New York's Afro-Latino Festival has started a crowdfunding campaign, and you should most definitely get your wallet out and donate to the cause right now. Organizers are hoping to raise enough to cover permits, insurance, and artist fees for the upcoming July celebration, a packed one-day party that celebrates the African diaspora across the Caribbean, Central, and South America.
2017 will mark the fifth year of the festival, and will start with panel discussions on social issues impacting the area's afro-latino community at the NYPL's Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem. Those talks, along with music performances scheduled later in the day at Restoration Plaza in Bed-Stuy, will be centered around the year's theme of Women of the Americas. In past years, the festival has put issues like U.S. immigration policy and the Black Lives Matter movement at the forefront of its messaging.
"This year we're celebrating women specifically and honoring their contributions to the afro-latino community," festival co-organizer Amilcar Priestley told Gothamist. "But we're also looking to broaden the conversation and talk not just about identity but also social awareness and political engagement—how culture can be used to both amplify, identity and engage people's social consciousness. It's important to discuss impactful issues, but at the same time it's important to give people the opportunity to let their hair down and have fun," Priestley said, adding, "The afro-latino community in New York is large, diverse, and active." Last year's festival drew attracted just under 5,000 attendees.
The Afro-Latino fest hopes to raise $30,000 through Kickstarter to ensure that the 2017 celebration is a success, and are offering a number of perks for donors including concert passes, posters, and guided tours of Afrodescendant sites in either Havana or Panama City. At press time, $2,495 has already been raised.
This year's musical lineup is made up predominantly of women and features Milly Quezada, Alison Hinds, Johnny Osbourne, Amara La Negra, Zuzuka Poderosa, DJ Bembona, Tygapaw, Carolina Camacho, Melvis Santa & Ashedi, Zena Carlota, and many more. Once the festival wraps, a string of after-parties will kick off and go late into the night.
The 2017 Afro-latino festival will take place Friday, July 7th in Harlem and Saturday, July 8th in Bed-Stuy. Donate and find more information here.