this past weekend was spent in brooklyn attending danceafrica 2016 with my friend george. danceafrica is the nation's largest festival dedicated to african dance. the event brings together the diaspora through performance, art + film. to simply describe this event i would say it was blackity black and magical. from the vendors, to the foods to the outfits, my eyes could not stop wandering.
sounds of drums, reggae and afrobeats filled my ears, all merging to create the perfect tune for me to whine to. boy did i whine and 2 stepped and twirled and shoki'd all through the streets. but i was not the only one dancing. while walking, i bumped into an older black woman and man getting down to reggae. of course i joined in.
anakara, bògòlanfini, kente clothes all filled the tents. if you came with the intention to not spend, all of that was ruined once you laid eyes on all the beautiful items. i met vendors from tanzania, mali, senegal and nigeria. many of them selling items made in their country.
in addition to all of the vendors and food and music, my favorite part was connecting with some magical black folks. i saw people of all black identities. of all ages. there is something about being in a space with people who are able to be unapologetically black. unapologetically black in speech. in attire. in thought. even if for just a few hours, there was something safe about the space.
my sisters nonso + chi-chi of nkemlife were present and glowing as always. it's a black girl magic celebration every time we link!
i also reconnected with andre of the very black project! there's something so genuine and free about his energy!
after the bazaar outside, my friend george and i attended the show - senegal: doors of ancient futures. this year's show explored various dance styles from senegal. the show was wow. for me personally, it is not often that i see ballet dancing + modern dancing from the continent. seeing dancers who lived and studied in senegal grace the stage made my heart swell. i was thoroughly impressed that the organization made sure they got actual dancers from senegal rather than recreating senegalese dances. representation is so important.
overall, i enjoyed myself so much. as a writer and a curator of this website, i get inspiration from attending events such as danceafrica! i look forward to next year and more festivals this summer!