In an effort to show the vast cultural influence that has become known as the African Diaspora, Berry Lane Park will host the African Family Festival on Sept. 9 from noon to 7 p.m.
African Diaspora is the term commonly used to describe the mass dispersion of peoples from Africa during the Transatlantic Slave Trades, from the 1500s to the 1800s. This Diaspora took millions of people from Western and Central Africa to different regions throughout the Americas and the Caribbean.
In the Americas, the confluence of multiple ethnic groups from around the world created multi-ethnic societies. In Central and South America, most people are descended from European, indigenous American and African ancestry.
In contemporary times, studies on the African diaspora have shown an interest in the roles that blacks played in bringing about modern culture, as opposed to previous history that was Eurocentric.
Celebrations often recognized the contributions made by these diverse groups to a global history.
African diaspora populations include: African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Black Canadians, descendants of West African slaves brought to the United States and the Caribbean and South America during the Atlantic slave trade, plus later voluntary immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa and their descendants and others.
Historians recognize a strong cross-cultural influence in particular in regards to food, music, religious beliefs and other aspects derived from African, African American, Afro-Caribbean, and Afro-South American cultures in the Western Hemisphere. The diaspora reaches far beyond this part of the world, even into portions of Asia and Europe.
A peaceful vibe
The Jersey City African Cultural Arts Festival Celebrating the Diaspora will focus on the huge cultural influence and mingling of traditions including music, dance, food and other aspects that spread throughout the Western hemisphere.
Called a “Family Affair Honoring: Heritage thru Song, Music, Dance, & Children’s Activity,” the event will feature legendary Jazz-funk, R&B Band n Blackbyrds. Also performing will be Cocoamama (Latin Jazz Fusion Band); SpecKtrums Afrikans (Traditional) and Segunda Quimbamb (Folkloric)Dancers/Drummers); Maurice Chestnut (Tap) with: An Hour of Power – Inspiration.
Children’s activities include magic, songs/stories, drum circle, arts/crafts, special sostume heroes, bouncy bounce, face painting and more.
The event also will have an educational element that includes information sharing, as well as food and merchandise vendors.
“Bring lunch, blanket and chair or simply come and enjoy the readymade spirit and peaceful vibe,” said Daoud-David Williams, chairperson.
There will be an alternate rain site for main stage performances on the same date at The Factory at 451 Communipaw Ave. adjacent to Berry Lane Park.
Al Sullivan may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.