Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, owner of Royal Studios, accepts Larry Walker’s 2018 Africa in April Cultural Awareness Festival Inc. photograph, which reflects this year’s honored country, Equatorial Guinea, during the International Entrepreneurs Luncheon at the Holiday Inn-University of Memphis on Wednesday. Mitchell was named Executive of the Year. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley)

For more than three decades, the Africa in April International Festival has entertained, educated and kept its revelers engaged in multicultural celebrations of African countries.

Meaningful bonds have been nurtured between Memphis and the African continent because of the authentic enactments of dance, song, culinary art, aesthetic creations and all of the uniquely-styled traditions of a particular country.

Thousands of people, both local and foreign, have joined in the annual pilgrimage for the exuberant, unique experience that is Africa in April.

“David and I are very proud of the fact that Africa in April International Festival is number six in the world among African-American festivals,” said Yvonne Acey, the founding partner in the husband-and-wife team. “We are recognizing this year the tiny, African country of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, with an area of only 11,000 square miles.”

The festivities kicked off Wednesday with a luncheon for International Entrepreneur’s Day. Honorary chairpersons for the event were Commissioner Kevin Triplett of the Tennessee Tourism Development Office and Joann L. Massey, director of business development and compliance as well as Title VI coordinator for the City of Memphis.

The 2018 Executive of the Year and luncheon honoree was Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, CEO of Royal Studios and son of music-producing icon and Memphian, Willie Mitchell.

“We are so proud of all that Lawrence has done for Memphis,” said Acey. “His wonderful sounds of music and sounds of Memphis continue our unparalleled legacy of producing world-class music of many genres.”

Thursday is the unveiling reception for the International Poster, created this year by Memphis artist Larry Walker, and will be hosted at the National Civil Rights Museum.

And, of course, the food, amusement and other activities will take place in the historic Robert Church Park in downtown Memphis.

“The significance of our location each year is that it is named for the black millionaire who saved Memphis,” said Acey. “It is meaningful to the festival and the heritage of our people here in this city.”