01/24/2012 03:57 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2012

Meet Me at The Blackhouse: Where the "Soul" of Sundance Resides

"The Sundance experience is not complete without visiting The Blackhouse." - Producer, Tilane Jones

Tilane's sentiment was one that I have heard over and over again, throughout the festival. I heard about The Blackhouse before I arrived at Sundance, so it was with great anticipation that I visited their spot soon after my arrival. A prime destination for African Americans who attend the festival, The Blackhouse venue quickly became a favorite place for me to recharge after a busy day, get a bite to eat and, of course, meet new people. Conveniently located on the Main St. (which also happens to be the festival's main corridor), The Blackhouse is open all day and hosts workshops, a nightly cocktail hour, and a party or two or three, throughout the first week of Sundance. The venue is part of a larger initiative created the Blackhouse Foundation and designed to provide a support base for African Americans who attend Sundance, as well as several other high profile film events throughout the year.

After a breakfast run at The Blackhouse, I meet up with some friends to attend a special Q&A at the Cinema Café Filmmaker Lounge with rapper, turned actor Ice T., who was in town to promote his documentary, Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap. Always one of my favorite rappers, Ice-T was not only entertaining, but shared with the crowd some refreshing tidbits of old school wisdom about his journey to the top of the entertainment game. Although he did raised a few eyebrows with the suggestion that his wife, Coco would be reprising the role of Foxy Brown in a remake of that black film classic, dude is so cool that we can forgive him for one transgression.

In addition to screenings and panels, the other thing that Sundance offers is lots and lots of parties. The late night revelry usually kicks off around midnight and goes the whole night long. One party at the LIVEstyle Film Lounge, was DJ'd by Questlove. The packed house drew the likes of Estelle, Beby Smith, Anthony Mackie, Dennis Haysbert, Brandon T. Jackson, Megan Goode and numerous others who partied almost till the sun came up.

It was a great way to end the day!

Next Up: Exclusive Sundance sidebars with director Spike Lee, producer Datari Turner and supermodel Beverly Johnson.