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AfroPunk Johannesburg puts the city on the map of global black culture

First headlining act Solange canceled her performance, inciting a social-media backlash. Then summer rain muddied the day and sent festivalgoers rushing for shelter. Yet AfroPunk Johannesburg pressed on, proving that it was more than a concert and now something closer to a movement, determined to include its new African followers. Over Dec. 30-31, AfroPunk’s inaugural festival in Johannesburg celebrated alternative Africa—and introduced the city to a global black culture. New fans. (EPA-EFE/Cornell Tukiri)Johannesburg is the fifth city to host AfroPunk, after Paris, London, Atlanta and its home base of New York. It was the first time the festival came to Africa, where a nascent alternative culture has created a digital community easily recognizable by an embrace of a form of Afro-Futurism. “The move to Johannesburg is a natural fit in line with AfroPunk’s desire to make connections throughout the diaspora, creating bonds between those with a shared mindset,” organizers said in a statem..

3 Hairstylists On Braids, Cultural Appropriation and Media's Erasure of Black Women

"When other cultures are respected and acknowledged for their traditions and we aren't, it becomes a deeper issue that needs to be spoken about."Bantu knots. Cornrows. Box braids. Whatever you've known them as, the vast family of braided hairstyles has been around far longer than beauty trends, hashtags and Kardashians. For some of us, braids bring back nostalgic memories of intimacy, family and self-identity through artistic expression. However, over the past few years, traditionally Black, braided hairstyles — specifically on other races — have hit a mainstream nerve, evoking an uncomfortable, ever-present question for those both within and outside the African Diaspora: Is this cultural appropriation? While the conversation isn't an easy one to have, it is necessary given the media's all-too-often problematic regard for (or neglect of) Black hair. "Braids started in Africa and can be traced back to Egypt as far as 3500 BC. Braiding is also a way to maintain our h..

A sound Trump policy on Africa could protect US interests

Despite President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimonySkier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at OlympicsPoll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with RussiaMORE’s acknowledgment that the “United States faces an extraordinarily dangerous world,” his regional strategy toward Africa is too weak to advance American interests on the continent. Most high-level leaders who attended the recent Atlantic Dialogues in Morocco agree that geopolitical and economic competition from China, Russia, India, France, and the United Kingdom threaten America’s national interests and soft power in Africa. Trump's national security strategy commits to protect the homeland, promote American prosperity, preserve peace through strength and advance American influence with the return of principle realism. But its priority actions are not strong enough to realistically counter global competitio..

What Kwanzaa means for black Americans

(The Conversation is an independent and nonprofit source of news, analysis and commentary from academic experts.) Frank Dobson, Vanderbilt University (THE CONVERSATION) On Dec. 26, millions throughout the world’s African community will start weeklong celebrations of Kwanzaa. There will be daily ceremonies with food, decorations and other cultural objects, such as the kinara, which holds seven candles. At many Kwanzaa ceremonies, there is also African drumming and dancing. It is a time of communal self-affirmation – when famous black heroes and heroines, as well as late family members – are celebrated. As a scholar who has written about racially motivated violence against blacks, directed black cultural centers on college campuses and sponsored numerous Kwanzaa celebrations, I understand the importance of this holiday. For the African-American community, Kwanzaa is not just any “black holiday.” It is a recognition that knowledge of black history is worthwhile. Maulana Karenga, a no..

Trump's vulgar remark on Haiti, Africa leaves immigrants baffled

After President Donald Trump asked why the United States would want people from "shithole countries," referring to Haiti and those in Africa, Judelande Calix of Maryland had a query of her own. "My question is, why not?" said Calix, who is in her mid-30s and came to the United States from Haiti in the late 1990s. Calix went to college; her husband Marc, also from Haiti, is a neurophysiologist, and "countless" other people they know are immigrants who are contributing to this country, she said Thursday in a phone interview. The White House did not deny Trump's choice of language. His comment also referred to the Central American country of El Salvador, the Washington Post reported. "I don't know how else to describe those words except being racist and ... to betray the complete ignorance of history," Arturo Viscarra, 38, a U.S. citizen who came to the United States from El Salvador when he was 4 years old and who is director of organizing and policy at the Central Amer..

