Contributed by Anita C. Roberts
Welcome to the soul of Texas – the Live Music Capital of the World®. Named a Top Creative Center by Entrepreneur, one of America’s Best Cities for Foodies by Travel + Leisure and the nation’s #1 “boom town” for the next decade by Forbes...the word on Austin is out. Austin prides itself on being open-minded, welcoming diversity and progress without ever losing its’ character. And whether it’s experiencing the independent businesses along South Congress Avenue, taking in the galleries and cafes of eclectic East Austin or discovering our world-famous live music scene – you’ll find that when it comes to Austin, what you hear is true.
But don’t take our word for it. Check out the following African American activities, events, professional associations and more that are waiting to be discovered in Austin.
LIVE MUSIC CAPITAL OF THE WORLD®
Year-round, one of Austin's most famous music venues is none other than Austin City Limits Live at the Moody Theater. Inspired by Austin City Limits the TV show, ACL Live often hosts African American artists of international name recognition, including Aretha Franklin, Janet Jackson, Keb Mo and Diana Ross to name a few.
Great music can be found throughout the city - and on the East Side of town music venues such as the Victory Grill, Charlie's Playhouse, Big Mary's, Ernie's Chicken Shack, and Doris Miller Auditorium feature local bands and up-and-coming artists. These venues became famous for hosting musical legends including Duke Ellington, Ray Charles, Bobby Bland, B.B. King, and Ike and Tina Turner. Today, local artists including Ephraim Owens, Spoek Mathambo, Jeff Lofton and Tje Austin, perform regularly.
Experience the best of Austin dining at these local favorites:
Perfectly breaded catfish and jumbo shrimp are Eddie and Freddie Roland’s specialty at Bayseas #7, which serves Southern staples like fried okra and spicy gumbo. 1311 Chestnut Ave., 512-499-8833. bayseas7.weebly.com
For a unique addition to the Austin food trailer scene, check out Cazamance – where authentic West African dishes like the Yassa Chicken, Mafe, and the Dakar boy's lamb burger reign supreme, courtesy of Head Chef Iba Thiam. 96 Rainey Street or 1102 E Cesar Chavez, 512-487-7222. cazamance.com
Lola Stephens re-creates family recipes like shrimp po boys and crawfish etouffee at Nubian Queen Lola's Cajun Soul Food Café. On Sundays, Stephens hosts a Cajun feast for Austin’s homeless in her backyard. 1815 Rosewood Ave., 512-474-5652.
Plucking ingredients from his Soular Food Garden, Hoover Roosevelt uses only the freshest ingredients in his soul-Cajun-barbecue recipes at Hoover's Cooking. 2002 Manor Rd., 512-479-5006. hooverscooking.com
AUSTIN'S AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORICAL LANDMARKS >>
#IAMBLACKAUSTIN is a multimedia campaign created by the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce that features African Americans living in Austin who have contributed to creating a new narrative for African American identity in Travis County. The mission for this campaign is to help market, promote and capture the black experience in Austin leading to increased tourism, professional retention and celebration of a diverse range of African Americans in Austin. austinbcc.org/iamblackaustin
AFRICAN AMERICAN AUSTINITES THAT ROCK
Candace Bellamy, Musician
With a sound that draws clear inspiration from Aretha but also from Duffy, Candace Bellamy is the rare singer-songwriter who had never sung until she took a voice lesson on a whim. It was love at first chord, and she's been making music ever since. Favorite places to perform: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Maria's Gospel Brunch.
Natalie Madeira Cofield, President & CEO, Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce
As the youngest Chamber President for a top 15 US City, Cofield has carved a niche for herself as an entrepreneur, advocate, and speaker on all things diversity and business. At the Chamber, her main priority has been to provide economic opportunities in the African American community.
As the first African American elected to public office in Austin, Wilhelmina Delco spent 20 years serving in the Texas state legislature. Delco devoted her life to the cause of education - and after retiring, served as Adjunct Professor of Education at the University of Texas.
Ms. Delco has been inducted into the Texas Women's Hall of Fame and holds honorary degrees from St. Edward's University, Lee College, Southwestern University, Huston-Tillotson College, and Wiley College.
Gilbert Tuhabonye, Owner/Founder Gilbert's Gazelles
A world-class athlete, running coach and local celebrity, Tuhabonye is thefounder and principal coach of Gilbert's Gazelles, one of Austin's largest and most popular running groups and co-founder of the Gazelle Foundation - whose mission is to build water projects in his native home of Burundi. Tuhabonye also authored the best-selling book,This Voice in My Heart.
William "Teddy" McDaniel III, President & CEO, Austin Area Urban League (AAUL)
As President & CEO, McDaniel leads the Austin Area Urban League in assisting African Americans and all other under-served Austin-area residents in the achievement of societal and economic equality.
Austin Black Contractors Association
Austin Black Lawyers Association
Blacks in Government (Austin)
National Association of Black Accountants
National Black MBA
National Forum for Black Public Administrators (Central Texas Chapter)
National Sales Network
Austin African American Firefighters
Black Professional Alliance
Pro Arts Collective - The new city-owned facility, the African-American Cultural and Heritage Facility will house office and rehearsal space for Pro Arts Collective (a community non-profit organization), offices for the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce with focal point in East Austin to stimulate African-American arts, culture and entertainment, as well as small businesses.
NEW & NOTABLE
Live music is in Austin's soul. The best way to quickly discover Austin's vibe is to tune in to our Austin Soul CD. This custom 11-song compilation features the best of Austin artists- from gospel to blues to R&B.