scarves dance.jpg (copy) (copy)

Miangel Pasha, 7, dances with scarves during a previous MOJA Festival finale. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

MOJA Arts Festival, in its 36th year, celebrates African American and Caribbean culture in Charleston for 11 days.

There will be everything from visual arts to classical music to gospel to theater. Some of it is made especially for the festival; some of it is made elsewhere and attached to the festival. Some of it will be familiar to MOJA patrons, and some of it will offer a chance to consider something new.

In addition to the big parade and finale festivities, which we've showcased in our "My Charleston Weekend" roundup, here are some of the major events going down this year. 

lede air spin.jpg (copy)

King Baba James Earnest spins through the air as he performs for a previous MOJA Festival finale. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

When I First Remember

WHAT: Queen Atterberry of Lady in White Production Company and an ensemble of performers blend music, dance and dialogue to tell the story of the inception of Gullah-Geechee culture.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 26 and Oct. 3

WHERE: Old Bethel United Methodist Church, 222 Calhoun St.

PRICE: $21 adults, $11 children 12 and younger

Miss Dessa

WHAT: In this comedic play, one relative schemes to outwit another when it comes to inheriting property. Twists, turns and chuckles are promised.

WHEN: 8 p.m. Sept. 26-27, 4 p.m. Sept. 28, 6 p.m. Sept. 29

WHERE: Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church St.

PRICE: $35 adults, $30 students/seniors

Artist Talk with Synthia Saint James

WHAT: MOJA poster artist Synthia Saint James will discuss her work in the exhibition "HBCUs: Creating Power Through Education."

WHEN: 1 p.m. Sept. 27

WHERE: City Gallery, 34 Prioleau St.


Real Woman Blues

WHAT: Based on a book of poetry, this chorea-drama production and sisterhood journey explores issues that have plagued women through the centuries: love, family, broken relationships, men, friendships, domestic violence, self-esteem and self-worth.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 27-28, 4 p.m. Sept. 29

WHERE: Cannon Street Arts Center, 134 Cannon St.

PRICE: $30 adults, $25 students/seniors

The Gullah Lady

WHAT: Extending the Old Bethel series, Sharon Cooper Murray will share stories and songs in the Gullah-Geechee language.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 27 and Oct. 4

WHERE: Old Bethel United Methodist Church, 222 Calhoun St.

PRICE: $21 adults, $11 children 12 and younger

pc-020119-fe-marleyscene-4.jpg (copy)

Zandrina Dunning will perform at an event presented by The Sophia Institute that pays tribute to Motown. File/Stephen Massar/Special to The Post and Courier

Women & Wonder

WHAT: The Music Hall's successful "Women &" concert series continues with this rendition, a tribute to Stevie Wonder. Zandrina Dunning, Christian Smalls, Exavia Baxter, Alva Anderson, Hazel Ketchum and Lindsay Holler will be providing the vocals. 

WHEN: 8 p.m. Sept. 28

WHERE: Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. 

PRICE: $17 advance, $19 day of show

Good Old Fashioned Gospel Music

WHAT: This concert will feature hand-clappin', foot-stompin' music made famous by artists such as Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar and Andre Crouch. Performers are Ashley Hale, Mario Dessausure, Elder Javetta Campbell and Reverend Randolph Miller.

WHEN: 4 p.m. Sept. 29

WHERE: Trinity United Methodist Church, 273 Meeting St.

PRICE: $11

College of Charleston Gospel Choir

WHAT: The gospel continues with a repertoire of contemporary tunes from the 1990s. This style of music had its crossover into the entertainment industry through such stars as Ray Charles, Al Green, Aretha Franklin, The Edwin Hawkins Singers. Cue "O Happy Day."

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sept. 30

WHERE: Mt. Zion AME Church, 5 Glebe St.

PRICE: $15 general admission, Free for students with ID

The World of Anansi the Spider

WHAT: The Columbia Marionette Theatre will present “The World of Anansi the Spider,” which features folktales narrated by the storyteller Anansi, a classic character featured in African tales which was adopted by other cultures such as Jamaican and Gullah.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Oct. 1 

WHERE: Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun St.


Toni Morrison: "The Pieces I Am" film screening

WHAT: Following an introductory poetry reading by Asiah Mae and Marcus Amaker, there will be a screening of this film featuring famous American writer and Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, who fought for her voice to be heard. Included are interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Angela Davis and Morrison herself.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Oct. 1 

WHERE: Charleston Music Hall, 37 John St. 


