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Updated: Nov 29, 2023

Alumni of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have never been celebrated like the FABA (for Alumni, by Alumni) festival celebrated them in Barbados over Juneteenth weekend. A true festival experience, FABA Fest is all about connecting HBCU alumni and allies in a space that doesn’t just welcome you but celebrates everything that is great about you.

The inaugural FABA Fest was held in Barbados, and let me tell you, the organizers had eeeeeeverything covered. From special discount rates for attendees at local hotels to a full schedule over 4 days, everything was mapped out before we even got on the plane to Grantley Adams International. From the moment we landed, things were slick. We were off the plane and out of the airport with our personal greeting party in just 45 minutes, and when we arrived at our accommodation, the impeccable Hilton Barbados, we were met with Rum Punch and epic views from the balcony of our suite. FABA Fest was already de-live-ring, big time.

You know your girl is VIP allllll the way, so the first stop was the VIP Welcome Toast. Hosted by Trudiann Branker, an HBCU alum and the first ever female Mount Gay Rum Master Blender, this was the perfect way to kick off the weekend. The limited edition rum was divine, and Mount Gay rum always makes me happy, so the vibe was high from the moment we arrived.

Once we toasted the start of FABA Fest, we got the partayyyy started in style at the Copacabana Beach Club. Homecoming in Barbados with a Bajan vibe had your girl going alllll night, with live performances, DJs, cocktails, and so many beautiful black HBCU alumni showing Barbados how it’s done. This event was more than just a party. It was a celebration of Black excellence, with a special appearance from DJ Trauma bringing the hot beats. The Homecoming event was an excellent way to meet other alumni and allies, and was a whole lot of fun, rum, and dancing til the early hours.

Day two started with Rise and Lime, an event hosted by Stade Rum. This VIP event was a chance to relax and enjoy the company of the other attendees in a stunning location, with the Barbadian coastline, delicious Caribbean delicacies, and a morning cocktail to start the day off right.

FABA Fest is definitely a marathon, not a sprint. After a quick shower and change back at the hotel, the afternoon was all about the pool party vibes. Hosted at Deia Beach, this pool party was a celebration of the Divine 9, and with a sponsor like Bajan 1966 Rum, you know you’re in for a great time. With freshly rolled Cuban cigars, rum cocktails everywhere, hammocks hung for a chill time, and a pool just begging to be danced at, the Pool Party was the perfect way to spend a gorgeous Barbadian afternoon.

To finish Day 2, the HBCU FABA Fest crew took over the Friday night tradition in Barbados of Oistin’s Fish Fry. This is an event that happens every Friday night here, but the HBCU twist on it turned it up a few notches for sure! This event is definitely full of street vibes, with a chance to taste incredible food, immerse yourself in the local culture, and move your body to the sounds while you watch the live performances. A fabulous way to close off a long day!

FABA Fest in Barbados would not be complete without some time on the water and Battle of the Boats delivered for your girl. Food, fun, plenty of drinks, and the party vibes all combined with a boat sailing on the beautiful Caribbean waters, makes this event a sure win. In fact, the party was so good that it became the main event, but for those ready to kick on til the early hours, the Island Tailgate event was the place to be! Your girl needed her rest, though, cos the boat ride home was lit! Back to the hotel for sleep before Day 4 gets going.

With a Bold Black Excellence vibe, the Brunch Finale was the perfect way to cap off a celebration of melanated magnificence. With delicious food from some of the best local chefs, cocktails flowing, and beats pumping, this all day party felt like the best kind of homecoming. Hosted at Sweetfield Manor, this was the last chance to make connections before everyone headed back to their respective lives, but before doing so, your girl needed some chill time!

After the formalities ended, it was time for a little more sun, some relaxation on the beach, and a sneaky night out on the town before leaving. Spending the last few hours in Barbados with some dope new connections was a fab way to finish up four days of fun, even with an early flight in the morning! This inaugural event was such a trip, you can be sure that when FABA Fest returns, this girl will be there for the ride. FABA Fest, you were FAB-U-LOUSSSS.


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