This year’s 44th Annual African Arts Festival enjoyed mostly favorable weather and a robust crowd over the course of three days as festival goers from across the greater Brooklyn metropolitan area to enjoy the beautiful sights, sounds and positive atmosphere that personified the entire weekend.
In addition to traditional and culturally relevant garb, dance and jewelry, attendees enjoyed music from across the African Diaspora’s creative spectrum as Living Colour, Norman Connors (You Are My Starship), and BK’s own Talib Kweli graced the stage. The C’Orte D Ivoire-based dance group, Mamadou Dahoue and the Ancestral Messengers wowed the audience as well and Ayanna Gregory, daughter of famed author Dick Gregory, returned to show love as well.
The Bambara Dance and Drum Ensemble; and the George Gray Jazz Coalition, the Michael Jazz Trio, and the Ifetayo Youth Ensemble each were in prize form as well. The 5 dollar admission was well worth the price.
The festival also featured a martial arts demonstration a daily children’s program, the African Majesty Fashion Show, a chess tournament, a youth natural hair parade, a barber competition,
The Commodore Barry Park location was ideal. The International African Arts Festival (IAAF) began in 1971 as a fundraiser for the Uhuru Sasa School, a community-based initiative that educated youth and adults about African culture.
Past performers include The Mighty Sparrow, Fela Kuti, Hugh Masakela, KRS-1, Doug E. Fresh, Third World, Erykah Badu, India Arie, Ms. Lauryn Hill, and many other. Check out the video of this year’s happenings.