Culture

The Black Majesty At The Afro-Latino Fest NYC This Weekend Is What Dreams Are Made Of

With six years of celebrating Afro-Latinidad behind them, Afro-Latino Fest took to New York City for the seventh time running and it was better than ever. Latino Rebels and Futuro Media group partnered to create a social entrepreneur workshop, creating more much-needed access, and Afrolatin Talks launched their Podcast series to a live audience.

With live music, indoor and outdoor stages, and coalescence of uninterrupted culture-affirming celebration all weekend long, you can bet the whole event was like a POC dream come true.

In the last U.S. Census, more than 25 percent of all those claiming Afro-Latino heritage report living in New York City.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

So it makes sense that Afro-Latino Fest would go down in Brooklyn, where the bulk of the community already lives. In the last census, only 2.5 percent of all Latinos also identified as Black, which makes Brooklyn an especially special place.

Latin flags were held and celebrated showing the diversity of the Afro-Latino community.

Credit: @kirstensmetsx / Instagram

That’s just what you do at the Afro-Latino Fest. You don’t have to be afraid of someone coming up to you asking if you’re an American or be in fear to express cultural pride.

The music was next-level increíble.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

Internet community Black Owned Brooklyn couldn’t have described the event any better: “Celebrating all things Afrolatinidad — from music, dance and food to politics, philosophy and religion — the Afro-Latino Festival (@afrolatinofestivalnyc) returned to Brooklyn last weekend for its seventh edition. Run by husband-and-wife duo Amilcar Priestley and Mai-Elka Prado Gil (both from Brooklyn by way of Panama), the event started in 2013 as a small gathering at Flatbush’s Parkside Train Station Plaza to “affirm, celebrate and educate” around the contributions of people of African descent from Latin America and the Caribbean. It has since evolved into a two-day festival, most recently at City Point in downtown Brooklyn, featuring music from eight countries across three stages. ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ???????? ⠀”

There were chingona level DJ’s setting the party mood.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

These identical twins, Coco and Breezy, were just one set in a lineup of incredible performance artists like Puerto Rican spoken-word poet, Felipe Luciano, Dominican singer, José Alberto “El Canario,” Haitian-American singer Tadia and all-women Mariachi group Flor de Toloache. 

Afro-Latinos of all ages were able let loose a little bit.

Credit: @blackownedbklyn / Instagram

Every child was made to feel like royalty, with Afro-Latino owned vendors like “A Princess Like Me” in attendance. This was a family event.

Of course, there were bubbles for los niños.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

Who doesn’t love a good bubble machine?! Unlike the parties many of us went to as kids, there were actual children’s events to look forward to after rubbing the red lipstick off your face from all the tía besitos. Plus, who doesn’t want to hang out with Elena of Avalor?

The festival was all about community.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

And representing your whole heritage with pride. With the festival in its seventh year running, some of the children knew each other from the year before and others made fast friends.

The festival empowered Afro-Latino vendors to empower young Afro-Latino niños to be themselves.

Credit: @aprincesslikemenyc / Instagram

Caption: “Thank you @afrolatinofestivalnyc for booking us and giving OUR kids a place to freely run, play, dance and color with PRIDE! Our Latina Princess met amazing little Latina princesses too ???????????????? where we hosted the entire kids zone at @citypointbklyn !!! Empowering our girls one princess & party character at a time. With live singing, makeup, nails, tattoos, dancing and more we bring the party to you! Ensuring your child has the best party possible for the lowest cost in NYC it’s no wonder we only have top ratings! Ps ask us about our customized characters and package options.”

We hope they get even more business after the festival’s long over.

It also empowered Afro-Latina‘s all over the place.

Credit: @bxmary80 / Instagram

“I am so excited! #laborinqueña #Brooklyn,” wrote this festival goer. She even got to meet the artist that created the highly anticipated “La Borinqueña” superhero comic, which celebrates a Black Puerto Rican woman as the protagonist.

At the end of the day, the event was all about family.

Credit: @cjrbarnes / Instagram

The young man in this photo expressed his gratitude for the event with a post on Instagram that read, “As the son of a ???????? [Jamaican] Immigrant and a ????????[Cuban] American, I’m blessed to be able to identity with both my Caribbean and African roots. @AfroLatinoFestivalNYC exemplifies all of the richness that Africa has on our beautiful Latinx counterparts—culture personified!????”

