By, Ascellia Arenas
Saturday night I attended the inaugural event for AFRIKIN, a cultural festival held in Little Haiti, Miami to embrace the artistic, economic, political progression, and communities from across the diaspora. I was expecting dashikis, incense, oils, cultural food, and the like. To my pleasant surprise I was right! I encountered that plus so much more. The Rockers Movement described AFRIKIN as follows: “Afrikin Fest is an African inspired food and music festival aimed to attract the best chefs, rum connoisseurs, musical and fine artists from around the world to the infamous cultural hub of Miami, Florida. Miami will be completely transformed through fascinating sights, smells, and sounds during this weekend celebration. – See more at: Rockers Movement
This first installment was co-hosted by author and activist, Julie Mansfield, a sexual abuse survivor, who champions women’s rights and cultural education surrounding the impact that molestation, rape, and abuse has on women and their families, worldwide. The #charity benefitting from the event is the #nonprofit organization, “Give Me Dignity,” to raise awareness and prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA). Mansfield encouraged the crowd to raise additional funds to end sexual abuse and child molestation.
#Presentations were given by: Dr. Carole Boyce-Davies (Education), Dr. Lanalee Sam (Health), Artiste Philippe Dodard (Art), and Umi Selah (Activism). The cultural #PERFORMANCES by artists such as: Vaughn “Akae Beka” Benjamin, Tambor feat. DJ Stan Zeff, Kevens (unplugged), Moonchild, Equalizer Sound Selector Iscious, P.E.A.C.E and Anita Will, made the crowd feel the mystic vibration of Mother Africa, speaking a language we all understand, which is #love.
Visual #ART by, Philippe Dodard, The Ebohon Collection Benin City, Nigeria, Turgo Bastien, Gregory Vorbe, flashed on the walls as digital projections. Performances in #DANCE by #SASA African Dance Theater
#SPOKENWORD #poetry by, Aja Monet, and Give Me Dignity and #POETRY by, Mecca Grimo, and Bongo Bluez.
Community economic empowerment #AWARD was presented to Chef Creole #owner, Wilkinson Ken Sejour.
Economic empowerment was embraced through vendors of #AFRICANEATS by, Native African Cuisine and Lovely Roots Gourmet. I was pleased to meet and have a wonderful conversation with Mohammad Sene who performed #AFRICANDRUMS all evening. Sene is from Senegal and teaches African Drums, here in Miami.
My favorite perfomance of the night had to be the soothing melodies emanating from Rastafarian legend, Vaughn “Akae Beka” Benjamin. His enchanting tone made the crowd sway to and fro as only Benjamin can do. With over 50 recorded albums to his credit, Benjamin did not disappoint.
The evening was filled with positive energy, beautiful people, and good vibrations. The next installment of AFRIKIN will be November 18-20, 2016. Follow Afrikin Fest on Facebook and Instagram.
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Celli Arenas, published author, has been featured in several magazines, such as: MIA Magazine, Success Magazine, Legacy Magazine. She is the host blogger at cellibration.com, and hosts MIA-Live.net for BlogTalk Radio. Her books, “30 Days of Dynamic Pursuit” a self-help journal, and “Sidetracked: He Used To Love Me”, a coming of age novel, are both available at amazon.com
©2016 Cellibration Publishing