HAPPENING: The World Festival of Black Arts & Culture

P roviding some exciting momentum to the African Renaissance. m4s0n501

#WishIWasThereNow

Okay, I’m a little bummed that the family and I aren’t spending the holidays in Dakar, Senegal.  I mean, how hot would that be?  And then to be able to attend this festival, only the third of its kind?  Wow.  I just learned about this from our friends over at Society HAE, who have a correspondent there.  So, we’ll all have to live vicariously through Raquel Wilson’s dispatches, which I will post here as they’re available.

It’s a multidisciplinary event that features a broad range of art, including architecture, dance, theater, literature, visual arts, etc.  The music program features artists such as Manu Dibango, Archie Shepp, Youssou Ndour, Angelique Kidjo, Somi, The Refugee  All Stars, Akon, and a ton more from across the diaspora.

In the meantime, here’s some background on the festival:

In 2010, the focus of the world will be Africa. At the heart of sporting news with the recent Football World Cup, the continent is also celebrating fifty years of independence of French-speaking Africa. It is in this context that we present the third World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures, an international event which has been entrusted by the African Union to his Excellency Abdoulaye Wade, President of the Republic of Senegal.

Initiated by President Léopold Sédar Senghor, the first edition of the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures was held in Dakar in 1966. The first Festival brought together people from all generations and disciplines in order to make the rest of the world aware of the struggle and persistence of Black peoples in the face of colonization. In 1977, Nigeria hosted the second edition.

The 2010 Festival conveys a new vision of Africa as free, proud, creative and optimistic. With Brazil as the guest of honour, which is a country rich with artistic cross-pollination and cultural diversity, the Festival will emphasize dialogue between peoples and cultures.

Access to the Festival will be free in order to encourage people from all over to participate, and many of the educational activities will be focused on engaging children.

We all have a duty as sons, daughters and friends of Africa to do everything we can to make this unique event a resounding success, an experience that will ignite the African Renaissance.

Love the part about it being “an experience that will ignite the African Renaissance.”  That’s a win in any book!

World Festival of Black Arts and Culture Promo v. 2 from BKFN.org on Vimeo.

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  • Marque Gilmore

    Greetings from tha’ DRUM, Y’Allz…. Well, I WAS there in Dakar to play at this festival with Cuban pianist OMAR SOSA – honoured to be invited and involved, BUT…. it was a very disappointing scenario some days before the travel dates. Without going into too much detail and no desire to bring any bad vibes on the original intent of the organizers and on Senegal’s commitment to Black Arts & Culture – the organization of the festival was a disaster! Apparently, the chief of the fest was arrested for fraud and the huge village that was built for the artists was left abandoned and unused for over two years from the start of its construction. There was absolutely NO INFORMATION ABOUT WHO WAS PERFORMING WHEN or WHERE!!!!! There were huge posters and ads about the festival but no details. The fest was FREE TO THE PUBLIC, but THE PUBLIC HAD NO INFO on where to go and when to see who they might have wanted to see, or even know who they have never seen before!!!!!

    The stage I played on ended up having 5 bands as opposed to 3, that”s too much music in one night and the dwindling crowd spoke volumes, so no matter how dope the music was, people can only take so much! So many groups never made it to the fest because of last minute travel confirmations, often provided on the day of travel or day before.

    ***** Anyway, I say all this to let people know that this festival SHOULD CONTINUE and anyone with the desire and necessary organizational skills should make themselves available so that the real plan can finally take place. Of course, the music that was played was spectacular and I was blessed to be there alongside the great Senegalese singer MOLA SYLLA. He was especially proud to have this favourite collaborators in his home town, but was also dismayed by the lack of proper organization…. So, to any of the festival people who may read this, my Love and Respect is with you and I certainly hope to participate again. Whatever I can do to improve the scenario WILL BE DONE!!!!! Afreeeeeeeka 100% – Next time, no problem!

    Peace,

    Marque Gilmore

    • http://boldaslove.us Rob Fields

      Marque:

      Thanks for your comments. I think it’s important to bring constructive criticism to the table, which is exactly what you’ve done. Hopefully, there will be some learnings from this event that will be shared and incorporated into the next iteration. I certainly hope that the organizers grasp and appreciate the huge opportunity that they have before them.

      Best to you, and happy new year!