INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Black Expo has canceled its Summer Celebration, which would have marked the event’s 50th anniversary, due to the coronavirus, organizers announced on Thursday.
All public events, including the free concerts, luncheons, 50th Anniversary Gala, and the Circle City Classic game and parade, are canceled.
Some of the artists set to perform at the 2020 Summer Celebration were announced in February. The lineup set to perform at American Legion Mall were some of the most legendary names of Soul and R&B, including Keith Sweat, Stephanie Mills, Johnny Gill, and El Debarge.
New: Leader of Indiana Black Expo talked about the cancellation of Summer Celebration concerts & Luncheon and the Circle City Classic game & parade due to COVID-19. Business and education conferences will continue virtually. @rtv6 @INBlackExpoInc pic.twitter.com/h32CT1tnk1
— Rafael Sánchez (@RafaelOnTV) April 23, 2020
Organizers say they are still hoping to hold some of their education and business conferences in a virtual format.
Both the Circle City Classic parade and the football game between two historically black colleges and universities is canceled for the year.
IBE hopes to mark its 50th anniversary next year.
Information about refunds for purchased tickets can be found on the Summer Celebration website.
Read IBE's announcement, in part, here:
Over the last 30 days, IBE’s leadership has been monitoring the impact of COVID-19 across the country and within our city and state. We have kept abreast of information and data provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) and Marion County Health Department (MCHD).
Advancing our mission - being a voice and vehicle for the social and economic advancement of the African-American community over the last 50 years - includes our responsibility to protect the health and safety of those who attend our traditional community engagement programs and events. Under the current pandemic circumstances and with the concurrence of our Board of Directors, we are cancelling all IBE events that invite physical public gatherings in 2020.
While the current opinions of the health experts are that the virus is expected to peak in Indiana (as well as other states) by early May, followed by an anticipated trend of decreasing pandemic-related hospitalizations and deaths, there are other troubling health risk factors that must be considered as well. Despite the encouraging forecasts, we find ourselves no closer to a vaccine, we continue to be challenged by insufficient testing nationwide, and there are still many unknowns about the virus.
Even more alarming is the impact of COVID-19 within the African American population nationwide. We are suffering disproportionately.