*Long Beach, CA – What a time! What a time! What a time! This is a common saying amongst people after attending a fun and exciting event.
These words ring true about the recent Afro-Latinx Festival at the Museum of Latin American Art, Sunday, February 23, 2020, 11:00am-5:00pm.
Organizers couldn’t have asked for a better day for the 2020 Afro-Latinx Festival. Spring-like weather was the order of the day.
A large enthusiastic, energetic and ethnically diverse crowd converged at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach.
“We are proud to host a festival that is rooted in embracing diversity and celebrates the connection of culture, community, and people.” Lourdes I. Ramos-Rivas, Ph.D., President & CEO of MOLAA, said in a statement.
MOLAA’s Afro-Latinx Festival celebrated cultural diversity and African influence in Latin America. Attendees were thoroughly engaged throughout the day as they learned about the various ways in which the African influence has permeated Latin America by witnessing and experiencing firsthand through music, dance, food and even martial arts.
The day-long program featured a mixture of customs from African and Mestizo peoples in Latin America through art workshops, face paintings, live musical performances and more.
DJ Zuri Aida has been a DJ for about 4 years. She has quickly established a name for herself in the industry as she played an upbeat soundtrack of tropical rhythms in MOLAA’s Viva Events Center.
Solimar Salas, Vice President of Museum Content & Programming and Ariana Rizo, Creative Education Intern hosted the 2020 Afro-Latinx Festival at MOLAA.
The live entertainment segment kicked off (pun intended) with Brazilian martial arts demonstration by ABADA Capoeira Orange County. ABADA Capoeira Orange County is led by Jackson Ferreira “Mosquito.” Capoeira is a way of practicing different defensive and offensive martial techniques with music, singing and dance.
El Tropi Corillo de Los Angeles honors their lineage to the Taino people. The crowd and I were thrilled as Tropi Corillo entertained us with a fusion of sounds Cumbia from Colombia, Bomba from Puerto Rico and other infectious rhythms from other regions of Taino America.
Awahaya Punta Rockers lived up to its name. they rocked MOLAA’s Sculpture Garden with an electrifying set of punta that left the crowd requesting more. Erica Zuniga of the Garifuna American Heritage Foundation United led the crowd in salsa lessons.
GliFoS is Los Angeles meets Inland Empire Music Project based in Pomona, California. The group describes their sound as Vodou Funk. They performed a high-octane set of Afro-Funk, Afro-Beat heavily doused in Soul.
MOLAA partnered with local community organizations including the Long Beach Public Library, the African American Culture Center of Long Beach, and Colour Bloc Creative for inter-active, engaging workshops and activities for the entire family. The program consisted of Cuentos y Cantos: A Bilingual Spanish Storytime, a panel discussion: Visioning the African American Culture Center, and community zine workshops. Artists led art workshops featured making Venezuelan Dancing Devil Masks, Colombia Molas, and more. Visitors were in for a real treat with a buffet of Afro-Latinx inspired food and beverages that available for purchase from participating vendors including The Triple Threat Truck serving Puerto Rican street food, the Tropic Truck serving Caribbean classics, Mikhuna: Authentic Peruvian cuisine, Tender Grill: Gourmet Brazilian Kitchen, El Cielito Café, Fresca Fruit Juices, Leti’s vegan Pop-up and Border X Brewery. Artisan vendors were also on site to showcase their unique creative products for purchase.
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) is the only Museum in the United States fully dedicated to modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art.
MOLAA is located at 628 Alamitos Avenue in Long Beach. Visit MOLAA’s website at www.molaa.org or call (562) 437-1689 when you are ready to plan your visit.
Rick Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]