Candle-lit Kwanzaa gathering celebrates African-American culture, unity

Tiny tea light candles illuminated the steps of the Mims House on Wednesday night in observation of Kwanzaa. The weeklong holiday — from Dec. 26 through Jan 1. — celebrates African-American family, community and culture. Its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa. Each day of Kwanzaa focuses on one of seven principles known as Nguzo Saba. Wednesday’s focus was the second principle, Kujichagulia, a Swahili word for self-determination. Eric Richardson, president of the local NAACP chapter, said at the gathering that Kwanzaa is a celebration created in the 1960s, when African-Americans were trying to “recognize themselves, find dignity and connect with Africa proper.” “Tonight’s message is about self-determination and always pushing forward,” Richardson said. “There are people of color all over the world who don’t have what we have, so we must keep pushing. There are historical examples of that, too; of people like Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who powered t..

5 things to know about Kwanzaa

Just like Hanukkah and Christmas, Kwanzaa takes place during the month of December, specifically from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1. Also like Christmas and Hanukkah, Kwanzaa has a large and devoted following. Here are five things that you should know about the upcoming holiday: 1. It is a fairly new holiday Dating back to only the 1960s, Kwanzaa is a fairly new holiday. While it may not have a long tenure like Hanukkah or Christmas, the time period in which it was created is significant–– Kwanzaa emerged during a time of black empowerment in a racially-charged America. Associate professor of employment law and legal studies Dawn D. Bennett-Alexander said that she feels that the creation of Kwanzaa was a search for African Americans to create something that was their own at a time when they were not included in much. “We began to see all sorts of manifestations of rejection and a search to create our own version of things,” Bennett-Alexander said. “From clothes to cooking, from curriculum to celeb..

Afro Prints Etal …

Ensuring that every woman is not just noticed, but is remembered, is the tag line for the African inspired EtAl Clothing store. Located at Shop 6 on 9-11 Phoenix Avenue, Kingston 5, the afrocentric boutique is the brainchild of Nigerian-based, Jamaican and New York attorney, Deean Fontaine. The inception of EtAl began with a passion for art and the quest for embodying African culture and beauty. Fontaine was inspired by the clothing, jewellery, and art that she encountered on her travels throughout Africa. "People are fascinated by African culture. I would handpick these items and take them back," said Fontaine.The store itself has evolved from a mobile jewellery business to a fully functioning store that was later housed in Ms Fontaine's home basement. As the interest in the concept progressed, Fontaine was inspired to expand her offerings to include clothing made from modern styles using African print, as well as African art. EtAl's clothing line is inspired by a desire to ..

Helping to smooth the path from Africa to college

Matheos Mesfin traveled to the United States in 2007, coming from Ethiopia to reunite with his mother, who had lived here for some time. He enrolled in a Washington, D.C., public school, an educational transition that was a real culture shock. It was a school with a metal detector, something he hadn’t encountered in his homeland. “It was a time where I had to sort of navigate by myself, find my niche, get involved,” he said. That led to a nomination for a scholarship, which led to Grinnell College, a liberal arts school in Iowa. It was an unfamiliar place. He met a hipster there, he said, a dude who had “said no to shoes.” So, that was a shock, too. “Academically, it was one of the most intense places I’ve ever been,” he said. “It was just full of erudites, full of intellect. So I had a lot of catching up to do.” All of this is to say that the 25-year-old Mesfin gets it. He knows how it feels to be a young student in an immigrant family, trying to wade through the American higher educa..

African food: A gastronomic trend, AfroPunk Johannesburg [This is Culture]

In this week’s culture segment we take a look at African gastronomy and the AfroPunk festival. African cuisine has grown from home favourites to a culinary delight worldwide, thanks to the African chefs determined to highlight traditional spices and taste. Meanwhile, The first AfroPunk festival was recently held in the continent. AfroPunk’s inaugural festival in Johannesburg celebrated alternative Africa and introduced the city to a global black culture. Let's block ads! (Why?)

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