Bo Black Was My Lighthouse In the Storm
“When I walked into the African World Festival office in 2010, as the newly appointed Executive Director, I put down my bag and asked what have I done. I wanted to help restore the festival for my community. A volunteer effort turned into a full-time commitment. As I sat at the desk, thinking where do I begin, the phone rang. It’s my first day, I remembered thinking. Who knows I’m here?” Bo knew.
Calling from Arizona, the woman on the other end of the line, introduced herself as Bo Black. She’d heard I’d come on board and called to wish me luck. Over the course of the next hour, this woman I’d never met, walked me through the ins and outs of running a festival. I took notes and she laughed. She sensed I was overwhelmed and said let’s schedule regular calls. Before hanging up she whispered, “When your tickets go on sale, call and let me know, I will buy 100 of them”. When the time came, that is exactly what she did.
While I was learning how to navigate the tumultuous world of contract riders, how to weather the waves of temperamental stars, and dealing with the disappointment of just enough rain to dampen festival attendance, but not enough for the rain insurance policy to kick in, Bo Black was my lighthouse in the storm.
She shared her failures and successes, told me not to let anyone push me around, and gave me invaluable advice. Most importantly, she reminded me to take a “break and enjoy the music, because one day it’s going to stop”. I send my heartfelt condolences to Bo’s family and thank them for sharing her with me.”