Steenz Stewart 32, skating her way around the rink during the 5th Annual Cultural Kickback Festival in Loretta Hall Park in the city's Carr Square neighborhood. Photo by Wiley Price I St. Louis American

Steenz Stewart, 32, skates her way around the rink during the 5th Annual Cultural Kickback Festival in Loretta Hall Park in the city’s Carr Square neighborhood.

For the Culture STL’s 5th Annual Culture Kickback Fest at Loretta Hall Park on Sunday August 13, 2023, shared the same festive air as the Woodstock Festival held in upstate New York exactly 54 years earlier.

The events refused to let rain dampen the enthusiasm of attendees, artists, and entertainers nor douse the energy that a shared community can produce.

“Even in the rain, people stayed out there with us,” said For the Culture STL founder Ohun Ashe on the organization’s Facebook page.

“It taught me and affirmed to me that these spaces and these moments matter. We hope people found something beautiful because we certainly did.

“First and foremost, thank you to the community for showing up and showing out with us.” has multiple features including links to an apparel page, an events calendar, a listing of Black-owned businesses and more.

The business directory includes categories such as food, health, art, apparel, education, legal services, beauty, media outlets, and event planning.

 “We promised this would be a celebration of Black culture, Black folks, Black businesses, and out things. It was just that,” Ashe said of the Kickback Fest.

“This took community. This was for the community, by the community. And when I say, ‘we had a time,’ y’all we had a time.”

Ashe created the website on April 1, 2018, following protests after former St. Louis Police Officer was found not guilty by a judge after he killed a Black motorist he had pursued. She helped organize protests, then joined other leaders in search of other paths to spark social change.

In a 2020 interview with the St. Louis American, Ashe said, “I found myself in this weird position: what is my role outside of protests to help uplift the community?”

“One of the things that I have always been super genuine and super passionate about was uplifting Black businesses, letting folks in the community know what events that were going on that were tailored to the Black community.”

Along with the website, she helped create the Culture Kickback Fest, which has now finished its fifth year and has always been free. It was coined as the “biggest, family reunion styled kickback in St. Louis” and it continues to live up to its billing.

More than 70 vendors were on the scene, and free food and beverages were provided. Games including chess were played throughout the afternoon as DJS and entertainers performed. There was a therapy panel, yoga sessions, and a skate party hosted by WeSkateClipz was rolling on at the park’s outdoor rink.

Raquel Gant said the Kickback Fest “was everything.”

“My heart was so at peace. Watching people dance in the rain gave me life! I can’t wait until next year.”

Ashe said, “It’s a mission of For the Culture to ensure we know that we matter; that we have spaces that we can feel free and liberated and [the event] was a beautiful showcase of just that.”

“We do this to give Black folks a quality experience and to [let us] know that our culture matters here too.”

For additional information of For the Culture STL, visit

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