I attended the International African Arts Festival (IAAF) over the weekend, from Saturday, July 1st through Tuesday, July 4th, 2023. It was, as always, a professionally organized gathering of masses of people. The IAAF has come a long way. I remember when it was the African Street Festival which encompassed one short street years ago. The created genius of Jitu Weusi and a host of others expanded it to what it is today and eternal credit to those who carried on after Jitu made his transition.
It is an exciting, joyful, self-affirming African greatness all around. What appears to be acres
which constitute the Commodore Barry Park there was the presence of African creative genius,
color, rhythm, fragrance and sound. Just a feeling of being where you belong.
There was a variety of food from Africa to the Caribbean, African American Soul food,
vegetarian and vegan.
There was artwork including paintings, and children's face painting etc. There were tables of informational material. I had a table of my books next to Sekou Odinga and Sundiata Acoli, two freed political prisoners.
I had just received, from the Publisher, my two books in time for the IAAF and I want to thank my publishers for this effort. The books include: The Legacy of Arthur Miller-The Movement 45 Years Later; and 52 Weekly Biblical Reflections on the Mastery of Life. This book is part of a trilogy, the trilogy includes 365 Daily Prayers (via Facebook); 52 Practices for the Mastery of Life (via YouTube); and now 52 Weekly Biblical Reflections on the Mastery of Life. My next book will be my Reflections during the Pandemic 2020-2021. The Legacy of Arthur Miller and the 52 Weekly Reflections books are presently on Amazon.
The rain came in torrential downpours however it did not completely stop the activities of the IAAF. When the rain stopped, we started again. It reminded me of our struggle for freedom. Sometimes the storms of racism and injustice may cause us to stop or slow down our advances, but never quitting or giving up, not even the thought of surrender.
If you have never been to the IAAF you should make it an undying promise to yourself to be present next year. That is if you want to be around people of African Ancestry. It is, as I have stated, a special feeling being with your people, demonstrating their beauty, genius and camaraderie. I have never heard of a violent incident at the IAAF. We could spend the day reflecting on what that means when people of African Ancestry are truly being and doing who
we are - there is no violence.
Why then does this violence come when we are in diverse communities? What makes this gathering of people of African Ancestry super special is that we are now living in the time of pervasive gentrification. We are so mixed up in our togetherness and neighborhoods, that it seemed to reinforce our mixed up values and identities. But in the viewing, just us, is something special, something beyond description. People greeting each other, smiling, embracing, laughing, conversing, (chopping it up, I just learned that expression’s meaning for conversing), dancing, having fun, expressing appreciation for our dress down -lots of color and creativity.
Now, don't misunderstand me, I like all cultures. I have been blessed to travel widely across the
world. I admire and appreciate and have participated in some of the cultures I've seen. I'm reminded of a saying, “If two people agree on everything, one of the persons becomes unnecessary”. If we were the same all over the world there would be only a need for one culture. Thank God there is variety, and all cultures have value. It is when one group of people attempts to make their culture superior to all other cultures, that becomes a problem. That has been the
characteristic of Euro Ethnic people. Perhaps because they were/are among the world’s minority
population. They have felt an imperative to subject other people to subservience or enslavement.
Hence instead of enjoying and appreciating other cultures they have destroyed, distorted, stolen
or marginalized other people and their culture. In dominating and conquering the peoples of the
world they have forced their culture upon the rest of the world. After I traveled the world, I found it amazing how the peoples of the world have accepted Euro Ethnic superiority and culture.
There are six books and one booklet that I feel should be in everybody's library, especially people of African Ancestry:
1. The Destruction of Black Civilization - Chancellor Williams, Author
2. Stolen Legacy – George G.M. James, Author
3. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa – Dr. Walter Rodney, Author
4. The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality - Cheikh Anta Diop
5. The Bible - if you're a Christian if not whatever Holy book of your faith assuming that
there are the highest values governing the human family.
6. My Beloved Community – Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, Author
The booklet is entitled From Magnificence to Wretchedness - Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry, Author
I wish to God that the gathering of the people at the International African Arts Festival could be
duplicated wherever people of African Ancestry gather by themselves or with others. O Lord,
hasten the day when we will live together and celebrate all cultures. Let us remember the words: of Dr. king Jr. If only we could live, respect and admire each other as a human family
we should all live together as brothers (and sisters) or die together as fools. What a wonderful
world this would be.