Researcher Asheda Dwyer On Chile, Garvey and Rastafari.

July 17, 2017 § 2 Comments

One of the benefits of attending an event like the AfroLatiino Festival in New York City is the cultural learning experience. In 2015 Afrofusion TV got a new lesson on Garifuna communities in the African Diaspora. This time around we ran into a young researcher, Asheda Dwyer, who let us in on the work she’s doing on Garvey, Chile and Rastafari, and the afrodescendant communities that are still fighting for recognition there. Turns out that Chile has one of the fastest growing Rastafari populations in the world. Dwyer, who is based in Toronto, Canada, is intent on exploring and doing further research on the roots of the Pan-African movement happening in Chile. The northern port city of Arica, the area in Chile with the greatest number of African descendants, had around 8,500 Afro-Chileans at last count by the National Institute of Statistics (INE). However, « Read the rest of this entry »

Filmmaker Karen Marks Mafundikwa on her Reparations film, The Price of Memory

October 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

Interview with filmmaker Karen Marks Mafundikwa from Afrofusion TV on Vimeo.

Karen Marks Mafundikwa responds during a Q&A after the screening of her film "The Price of Memory."

Karen Marks Mafundikwa responds during a Q&A at the ADIFF after the screening of her film “The Price of Memory.”

Afrofusion TV caught up with New York-based Jamaican filmmaker Karen Marks Mafundikwa after her film The Price of Memory screened at the African Diaspora International Film Festival in Washington, DC. in August. The documentary is the first to deal with the issue of reparations in Jamaica, and it had already screened at the Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival and other festivals around North America. We wanted to talk to Ms Mafundikwa about what led her to pursue this topic on film, an issue regarded by many in the west as sensitive and controversial. You can find the full interview on our website; here is a condensed version that you can also watch on our Facebook and Twitter pages. The Price of Memory will be screened at Boston University Art Galleries, next Tues. Oct 4. The filmmaker will be in attendance. Let us know in the comments what you think once you watch the interview: what are your feelings about African descendants receiving reparatory justice? Bless…

Examining the Intricacies of Afro-Latino Identity

July 6, 2015 § Leave a comment

Milena Carranza, Dash Harris and Gabriela Watson in discussion at Intersections of Afrolatinidad

Milena Carranza, Dash Harris and Gabriela Watson in discussion at Intersections of Afrolatinidad in Focus

Across cultures, darker people suffer most. Why?” That question, displayed on one of Andre 3000’s costumes from the Outkast Tour, may well have been tugging at the United Nations when they declared 2015-2024 the International Decade for People of African Descent. The resolution pledged that it would work harder to fully recognize the contributions of people of African descent to global society, to encourage and promote inclusiveness, and to vigorously combat racism, racial discrimination, and xenophobia. As Afrofusion TV prepared a segment on Afro-Latinos as part of our African Diaspora series, we found that this group has had varied success in fighting some of the battles outlined in the UN resolution. Less than 4% of the more than 10 million enslaved Africans ended up in North America; the vast majority was brought to the Caribbean and Brazil. The study of Afro descendants in the Americas, their culture, and their struggle with identity led us to the work « Read the rest of this entry »

Donisha Prendergast on the Occupy Pinnacle Movement

May 30, 2014 § 4 Comments

Donisha Prendergast speaks at a screening of the documentary "RasTa: A Soul's Journey" at the Roots Public Charter School

Donisha Prendergast speaks after a screening of the documentary “RasTa: A Soul’s Journey” at the Roots Public Charter School

At the Roots Public Charter School in Northwest Washington, DC late last month, Donisha Prendergast was talking passionately about a growing movement in Jamaica that has become central to her activism efforts. The occasion was really a screening of the film, RasTa: A Soul’s Journey, in which she seeks out the truth about the history of Rastafarians and their influence throughout the world. But amidst the colorful red, gold and green hats and scarves, and the Ethiopian and Jamaican foods on display at Roots, was an awareness that something serious is happening that needs the attention of all conscious people. And so Donisha, who happens to be the granddaughter of Rita and Bob Marley, spent a chunk of time talking about what is going on in Pinnacle; indeed, she has become one of the faces of the Occupy Pinnacle movement, an effort to reclaim hundreds of acres of land in the hills of « Read the rest of this entry »

Director of Ethiopian Indie Difret on his Award-Winning Film

April 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari introduces his film "Difret" at the AFI Silver Theatre

Zeresenay Berhane Mehari introduces his film “Difret” at the AFI Silver Theatre

It’s hard to imagine how one could see Difret, the independent film by Ethiopian filmmaker Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, and not want to do something about the issue of violence against women and girls. That is how I felt after the award-winning film screened last month at AFI Silver Theatre as part of TransAfrica Forum’s New African Films Festival. And clearly that was part of the director’s intent. Difret recounts a landmark 1996 case in Ethiopia where a lawyer, Meaza Ashenafi, already a fearless advocate for women, takes up the defense of a young teen girl, Hirut Assefa, who has killed the man who abducted her. The practice of abducting young girls into marriage had been a tradition in Ethiopia for centuries, and Hirut’s reaction gets her condemned to death, prompting Ms. Ashenafi to become embroiled in an impassioned battle to save her life. Standing up to entrenched customs and beliefs is a courageous tack if you’re an African « Read the rest of this entry »