Last Rites

WHAT: This play is based on the second day of the Detroit riots in the summer of 1967, during which three people take refuge from the chaos in a gas station. As the violence mounts outside, tensions rise inside. The play considers the sparks that ignited the violence and the embers that still burn amid the ashes today.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1

WHERE: Cannon Street Arts Center, 134 Cannon Street

PRICE: $33

foyeh.jpg (copy)

Toby Foyeh and Orchestra Africa performed during a previous MOJA Festival finale. File/Grace Beahm Alford/Staff

Rhythms and Instruments from the African Diaspora

WHAT: This "edu-concert" features world traveler, musician and cultural educator Daniel Scruggs, creator of Rhythm Moves. This immersive learning experience will highlight traditional and contemporary rhythms and instrumentation from Africa, South America, North America and the Caribbean Islands.

WHEN: 9:30 a.m. Oct. 2

WHERE: Charleston County Public Library, 68 Calhoun St.


Swahili Workshop

WHAT: This workshop, designed for children and adults alike, will teach attendees Swahili words and the importance of the Bantu language.

WHEN: 4 p.m. Oct. 2

WHERE: West Ashley Library, 45 Windermere Blvd.


Soul in the Garden

WHAT: This concert in the Gibbes garden will feature members of The Black Diamond Band and The Zandrina Dunning Experience. Bring a picnic and a lawn chair and settle in for the plein-air soul music performance at sunset. A premium table option is available.

WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 2

WHERE: Gibbes Museum of Art, 135 Meeting St.

PRICE: $20 members, $25 non-members, $400 reserved table for 10

MOJA play (copy)

Michele Powe (left) and Nikkita Donyal Johnson get ready in their dressing room before the start of "Blues for an Alabama Sky," a previous MOJA play. File/Staff

Choir Boy

WHAT: This Pure Theatre play, which was nominated for four Tony Awards, focuses on the Charles R. Drew Prep School of Boys, which is dedicated to the creation of strong, ethical black men. Main character Pharus hopes to lead the school's legendary gospel choir.

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2-4, 3 p.m. Oct. 5

WHERE: Dock Street Theatre, 135 Church St.

PRICE: $31

Harbor Cruise featuring Dante Lewis

WHAT: Columbia-based saxophonist Dante Lewis will play smooth jazz, classic jazz, R&B, top-40 hits and Anita Baker tributes on this harbor cruise. He's joined by a bassist, drummer and keyboardist for a full band sound.

WHEN: Boarding 7:30 p.m. Oct. 2

WHERE: Spiritline Harbor Cruise, Harbor Walk Dock at Aquarium Wharf, 360 Concord St. 

PRICE: $25

Southern Boys

WHAT: This musical, featuring narratives and blues, centers around a group of first-generation, born-free African Americans who long for a life beyond the fields. These "Southern Boys" make a pact to leave their families in the Mississippi Delta and migrate north.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Oct. 4-5, 3 p.m. Oct. 6

WHERE: Cannon Street Arts Center, 134 Cannon St.

PRICE: $37 adults, $22 children 12-18

Quiana Parler & Friends

WHAT: Entertainer Quiana Parler of Gullah roots group Ranky Tanky is no stranger to the MOJA Arts Festival, and she'll be returning this year for a concert heralding the African American heritage of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

WHEN: 9 p.m. Oct. 4

WHERE: Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St.

PRICE: $25

Nikki Giovanni (copy)

Poet Nikki Giovanni will headline the 2019 Black Ink book festival at Memminger Auditorium. File

Black Ink

WHAT: Charleston's African American Book Festival, in its fourth year, supports and celebrates local black authors. The event will include author exhibits, discussions, signings and panels in addition to a talk from keynote speaker Nikki Giovanni at 2 p.m. 

WHEN: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 5

WHERE: Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St.


Charleston Boxing Club's Annual MOJA Cup

WHAT: A MOJA tradition, this event highlights some of the region's all-star amateur boxers, who will battling it out in the ring. 

WHEN: 7 p.m. Oct. 5 

WHERE: Arthur Christopher Community Center, 265 Fishburne St.

PRICE: $15 adults, $5 students under 18, Free children younger than 8

Live your most local life with the help of our handpicked music, events and food stories. Delivered to your inbox every Thursday.

Reach Kalyn Oyer at 843-371-4469. Follow her on Twitter @sound_wavves.

Kalyn Oyer is a Charleston native who covers arts and entertainment for The Post and Courier's Thursday edition, Charleston Scene. She used to write about music for the Charleston City Paper and Scene SC.