At a time where Latinos and Afro-descendants seek spaces that empower and elevate our communities, the Afro-Latino Festival of New York stands out as one of those alternative spaces you immediately love once you learn of it. Don’t believe me? Ask Junot Díaz, who recently said, “I got to make it down for this one; this line-up is fire.” And it is.
With a pretty hefty mandate to affirm, educate, and celebrate, the Festival is at once fun and quite serious about representin’ for Afro-latinos throughout the Americas. Starting today, July 8th, and well through the weekend, you can expect to enjoy panels, documentary screenings, key-note speakers and flavorful music and food.
Today, the Festival kicks off at Harlem’s Schomburg Center, named after the Puerto Rican Arturo Schomburg who was also a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. This year, AfroLatin Talks has been transformed into a full day of roundtable discussions and speeches with renowned panelists and keynote speakers on various issues affecting Afrolatinos in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean. Think Ahmed Reid Springer, a member of the UN Working Group for the International Decade of Afrodescendants, Open Society Foundation and the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum, and WOLA.
The talks are followed by the NYC premiere of the documentary Nana Dijo: Irresolute Radiography of Black Consciousness, which challenges the myth of racial democracy in Latin America that has gravely contributed to silencing the Afrolatino community. Then, let the serious knowledge sink in as the Festival takes over several spaces across the city (at Schomburg, SOBs, and Cmon Everybody). Key artists at these venues include Afrodisiaco, Colombian powerhouse El Caribe Funk; and Brazilian Carioca Bass Funk performer Zuzuka Poderosa, among others.
P’erate que no se acaba. Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th all roads lead to Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy Restoration Plaza with many local and global talented performers, like /the/ Tito Puente Jr., the Afro-Panamanian group Los Rakas, the Seattle based funkeiro band Sango, R&B darlings Nina Sky; Garifuna music legend Aurelio Martinez and Maluca, underground music queen Princess Nokia, and many more.
If you are looking for a place to shake the week off and celebrate Afro-latinidad, check out More than just a festival, the Afrolatino Festival is a space for Afrodescendants and their allies to assert, celebrate, and authentically embrace a beautifully complex identity. Tickets start at $18 for Friday’s concert and $30 for the other days. Two-day passes for Saturday and Sunday are also available. The full program and ticket sales can be found at www.afrolatinofestnyc.com