Our History

WAMA has hosted the Tuscaloosa Heritage Festival for the last six years.  The festival has grown and evolved with a focus on different aspects of Tuscaloosa’s ethnic heritage.   We will celebrate our seventh (7) anniversary in 2024, and we look forward to it being a special event.

In 2018, the festival was a three-day celebration promoting diversity and cultural sensitivity in film, music, and dance. The festival included the Africana Film Festival, featuring films sponsored by Afram South Inc. and Edward A. Ulzen Memorial Foundation.

In 2019, the festival was a two-day celebration starting on Friday, February 22, “A Night of Heritage and A Taste of Soul” consisted of performances by local students and a sampling of international cuisines. Then, on Saturday, February 23, we hosted “Honoring Our Trailblazers.  In this event, we honored our past and acknowledged our present leaders in the community, with a brunch featuring prominent speakers and entertainment from local colleges and high schools.

In 2020, the festival was a one-day celebration with “Elevation of Art.” This was an exhibition of art collections from Paul R Jones Museum, artifacts from Murphy Collins House and African American Museum, and a student art competition.

In 2021, the festival was a virtual one-day celebration titled “Tuscaloosa History, Learn It, Live It and Make It.”  The festival featured local and national entertainment in the areas of music, dance, and drama. In addition, the festival website provided an educational experience

In 2022, The Tuscaloosa Heritage Festival rebranded itself as WAMA Fest. The festival was an in-person event at the Dinah Washington Cultural Arts Center. WAMA curated a cultural celebration that features live music, dance, and showcases various cuisines from different cultures. We started a new partnership with Tuscaloosa Sister Cities. WAMA Fest celebrated Sister Cities Narashino Japan; Schorndorf, Germany; and Sunyani-Techiman, Ghana. The festival also saluted the Queen of Blues, Dinah Washington.  
In 2023, WAMA Fest was celebrated at the Tuscaloosa River Market. The festival featured live music, dance and cuisines from the cultures that were represented, including Africa, Germany, Hispanic/Latin, Japan and African American culture and history. Our organization continues the collaboration with the City of Tuscaloosa, Tuscaloosa Sister Cities, and Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Foundation. 
In 2024, we continue to collaborate with other organizations.  We will highlight the Native American cultural and partner with University of Alabama Moundville Archaeological Park.  WAMA will also collaborate with Tuscaloosa Latino Coalition to assist with telling the Hispanic and Latin culture.