Inaugural Honeyland Festival to celebrate Houston’s Black culinary culture

Artists like Bun B, Kelis and Mary J. Blige will be featured as performers or cooking up courses of their own.

By Leah Scarpelli & Raul AlonzoNovember 10, 2023 12:37 pm, , , ,

This weekend kicks off the inaugural Honeyland Festival taking place in Houston and Sugar Land. The event is a celebration of Black southern culture, and organizer and vice president of Arts and Entertainment for IMG Events, Staci Hallmon, said the event was aimed at broadening and diversifying her initiative’s audience base.

“When you think about honey, it is both sweet and delicious, but it’s also a salve. And we think about this audience and the community and the historical legacy of culinary with this audience,” Hallmon said. “We understand that there is so much joy and so much sweetness in the storytelling, but there is also some medicine that we’re, you know, putting in the dessert, if you will.

And we thought about all of the promises and the triumphs of this audience. And we know that it felt like a reminder, if you will, of this land of milk and honey. So, we imagined a world that we felt like didn’t exist that was full of celebration, full of sweetness, full of joy and a reminder of that legacy and how much we have really, really overcome.”

While Hallmon says the event targets a Black audience, everyone is welcomed to come out and have fun.

“You know, one of the things that the pandemic taught us most, especially in the experiential space is if you build something that is experiential, engaging and unique, everyone will come,” Hallmon said. “We welcome everyone and I think that’s just the way that we’ve been communicating it from the beginning is, you know, all are welcome into the celebration of this rich culture.”

Courtesy of IMG

An array of vendors looks to highlight the culinary experience of the Honeyland Festival. Attendees will be able to sample fare from such notables as Houston rap legend Bun B’s Trill Burgers to dishes prepared by the likes of R&B artist Kelis, who is cooking up a four-course meal on Saturday.

But it’s also the musical performances that Hallmon is excited to feature, including Mary J. Blige and rising Houston star Tobe Nwigwe, who will be hosting an environment called “Mintopia” at the festival.

“It’s hard to pick one thing, two things or three things. Like I’m literally, I’m here for it all,” Hallmon said.

Houston culture will be on full display for Honeyland, with Hallmon saying such all-stars as Scarface, Slim Thug, Paul Wall, Z-Ro and Lil’ Keke will be featured. Highlighting the city was a major goal of Hallmon.

“Houston was so intentional for us in developing a destination for a Honeyland,” Hallmon said. “One, it’s one of the top five culinary destinations in the country. There are a significant number of black-owned restaurants and black-owned food experiences there across the board. And we’re working with so many of them.”

And secondly, it’s the diversity of the city that organizers sought to celebrate.

“So, we’re celebrating all of that as a part of this experience and really bringing it to the center and making it an important part of the narrative of how culturally rich and diverse this area is and why it’s the perfect destination for us to mount our inaugural Honeyland experience,” Hallmon said.

Honeyland Festival is this Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 11 and 12 in Sugar Land, Texas, Crown Festival Park.

If you found the reporting above valuable, please consider making a donation to support it here. Your gift helps pay for everything you find on and Thanks for donating today.