Tanya Mckinzie

Tanya Mckinzie, president and CEO of Indiana Black Expo, speaks at a press conference Feb. 18 about the organization's plans to celebrate its 50th anniversary. (Photo/Tyler Fenwick)

Indiana Black Expo will host a series of events through summer to celebrate the statewide organization’s 50th anniversary, culminating with the 10-day Summer Celebration in July.

Summer Celebration, which lasts July 9-19, of course includes the free concert July 17. This year’s lineup features Keith Sweat, Stephanie Mills, Johnny Gill and El DeBarge. The concert will be at American Legion Mall.

A second free concert July 18 at the Indiana Convention Center will feature national recording artist Raheem DeVaughn and an R&B artist to be announced later.

Summer Celebration also includes a film festival, business conference, employment opportunity fair and more. IBE is adding a track for middle and high school students this year, as well as millennial-age adults, who are emerging leaders. They’ll take part in business workshops, financial literacy, an educational summit and more.

Instead of the usual paid concert at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, which will be under renovation in the summer, IBE will host a gala July 18 in the Sagamore Ballroom at the Indiana Convention Center.

Visit IBE's website to learn about Summer Celebration and other events.

IBE will host 50 Fest on June 13 at its headquarters, 601 N. Shortridge Road. The event will include a naming ceremony at 10 a.m. to name the building the Rev. Charles Williams Center.

Rev. Williams was president of IBE from 1983 to 2004 and is celebrated as the person responsible for resurrecting and expanding the organization.

50 Fest will also feature a free concert, amateur boxing and vendors, as well as a chance for community members to tour the new headquarters, which IBE has been renovating since it moved into the old Crossroads Bible College building in March 2019.

“What is profound in this moment is that we do not only celebrate the journey of IBE,” President and CEO Tanya Mckinzie said at a press conference Feb. 18. “This moment is much more than that. We also celebrate the journey that we as African Americans have traveled on over the last 50 years.”

Mckinzie said IBE is partnering with experts on an “extensive landscape study” to help answer questions such as whether the organization’s current purpose reflects future aspirations and if services and programs are aligned with the needs of the state’s African American youth and families.

She said the results will be made public “early” in the fourth quarter of this year, which begins in October.

IBE began its 50th anniversary celebration in January by honoring volunteers. The statewide conference for chapter members is April 17-18.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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