Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Festival of the New Black Imagination

What were you doing a couple Saturdays ago? Well, you should have been in Brooklyn, New York for the Festival of the New Black Imagination. It was an all day event that explored a futuristic mindset of the black community, including the culture, music, technology, and economic status.

My experience was somewhat equal to a family reunion or a barber salon talk on steroids. Everyone there conversed with each other as if they were kin. At a hall on Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus is where the day was spent. Ringshouts were thrown across the room, original stories heard, and imaginations were peaked. Imagining the Future, The Future of Progressive Culture In a Capitalist Economy, Shaolin Jazz and the 21st Century Remix are just a few names of the sessions at the festival.

Dj Reborn (photo by Ed Marshall Photography NYC)

A couple of my favorite highlights were the screening of a short film by A. Sayeeda Clarke entitled White. I don’t want to be a spoiler for you guys, so all I will say is the plot will shock you. A futuristic tale of a man who is forced to use the world’s new currency in order to save his family. Might I warn you, the new currency is nothing you have ever imagined! Another session was the Shaolin Jazz and the 21st Century Remix where the infusion of certain styles of music were discussed. Music is universal and no matter what culture you come from, there are always “mashups” and “remixes” to be made.

So, what’s a festival without the all the festivities? The day began in a university hall but it ended at a lounge in Dumbo, Brooklyn one of the hippest neighborhoods in NYC. The music of innovative music performers was the topic of this “discussion”; the discussion to party. The live raw sounds of afropunk, afro-beat, funk, soul, hip-hop, reggae, latin, electro and more filled the UnderWater Lounge till 3am the next day. Some artists that you missed out on were Imani Uzuri, No Surrender, Saidah Baba Talibah, Tamar Kali, and more. The night, well morning, could not have ended any better.

Saidah Baba Talibah (photo by Ed Marshall Photography NYC)

Well ladies and gents set your calendars for next year and make sure to catch the festival in 2012.

Here are some links to some of the artists music:

Tamar Kali

Imani Uzuri

No Surrender

Saidah Baba Talibah

- Melanie Chery
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