A New York City festival season would not be complete without the singular essence of the annual Afro-Latino Festival. In its fifth year running, the yearly extravaganza lit up the NYC weekend. Hosted at Bed-Stuy’s Restoration Plaza, this year’s Afro-Latino jamboree was dedicated to women of the diaspora.
The weekend program was jammed with talent seen throughout the AfroLatin Talks symposium, the Liberacion Film Festival and, of course, the outdoor concert series that had all of Brooklyn bumpin’ into the night. The AfroLatin Talks covered topics such as afrodescendant women and cultural heritage preservation, community economics, Black Lives Matter in Latin America and much more, while the film portion of the festival focused on Afrolatinidad throughout Brazil, Curacao, Honduras, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The concert series was the perfect cap to the spirited event, gaining support and engagement from many Afro-Latinos of the city and beyond. Repping their native homelands with soccer jerseys, dashikis, natural hairstyles and pure Afrodescendent swag, the audience in attendance found it hard to sit down with back-to-back performances from some of our culture’s most exciting talents.
Dominican royalty and four-time Grammy Award-winning Milly Quezada brought everyone to their feet with her set, moving the people like only La Reina del Merengue could. Calma Carmona transported the crowd to her native island of Puerto Rico with her signature mellow sounds, before setting the stage for the night’s headliner, Amara La Negra—who brought down the house and surged life into the finishing hours of the rousing evening, Saturday (July 8).
Brooklyn-based rapper and our favorite flower child, Nitty Scott, MC, also hit the stage early on with her diasporic magic. Her sophomore offering, Creature, hits descends July 21.
Vendors were stationed around the Restoration Plaza in Brooklyn, serving as a capsule to the finest mementos our culture has to offer, with vibrant colors and fine threads. The festival that was created to affirm, educate and celebrate blackness and its diaspora did that and more, bringing cultures together and life to the grandeur that is Afrolatindad. With a successful run at this year’s event, don’t be surprised if this two-day festival expands into a larger offering in the coming years.
That said: pa’lante!