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Rudder, Merle among speakers at month-long online Black Consciousness Festival

“[…] Joining the conversations will be New Management – Paramin Blue Devils; members of the world-famous Brazilian Afro-Blocos Olodum and Ilê Aiye; calypso icon David Michael Rudder; award-winning multimedia journalist Dash Harris Machado; author, activist and scholar Merle Hodge; Pan-Africanist organizer Khafra Kambon; and US celebrity food entrepreneur Shannon Allen.

“The programme include workshops in African Talking drum, Dance of the Orixas and traditional foods. There will be an art market and networking nights for service providers and entrepreneurs…”

The following is a press release on the Black Consciousness Festival, which starts on 1 November:

Photo: Iconic Trinidad and Tobago artiste David Rudder.

African-heritage people from around the world and allies will join in an online festival from November 1, led by a team based in Trinidad and Tobago.

Current events prove that people of African descent feel each other’s pain and share each other’s hopes. These and other experiences and knowledge will be celebrated and discussed in the inaugural Black Consciousness Festival: Pride. Power. Practice.

The online festival, centred around ‘20 conversations for 2020’ and cultural activities is planned to take place from 1—30 November 2020.

The festival has its roots in the commemoration of Black Consciousness Day (O Dia da Consciência Negra), which is celebrated annually in Brazil on 20 November since 2003. The Brazilian Studies Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at the UWI, St Augustine, began hosting events for students a few years ago to honour the day.

However, according to the event’s website: ‘2020 has been a special year, leading to the culmination of many social, cultural, and political events worldwide, underscored by the Covid-19 pandemic. This perfect storm created the conditions for the emergence of this online festival’.

Photo: A man pays tribute to George Floyd, who was killed by police officer Derek Chauvin on 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis.

Participants from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Brazil, the USA, Guyana, Haiti, Nigeria, Panama, Cuba, the UK and Zimbabwe are among those scheduled to be part of the month-long celebration and introspection.

Twenty conversations will be at the heart of the festival.

Joining the conversations will be New Management – Paramin Blue Devils; members of the world-famous Brazilian Afro-Blocos Olodum and Ilê Aiye; calypso icon David Michael Rudder; award-winning multimedia journalist Dash Harris Machado; author, activist and scholar Merle Hodge; Pan-Africanist organiser Khafra Kambon; and US celebrity food entrepreneur Shannon Allen.

The programme include workshops in African Talking drum, Dance of the Orixas and traditional foods. There will be an art market and networking nights for service providers and entrepreneurs.

Registration for the festival is free and open to all. Its organisational team is led by Festival Director Erica Ashton, and includes youth activist Nadella Oya (Creative Strategy and Programming Director), Heather McIntosh-Simon (Partnership and Sponsorship Director), and Sean Samad (Content and Communications Director).

The festival will be streamed across all major platforms online.

Photo: Barataria Anglican School students perform in A Alma Brasileira, staged in 2018 by the Brazilian Studies Section of the Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics at the UWI, St Augustine, to mark Black Consciousness Day (O Dia da Consciência Negra), which is celebrated annually in Brazil on November 20.
Photo courtesy Rapso Imaging Ltd/ Black Consciousness Festival: Pride, Power, Practice.

Editor’s Note: For further information, check theblackconsciousnessfestival.com on info@theblackconsciousnessfestival.com.

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