African Elections on Film

March 14, 2012 § Leave a comment

Why is President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf still the only female head of state in the whole of Africa? The answer to that question stumps Sengbe Kona Khasu director of the documentary No More Selections, We Want Elections. His film featured recently at the AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland, as part of the New African Films Festival, sponsored by TransAfrica Forum and Afrikafe. That’s where Afrofusion caught up with Khasu and his father James E. Roberts, co-Executive Producer of the documentary.  The film chronicles the events leading up the momentous election of Johnson Sirleaf in 2005 but, that historic win notwithstanding, the filmmakers tried to focus the narrative on the process rather than on any one particular candidate. Indeed, most of the people interviewed in the film characterized the runoff election between Sirleaf and former football (soccer) star George Oppong Weah as one between political experience and immaturity. More important for them, and especially the filmmakers, was for Liberia to be able to come together after years of civil strife and hold peaceful, legitimate democratic elections, the first since the military coup of 1980. Still, according to Roberts, Liberia has a legacy of firsts in Africa that sometimes goes unacknowledged. He is proud not only of the film, but of the Liberian people’s resolve in sticking to the democratic process.  « Read the rest of this entry »

Doing Justice to a Monumental Figure: The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment


It was on the day the earth shook up much of the east coast of the United States that Afrofusion ventured out to the National Mall to see this great monument to freedom, peace and justice. Fearing that it had been closed, as had other monuments and federal buildings, we nevertheless braved the beast that was DC traffic to get a glimpse. And it was open! This was DC day, set aside by the monument foundation for residents of Washington and its suburbs to get a chance to enjoy the memorial before its day of dedication. Unfortunately that day of dedication has been postponed, due to the threat of Hurricane Irene, to an as yet undetermined day in the next couple of months. And just like the « Read the rest of this entry »

Reggae Britannia – BBC4 Doc Celebrates Reggae’s Influence on British Music and Culture | i-reggae

February 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

It’s quite simply the story of black music in the 20th century, isn’t it? A music style is created and developed. It is ridiculed, ignored and rejected by the industry’s white establishment. It grows in popularity. It is embraced by rebellious white youth. It is co-opted by white musicians. Booyah! It’s suddenly “great sounding music, let’s play some records, shall we?” If you watch the new BBC4 documentary Reggae Britannia, you’ll find that that’s essentially what happened in the UK with the music from Jamaica called reggae. “We completely plundered reggae, without remorse,” admits Stewart Copeland of British rock band The Police, who came to prominence in the mid-70s. But in the 1960s, reggae artists and performers had the darndest time getting any pay for their records, and definitely no play on the radio. “A lot of the deejays had a snobbery towards Jamaican music, and sometimes it bordered on racialism,” says author Steve « Read the rest of this entry »

Algeria’s “Outside the Law” is Oscar Nominee for Best Foreign Language Film

February 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Roschdy Zem and Sami Bouajila as brothers in the Algerian film "Outside the Law"

Movie poster for "Outside the Law"

The protests that greeted Rachid Bouchareb’s film Outside the Law at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival in France were certainly not on the size or scale of those that have now run Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak out of his country. This film deals with a different revolution: the fight for Algeria’s independence from France. But as far as revolutions go, whether violent or non-violent, you can be sure that any protagonist explaining the struggle would point to “a cause higher than ourselves.” And that’s just what Abdelkadder (actor Sami Bouajila), a radical intellectual, does in one of the film’s scenes. He, his two brothers, and their mother have been viciously uprooted from their homeland by the French, and find their once divergent lives « Read the rest of this entry »

“The Greatest Black Man Who Ever Walked the African Continent”

January 17, 2011 § Leave a comment

Patrice Lumumba (AP Photo)

Today, the 17th day of January 2011, the United States honors the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a public and federal holiday. Sadly, this day is also the 50th Anniversary of the brutal murder of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the Congo. He once wrote: “Freedom is the ideal for which throughout history… throughout centuries, men have fought and died.” Sounds like something Dr. King would have said. Regardless, both men joined the fight, for which they both ended up assassinated. Lumumba has since become a symbol of Pan-African liberation, and a martyr in the eyes of many in the African Diaspora. Patrice Lumumba’s meteoric rise to prominence was the result of his almost uncanny ability to unite people. He had the kind of charisma and a powerful, persuasive oratorical skill that made his people rise above tribal differences and embrace the Congolese nationalism that his own party stood for. But for the Belgians – who had been in control of the Congo since the 1870s – « Read the rest of this entry »

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