You can't tell the story of Latin America without telling the story of Africa. There's no such thing as a "Latinx" without the Africanx. Africa is in our music, in our food, in our words and in our blood. And yet, somehow, the Afro-Latino experience is constantly ignored by the media and by the history books. The Afro-Latino Festival of New York City aims to shine a light on that unique and complicated experience in the form of a 3 day celebration.
The Festival was founded by Mai-Elka Prado, an Afro Latina singer/photographer/artist etc. etc. etc. (she does it all) from Panamá. It consists of educational conferences, culinary presentations and artistic performances that aim to "Affirm, Educate & Celebrate". Day one began with a gala out in Harlem headlined by the talented Cuban songstress Danay Suarez and her band, who performed a really dope, intimate, groovy set. There were some educational conferences during day two, which culminated with a Que Bajo?! party at The Wick in Brooklyn with a special performance by Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto, straight out of Colombia. These dudes absolutely slayed, and it was awesome to see their music transcend generations, as there were 60-year-olds dancing as much as there were 21-year-olds dancing. The Sunday all-day event took place at the Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn, and it featured vendors, a domino tournament, impromptu backstage jam sessions and a concert headlined by Cultura Profética, from Puerto Rico. Among the other bands that performed were Les Nubians, Kafu Banton, Los Hacheros & CaribeFunk.
I had the opportunity to photograph the celebration earlier this year. Check out some of the pictures: