Dreamfest 2023 Merged Milwaukee and Madison to Highlight Black Art, Culture, and Music

300 Attendees for First Year

Martinez White created the idea for The Next 400: Dreamfest Music, Art + Culture in 2021 to inspire the Black community to think about our future. White said the Black community has the power to control our next 400 years in a positive way and it all starts with dreaming, which leads to creativity.

Dreamfest is all about promoting Black excellence and highlighting the culture. The inaugural DreamFest 2023 was held in Madison and brought in over 300 attendees. As a Milwaukee native now living in Madison, White felt a need to merge the cultures. White is an MPS alumnus and graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dreamfest 2023.
Dreamfest 2023. (Picture by )Hedi Lamarr

“We have this opportunity as young people to create a whole new Black Wall Street, Black wealth.”

– Martinez White

White’s company Intuition Productions – a millennial entertainment and event production business – hosted the event.

Festival-goers enjoyed a plethora of entertainment, including kids playing the violin, people on stilts, face painting, bouncy houses, food, and much more. White has been DJing for 17 years and, according to his numbers, he has DJed for over 500,000 people, so he knows what it takes to create a fun atmosphere.

R&B singer Sammie also made an appearance.

“[Dreamfest] was really an investment of thought,” White said.

A Dreamer and Man of the Community

White is a creative known for his DJing, community work, financial literacy teachings, and youth empowerment. He gets his creative side from his late father O.C. White who was a civil rights leader and one of Milwaukee’s first Black DJs. O.C. is also featured on a few Milwaukee murals due to his impact on the city.

Inspired by Black television shows like The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Living Single, White knew he could do more in life and that meant heading to college. At just 16 years old he became a first-generation college student.

Martinez White and his family.
Martinez White and his family. (Picture by Hedi Lamarr)

He says it’s all about manifestation and dreaming nonstop. He wants to teach community kids that they already have the tools they need to create the businesses and lives they want to live.

“We are naturally creative,” White said about the Black community but added that it’s up to us to discover our own dreams.

In addition to his other titles, White is a husband, father, and author. White released his debut self-help book, “Think Like a DJ: 7 Steps To Spin Poverty Into Prosperity” in 2020.

When it comes to Dreamfest, White had a goal of raising funds to support Black mothers and Black babies. Although he didn’t reach his desired amount, White is excited to keep the fest going while helping his community at the same time.

The Power of Black Collaboration

Dreamfest was a collective effort and an example of what can happen when multiple parties team up. White said the community can push the culture forward over the next 400 years through collective thought and action.

“Black excellence is awareness,” he said,”…we have to get through the glass wall of collaborating well.”

Stay Connected

To follow Dreamfest’s journey, click here.

Nyesha Stone founded Carvd N Stone in 2017 to cover positive news while attending the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Stone has a B.A. in Journalism. She has raised over $30,000 to award grants and scholarships. She has also been featured in ESSENCE and worked with the American Black Film Festival.

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