African Arts and Fashion on Display in DC

May 26, 2016 § 4 Comments

AA Fashion Showcase_

AAFWDC Founder Uche Ibezue (l) with Maria, makeup artist.

When Uche Ibezue of Omak Designs started African Arts and Fashion Week DC, her idea was not simply to bring attention to the nation’s capital as a fashion force. Grabbing the attention of the fashion market, both national and global, was an abiding aspiration. Last week, the third annual AAFWDC featured a panel discussion and fashion showcase, and many of the burning issues regarding African fashion were raised.

A few years ago it was nice to see a number of celebrities wearing African print designs to red carpet events worldwide. Famous names like Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Solange Knowles and her sister Beyonce, Angela Simmons, and even Gwen Stefani were all spotted in gowns and complete sets that were made from African prints like Ankara and Kente. The popularity of those designs has since trickled down to the young ones, the rebellious youth that are always finding innovative ways of expressing themselves. In that vein, a young lady “broke the internet” when she created a stunningly beautiful African print gown, posted it on Instagram, and « 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 »

Loide: Cool Notes From an Afrolusophone Chanteuse

August 16, 2011 § 3 Comments

Loide belts out Afrolusophone jazz at Bohemian Caverns

When I think of Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde I invariably
think of Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Machel and Amilcar Cabral. Phrases like  A luta continua, and the heat of the revolutionary struggles in Portuguese controlled Africa come to mind. But on a late July night at the Bohemian Caverns in Washington, DC the cool, jazzy sounds of Loide’s music turned them into places of love and longing as she transported us back to where her roots lie. Loide was born in France with both Mozambican and Guinea-Bissau heritage, and then raised in California. That rich, diverse background filters through her music; she sings in Portuguese and English with influences ranging from Sarah Vaughn and Miriam Makeba, to Sade and Cesaria Evora. On that night in July it « Read the rest of this entry »

Shattering The Silence: Benefit for the 1st World Summit of African Descendants

July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

At the start of the year, the United Nations pronounced 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent. In recognition of the resilience and power of African Descendants all over the world, the US International Coordinating Committee for the 1st World Summit of African Descendants is holding a benefit concert Friday July 15 at Bloombars in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC. This concert aims to raise funds for those who cannot afford the cost of travel to La Ceiba, Honduras where the summit will be held from August 18-21 2011. Some of the artists performing will be DC Casineros, a duo from African diaspora group Sahel, DC Mambo, and Vicky Leyva. Afro-Cuban painter Lazaro Batista will also showcase his art. Bloombars is at 3222 11th Street NW. The show starts at 9:00pm. Check out a quick preview above featuring DC Mambo, Lazaro Batista and Adrian Valdivia from DC Casineros. For more information check out the summit website here. Bless…

The West Indies and West Africa converge for Africa Underground 2

June 6, 2011 § Leave a comment

Moko Jumbie

I can’t really see myself missing After Hours at African Art, when the Smithsonian opens the doors of its museum after hours to revelers who can dance, eat, drink, party, and enjoy the breathtaking exhibitions there. After being away from the country for a couple of months, I returned just in time to attend the second edition of Africa Underground. For the hugely successful first installment at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC in February, the organizers took us down south for a Brazilian samba-flavored showcase of art, music and culture. This time (the party was on May 20) the serving was distinctly West Indian in its character, yet an equally joyous and colorful exposé of the connection between the Caribbean and West Africa. The sold out event featured live music out on the grounds, and on the inside a DJ, poetry and spoken word, arts and crafts, and a talk on the West Indian/West African connection. I arrived a bit late, unfortunately, and missed a great performance in the garden by the moko jumbies (stilt walkers). But right after that Papa Wabe,
« Read the rest of this entry »

Ziggy Marley’s New Superhero: Marijuana Man

April 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ziggy Marley

It was all it took for the bloggers at Boomshots to ask Ziggy Marley in a video interview: were you smoking something? Ziggy Marley, son of reggae icon Bob Marley, has been a proud advocate for the legalization of marijuana, and April 20th was no different. On a day of tribute to weed, marijuana, ganja, or however you prefer to refer to that controversial plant, Ziggy Marley’s new comic book was released in stores. And that book features a new superhero: Marijuana Man, who comes from another planet to help save the world through the power of Ganja. The new comic book superhero gains his powers through the plant, but « Read the rest of this entry »

Tim Reid Offers Scholarships to Diaspora Filmmakers in London

March 31, 2011 § 2 Comments

Tim Reid addresses filmmakers at the British Film Institute Southbank in London

It certainly feels like an age since I posted here; my apologies. Travel sometimes does that to you. I spent a few days in the UK on my way to Sierra Leone, and as you may know, the internet in Freetown is pretty patchy…. In any case I was invited to a great event by my friend Makeda in London just before I left. It was an event organized by the Black World Cinema Collective and the Legacy Media Institute. Producer, filmmaker and actor Tim Reid, popularly known for his role in the TV series Frank’s Place, was talking extensively about the African Diaspora. Delivering a presentation entitled “Cultural Propaganda for Purpose and Profit,” he asserted that emerging black filmmakers have the advantage of a unique cultural experience in telling their own stories. Reid was at the British « Read the rest of this entry »

British Reggae Loses A Legend: RIP Smiley Culture

March 15, 2011 § 3 Comments

Smiley Culture

His most popular track remains one of my favorite records of all time. British Reggae Artist Smiley Culture bolted into the UK Top Twenty Charts with “Police Officer” back in 1984, and by some cruel ironic twist has now been pronounced dead after an incident with British Police. The Independent Police Complaints Commission are proclaiming his passing “death following Police contact,” although the police are saying they believe he stabbed himself after they raided his home in Surrey around 7 am this morning, March 15. Smiley’s real name was David Emmanuel, and his first hit was “Cockney Translation.” You can read this article for more information. Truly a sad loss for all reggae fans, especially followers of British reggae. Bless…

The song that did it for me: "Police Officer"

Interview with AFROCUBA’s DJ Asho

March 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

On the first anniversary of AFROCUBA, DJ Asho sat down with Afrofusion to talk about how he developed the idea for the event, and how far it has come since the first edition. On Thursday February 10 at Sutra Lounge in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood, the event kicked off with a screening of the classic documentary Cuando Los Espiritus Bailan Mambo (When the Spirits Dance Mambo), by Marta Morena Vega. The night also included a live (and lively), very « Read the rest of this entry »

Namibian Feature Film Selected for FESPACO and LA’s Panafrican Film Festival

February 19, 2011 § 5 Comments

Joel Haikali, Director of "My Father's Son"

Joel Haikali, Namibian actor and director, already scored a first for his nation when his film My Father’s Son became the first Namibian film to get a distribution deal. Joel was last seen onscreen with Danny Glover and Carl Lumbly in Charles Burnett‘s epic film Namibia, in which he played the young Sam Nujoma. Now he’s on the brink of his own success as a director, with his feature one of many new African films in competition at the Pan African Film Festival – or FESPACO – that kicks off in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso February 26, and runs until March 5. My Father’s Son was also an official selection of the 2011 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles, California, one of the biggest film festivals in the world. FESPACO is Africa’s largest film festival, and occurs every two years. It tells the story of two brothers, one living in a village and another living the city life in the capital Windhoek, who returns with his “colored” wife after 21 years to “rescue” his « Read the rest of this entry »

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