Just at the foothills of the Rockies, 30 miles northwest of the state capitol, is a little mountain town of 107,125 people called Boulder, CO. Nothing much happens there if you disregard the second-largest 10k race in the US or the fifth-largest road race in the world or the PAC 10 Competition by way of the CU Buffs or The Lovely Liberal Dance Party. But, above all, there is one thing the people of Boulder know how to do: celebrate the cultures of the world. The city is home to the Boulder Balkan Bash, the Scandi Dance and Music Weekend, Boulder Israeli Dance, and Flamenco Boulder—plus a whole lot more. The diversity in Boulder is mind-boggling: Germans, Brits, Aussies, Poles, Spaniards from Spain, Italians from Italy, Jewish people who were actually born in Israel. Each of these ethnic groups has its own celebration, and each is embraced by the greater Boulder population—all of which makes for a hearty international flavor.
Yet “something is missing,” said Kenneth Flowe, event coordinator and founder of the newly forged Boulder Speaker’s Bureau: “Where are all the African Americans?”
Flowe continued: “I like to joke that my wife and I are the only married African American couple living in the city of Boulder. I like to tell area residents that, and then watch them run through their Rolodex of African Americans they know living in Boulder. It tends to take 3 to 5 full minutes before they inevitably say, ‘Well, I’ll be damned!’ Of course, there is one other couple living in North Boulder, but I’ll never tell them that. Many of the residents eventually admit that Boulder is Embarrassingly White. That’s why I started my event.” Moments later, during our interview at The Cup, a local community coffee shop in Boulder, Flowe clarified: “I wanted to add to the diversity of the city’s cultural celebrations.” Flowe was talking about an annual event he launched in 2018: The Martin Luther King Day Talent Showcase of Boulder.
The name is a mouthful, he admitted. “People have suggested that I cut it down to ‘The MLK Talent Showcase.’” But although he had to relent for the purposes of his website URL, Flowe is stubborn about retaining the event’s full name. “The name of the show suggests that we are here,” he quipped. Kenneth Flowe tends to infuse humor into his most serious points.
“The fact that Martin Luther King Jr. stood for us all, and the fact that Boulder is home to so many ethnic groups and yet there is a void in African American representation in the community, tells me this event needs to be called The Martin Luther King Day Talent Showcase of Boulder. This way, people will know we are here, we honor our heroes, and we are part of the community.”
Kenneth Flowe is an Alumni of Savannah State University Class of 1989 and current resident of Boulder, CO. In 1987 Flowe hosted the first Orange Crush Beach Party in his roll of Vice President of SGA along with Ifikan Simon who was at that time the President of Student Government. He can be reached at Kenneth@BoulderSpeakers.Com or