KING 5: Seattle welcomes first-ever BE Great Weekend, celebrating Black excellence

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Image source: KING 5

This story was originally published in KING 5 on Feb. 16, 2024

SEATTLE — This weekend, greatness is celebrated in Seattle.

BE Great Weekend, celebrating Black excellence, is happening Feb. 16-17 in Occidental Square in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. It’s the first-ever event of its kind in Seattle.

The free event is put on by the Downtown Seattle Association (DSA) and the Metropolitan Improvement District. It will fill Occidental Square with live music, local vendors offering food and art on display from a variety of artists and performers who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC).

Tierra Tay and her husband created the Chop Chop!, offering West African cuisine.

“We specialize in things like jollof rice, Egusi soup, puff puff, plantain. All the things you can get if you were to visit West Africa,” said Tierra Tay, the co-founder of Chop Chop.

Tay and her husband jumped at the opportunity to bring people together with their food.

“It really feels good. Me and my husband are first generation entrepreneurs, so for the city to celebrate Black entrepreneurship and generational wealth and building something of your own, it’s really special,” Tay said.

There are also creators not in the kitchen.

“It’s my way of giving love out to the world,” said Richard Burnett Jr., who creates beautiful watches, mostly made with wood.

He is the creator and founder of R. Burnett Brand, and said a watch is a statement piece that shows class, style and says something without having to speak.

Burnett said this weekend’s event is worth celebrating every creator.

“A lot of us get discouraged, but when it comes to Black excellence, you have to make sure you are striving towards your dreams every single day,” Burnett said.

Creator Rainbow Manier made her dreams a reality through her jewelry with her business Soul Chains. “My chains are one of a kind, manifestation pieces. They are soul chains,” Manier said.

She said BE Great weekend puts a spotlight on “the DNA, our ancestors, and the now and our quantum future.”

DSA said the weekend of cultural richness includes live performances by the Jewel Tones, PHER, the Pike Street Drummer and DJs Ish and Nazo, along with other local talent, on Saturday.

The weekend finishes in Westlake Park, Sunday, Feb. 18 with the welcoming of the Year of the Dragon. Mak Fai Kung Fu Dragon and Lion Dancers will perform and additional Lunar New Year celebrations will be held.