A Festival Grows in Harlem, Black Web Fest, at the National Black Theater
Wit López met Victoria Coker recently in New York and followed up to interview her about her Black Web Fest, happening this weekend in Harlem.

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Photo courtesy of Black Web Fest.
Photo courtesy of Black Web Fest.

If you find yourself in Harlem, NY, tomorrow, April 13, 2019, make your way over to the National Black Theater to take part in Black Web Fest. Now in its third year, the Black Web Fest continues to establish a culturally-competent space to celebrate the digital content of creators from all throughout the African diaspora. Not only does the festival screen digital content, but it also hosts panel discussions with Black media-makers and, in accordance with this year’s theme, there will be a health and wellness component, complete with fitness experts, mental health professionals, and more.

The festival bloomed out of the mind of the creative director, Victoria Coker, founder of Colored Media (CLRED MEDIA), the parent company to the festival. As an artist and professional in marketing, Coker saw a need for the festival as she listened to the needs of her clientele.

“[The festival] was me serving my clients,” Coker says of Black Web Fest’s humble beginnings. “Marketing for underrepresented Black filmmakers is hard. They wanted a space they could screen their films and network.”

Coker is working to bridge that gap with the festival. Financial accessibility is also a community concern that the festival seeks to address. According to Coker, many other well-known, mainstream festivals can be expensive for filmmakers, and even if they can afford tickets to the festival of their choice, paying for roundtrip transportation and lodging accommodations can chip away at personal finances too. Though Black Web Fest is not free, Coker hosts free satellite events in conjunction with the festival.

Access to education is also central to the festival’s structure. Coker feels that by keeping the festival tickets low-cost and the related events free it gives Black media makers the opportunity to remain informed about new methods, technologies, and happenings in the field, which these same artists might not have access to elsewhere due to inaccessible paywalls.

Additionally, Coker believes in the importance of supporting Black business and the African diaspora community in New York City. The festival is held in the National Black Theater, a Black-owned space in the heart of Harlem, NY, a neighborhood that is known globally for being a historic hub for Black creatives. Even the festival’s wine-tasting celebrates Black artistry and ownership, as it will be led by Pompette Wine Shop, an African American owned and operated wine shop also located in Harlem.

Looking to the future, Coker sees Black Web Fest expanding past its current events in New York City, Atlanta, and London, England. “Hopefully, next year, Black Web Fest will go to Toronto,” she shared.

If you’re interested in attending Black Web Fest, you can visit their website at www.blackwebfest.com for more information. The festival will be held from 11am-8pm at the National Black Theater, located at 2031 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10035.


More Photos

Photo courtesy of Black Web Fest.
Photo courtesy of Black Web Fest.
Photo courtesy of Black Web Fest.
Photo courtesy of Black Web Fest.
Tags

Black Web Fest, harlem, new york

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