Columbia Star

Columbia’s musical lineage on display at the 39th Annual Jubilee: Festival of Black History and Culture



Unknown to some, South Carolina has one of the most diverse music scenes in the South with the Capital City being a hotbed for musical talent. If you attend a music festival or venue in Columbia, you’ll be welcomed by a full spectrum of genres and musicians, influenced ( whether they know it or not) by the city’s legends—the late John Blackwell and Skipp Pearson. Historic Columbia, an organization dedicated to preserving Columbia’s history, is hoping to introduce this vibrant music scene to many and educate the public about Columbia’s musical heritage.

On September 16, this rich musical history comes together as Historic Columbia presents the 39th annual Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture. This year’s festival pays homage to Midlands natives, Blackwell and Pearson, by showcasing Cheri Maree, an international recording artist influenced and inspired by both.

Known in the industry as The Love Goddess, Cheri Maree has shared the stage with Grammy winners including Patti Labelle, Hootie and the Blowfish and Brian McNight. Maree’s smooth, yet powerful approach to jazz attracts followers worldwide. “Cheri Maree’s songs have a message that comes from a real place,” says Mo Pleasure, renowned producer and multi-instrumentalist for the iconic Bette Midler.



There is a special connection between Columbia and Cheri Maree, as she spent her early years here, testing her vocal chords. During this time, she developed close personal relationships with both Blackwell and Pearson. Both artists influenced Maree’s style, and it is apparent in her powerful vocal range embracing jazz, rock, soul, and gospel.

“She doesn’t fit a mold, but brings her own style…” the late John Blackwell shared, “Cheri’s always had a great stage presence and a phenomenal voice. I know she’s doing it up.”

Blackwell played drums alongside legendary artists such as Prince and Justin Timberlake and knew that Maree would join the ranks of a headlining act.

The 39th annual Jubilee: Festival of Black History & Culture will also feature other genres ranging from R&B to gospel with performances by Spiritual Gumbo, the Jubilee Choirs, Benedict College Concert Choir, Maci Brown, TiffanyJ, Promise Hugee, SaLil Wynette, Zachary Sanders, LaSell Williams, Rhythm of the Ancestors and DJ Prince Ice.

This free festival attracts attendees from all over the region and boosts much more than music. From 11 a.m. to 6 p. m. on Saturday, September 16, the grounds of the Mann-Simmons Site will be packed with artisans, performers, storytellers and food, art and gift vendors, all celebrating African American history and culture in the Midlands. Plus, there will be a variety of hands-on kid’s activities. It’s an event that guests of all ages and backgrounds are sure to enjoy.

With events and tours year-round, Historic Columbia, an organization leading the way for local preservation and community efforts, makes our community one you’ll want to explore again and again. Visit for more information.

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