “Music is love, God is love and God is music.”  She talked about her faith in God.  Being a believer who sings secular music, but loves Jesus, she said, “I bring church to the people. My ministry is ‘Abuse’.”  She uses her voice to bring out the best in people. At 64 plus, going non-stop about 70 minutes in her performance decided to take the guitar off stage to engage directly with the audience.  It was just about sunset and the temperature was cooling down when she asked everyone to stand in solidarity with her in ‘passing the love.’  In obedience to Sheila’s request, the audience stood up, and as instructed, each person telling as many around them, “I love you.”  This sacred moment was followed by Sheila passing the love with the song “What the world needs now is love sweet love.”

Maximum security. Houston Police Department standing at attention at work.

Frankie Beverly greeting Houston with his favorite line: “Long time nuh see!”

The grand finale! With the volume pumped up, stepping on stage in style is the distinguished legend, Frankie Beverly starting off with one of his greatest hits, ‘Laid Back Kind of Girl’, then he serenades the ladies with “Southern Girl”, followed by “We Are One,” and the rest of the show was a rap.  Pausing, Frankie in his rhythmic posture, dancing from within, points the microphone to the audience, drums, keys, strings, and chords on medium sound, and the audience on one accord becomes the loudest voice, singing to Frankie’s all-time classics.  So then, what do you say about this artist who enters the stage with such an effect? Yes! Vintage, classical, and mystical is Maze/Frankie Beverly with countless recordings, performances, and awards on the global stage for more than 50 years.

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Interesting facts about Emancipation Park.  November 7, 2007, a remarkable act took place when the Houston City Council declared the park a historic landmark after it voted unanimously.  On April 24, 2019, United Nations Education Scientific Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Emancipation Park as a UNESCO Site of Memory.

Mission of Emancipation Park—To enhance Emancipation Park by preserving its integrity and enriching its heritage as a local, state, national, and international landmark. (For more information visit https://epconservancy.org)

In a brief conversation with Ramon Manning, Chairman of the Board of Directors, I asked, “What is the ‘Why’ behind this celebration?” Ramon responded, “This festive event goes beyond food, fun, fellowship. There is an educational aspect that educates generations about historic, cultural, and social issues that are embedded in American history. Often, there are stories about the struggles that the slaves encountered, but there were also countless untold victories, one of which is about the group of former slaves who pooled together the funding and purchased the property where the park is located.”  Another question I asked was, “And what value does this all bring to the community?” He answered, “This community park is an asset to Houston, Texas, and American history.  It stands significant to recognizing and acknowledging culture, history, and continuing education.”

♦The Guardian News would like to express sincere thanks to Michelle Kelly and Tara Hanney of Kelney Communications for such remarkable hospitality and accommodation

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The WAZOBIA giveaways are slated for this weekend —Saturday, June 18th, 2022

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Wazobia African Market will be giving out Free Food, Drinks, and Prizes on Saturday, June 18th, 2022. There is also a grand prize of “ONE YEAR’S WORTH OF FREE GROCERIES.”

Last year, one Nkechi Igboekwu emerged as the first prize winner of a Hyundai Sonata at the same event. Enemuoh Osinachi won the 65” Flat-screen TV whereas Gabriel won a Tablet as second and third prizes respectively.  Just like last year, this year will feature a Raffle Draw that offers one whole year of groceries at any of the WAZOBIA’s locations.

The winner of the Hyundai Sonata, Nkechi Igboekwu (second right) flanked by event facilitators. First right is the owner of Wazobia, Mr. Tunde Fasina, Fasina.

For over eight years now, the Wazobia Annual Customer Appreciation Funfair has served as a summer family entertainment and amusement bazaar and featured varieties of events to engage both adults and children. The owner of Wazobia, Mr. Tunde Fasina, Fasina said, “This is just a way to say a huge thank you to our esteemed customers and friends who make our business possible”

Nkechi Igboekwu emerged as the first prize winner of a Hyundai Sonata during WAZOBIA last year’s event.

Wazobia African Market is the fastest leading African Grocery store in the City of Houston. It was established on June 18, 2013, to support economic development, and community building, and provide authentic products from all African cultures.

This event is free and  takes place at the George Bush Park Pavillions on 16756 Westheimer Pkwy, Houston, TX 77082.

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