Actual Proof’s trumpet player, Tahree-Amir

Actual Proof’s trumpet player, Tahree-Amir, performs during the inaugural International Royal Music & Art Festival Sunday at the Beltway Regulators Barn at 636 Trammel Fresno Road in Fresno. (Photo by Stefan Modrich)

Near the intersection of Fort Bend, Harris and Brazoria Counties and less than 20 miles from downtown Houston is a place that feels a world away. 

Last Saturday and Sunday, the Beltway Regulators Barn at 636 Trammel Fresno Road in Fresno played host to the inaugural International Royal Music & Art Festival. 

I made the trip down to the festival on Sunday to see how the vision of Queen Cora Coleman, a Houston native who has served as the drummer for both Prince and Beyoncé, had come to fruition in the form of this event. 

The festival included a diverse range of musicians and artists, a fashion show and various local Black-owned food trucks and vendors. It also featured outdoor games and activities for kids and families, including horse riding hosted by the Beltway Regulators Club.

Last Saturday and Sunday, the Beltway Regulators Barn at 636 Trammel Fresno Road in Fresno played host to the inaugural International Royal Music & Art Festival. 

The lineup was a talented roster of bands and solo artists, with genres ranging from modern jazz to R&B, funk, and soul, with Se7en the Poet, Latin band Blue Tortuga, Actual Proof and William X taking the stage.

The Queen Cora Orchestra and Chanté Moore performed for the event’s grand finale. 

The lineup was a talented roster of bands and solo artists, with genres ranging from modern jazz to R&B, funk, and soul, with Se7en the Poet, Latin band Blue Tortuga, Actual Proof and William X taking the stage.

Actual Proof’s trumpet player, Tahree-Amir, stole the show with his improvisational flair and a sense of swagger he exuded with every note. He explained to me that the band’s namesake is a tribute to a 1974 song from legendary jazz pianist Herbie Hancock, which contains a fast-paced, driving beat and meandering melodies that left many in the crowd hanging on every note.

Of all the pleasant and unexpected experiences I had at the International Royal Music & Art Festival, perhaps the most gratifying was a visit with Pearland resident Spelvin Cooper, 65, the president of the Beltway Regulators Club and owner of the 32-acre property on which we were standing.

He said his phone had been ringing “off the chain” all day with friends and family in anticipation of Moore and the Queen Cora Orchestra taking the stage later that evening.  

He said he and his staff welcomed the opportunity to educate visitors, especially children, of all backgrounds about horse riding. But it is even more important for him to pass along the traditions and customs of Black cowboys and cowgirls to future generations, like his granddaughter, 6. 

He said his group is one of 16 others like his across the Houston region that belong to the Southwest Trailriders Association (SWTRA), which has a mission to “perpetuate the heritage of the Black cowboy and cowgirl” and “maintain the interest of horse lovers (and) promote goodwill (and) camaraderie” according to its website. 

“We have a great time out here,” Cooper said. “But we’ve got to bring those youngsters up there, because we’re getting up there (in age) and they’ve got to be able to carry it on.”

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