The Culinary Capital of the Caribbean recently played host to an inaugural festival celebrating the HBCU Experience and you just had to be there.
Barbados was bristling with Black excellence for Juneteenth weekend as alumni from an array of historically Black colleges celebrated at FABA-For Alumni, By Alumni–Festival.
Taking place from June 15-18, proud grads from the likes of Howard, Hampton, Texas Southern, and Xavier participated in various activities that captured the essence of the Black college experience. The events took place amid a stunning backdrop filled with rich African diasporic culture, something that’s not lost on FABA Fest founder/Howard University grad LaChanda Ricks.
“We represent Black excellence as HBCU alumni, Barbados represents Black excellence in so many areas and so this a marriage of those two coming back together,” Ricks told BOSSIP about FABA fest.
“The children of the diaspora are celebrating our culture and celebrating local culture, and with those together and it’s just magic. So that’s what you’re missing [if you’re not here], the magic!”
During the magical celebration, FABA fest attendees built bonds with fellow alumni from across the country, allowing for networking and friendship forming while taking in white sandy beaches and luxurious resorts.
Guests stayed in opulent digs including the Hilton Barbados, a centrally located spa resort home to the 17th-century ruins of Charles Fort, that offers direct access to the stunning azure water of the ocean and specialty fine dining experiences.
FABA fest attendees dined on sumptuous lamb chops, grilled sweet & sour pork Ribeye, and shrimp souse prepared by Bajan chefs at The Grille and Careenage Rum Stop.
In addition to enjoying delicacies, the first-of-its-kind destination celebration included opportunities to trade knowledge about beloved Black institutions.
Alumni Engagement Summit
The first official day of the fest kicked off with an alumni engagement summit where attendees exchanged ideas on HBCU advancement, development, and alum relations.
A panel featuring HBCU alumni association leaders and external affairs and international outreach leaders led to a discussion about innovative approaches to increasing alum engagement and giving, as well as opportunities to increase engagement from alumni worldwide.
Welcome VIP Reception
The following day, VIP FABA Fest attendees were treated to a welcome reception and Mount Gay Rum tasting via Trudiann Branker, Barbados’ first female master blender.
Branker, a proud Howard University grad, walked guests through the nosing and tasting of the amber-colored liquid from the world’s oldest commercial rum distillery at the island’s Copacabana Beach Club.
Guests sipped a 20-year-old rum from Mount Gay while also enjoying smooth sounds from a saxophonist,
and passed Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails.
Hit the flip for more FABA Fest fun!