READ: From Maxwell To Cardi B, These Afro-Latinos Are A Driving Force In The Music Industry Today

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New York Times Square New Years Eve Celebration Canceled

Culture

New York Times Square New Years Eve Celebration Canceled

Stefano / Flickr

For the first time in 114 years, the Times Square New Years Eve party has been canceled. The famous New Year’s Eve gathering is a major part of the New Year’s Eve celebration with people cramming into Times Square to watch the ball drop to mark the new year. This year, everything about the celebration is changing because of Covid.

New Year’s Eve in Times Square has been canceled.

The in-person celebration with crowds packing into the intersection to watch the ball drop is going virtual. Like the Emmys earlier this month, and countless other events, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration is all virtual. The decision to cancel the in-person part of the Times Square Ball Drop is, well, Covid, of course.

“One thing that will never change is the ticking of time and the arrival of a New Year at midnight on December 31st,” Tim Tompkins, President of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement. “But this year there will be significantly new and enhanced virtual, visual and digital offerings to complement whatever limited live entertainment or experiences – still in development — will take place in Times Square. And because any opportunity to be live in Times Square will be pre-determined and extremely limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, there will be the opportunity to participate virtually wherever you are.”

We still don’t have a lot of details about the virtual aspect of New Year’s Eve, we are all waiting.

According to a statement, the organizers realize that Covid has been the dominating force of 2020. The celebration always includes aspects of the major events from the previous year into the experience. The socially distanced handful of honorees and lack of an audience is a clear representation of the still real Covid crisis.

Some people are really upset about the decision to cancel the celebration.

It is one of those iconic moments so many people dream of doing. It is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for so many. The Times Square Ball Drop is something that most Americans recognize thanks to the dominant role the ball drop played on New Year’s Eve growing up. It is basically tradition to have the NYE party playing on the TV.

New Yorkers are confused about why anyone would want to do that.

New Yorkers avoid Times Square at all costs. It isn’t a convenient or super enjoyable part of town. It is packed with tourists who don’t know where they are going and NYE is about the worst it gets for Times Square. Now, the ball drop is impressive and something so many people consider an iconic moment in the holiday celebration.

“We will miss everyone this year but we will bring our celebration to you, whether you want to turn off and turn away from the bad news of 2020, or turn to the new year with a sense of hope, renewal and resolution, you’ll be able to join us virtually like never before as part of the Times Square 2021 celebration,” Jeff Straus, President of Countdown Entertainment, said in a statement.

But, mainly, people just want 2020 to be over.

This year has been a hard year for so many. People have lost their jobs and their loved ones as the virus runs through the U.S. Covid-19 is still a real threat to people, especially the vulnerable population.

READ: Nearly 9,000 Unaccompanied Child Migrants Have Been Expelled From the U.S. Under Trump’s COVID-19 Restrictions

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Bad Bunny’s Concert Parade Made History And Shined A Light On Latino Communities In NYC

Latidomusic

Bad Bunny’s Concert Parade Made History And Shined A Light On Latino Communities In NYC

Emma McIntyre / Getty Images

Leave it to Bad Bunny to elevate the art of a virtual concert with his first live performance in this era of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The beloved San Benito performed a concert on the back of a flatbed truck slowly driving through the Bronx, Washington Heights, and Harlem. The reggaetonero’s set was streamed as part of Uforia’s monthly music series, through which the music outlet, owned by Univision, has lined up concerts to the end of the year. “It was difficult for me to do a concert without an audience. I didn’t want to,” Bad Bunny said during the show, according to Billboard. “But I’m accepting the new reality and I hope people enjoy this. We need it.”

Based upon the hype and reviews, it’s obvious that we the people loved it.

Bad Bunny’s free NYC concert made history as he paraded across the city in a flatbed truck.

Bad Bunny’s moving concert, which started outside Yankee Stadium and at certain points had him literally ducking under traffic light and bridges, was livestreamed on the Uforia app and his own YouTube channel. The hit concert featured songs off his February album YHLQMDLG, including “Si Veo a Tu Mamá,” “La Difícil,” and “Pero Ya No,” among others.

The history-making performance concluded outside Harlem Hospital, where the rapper thanked front-line medical workers for their efforts during the coronavirus quarantine, and performed his song “Yo Perreo Sola.”

“Respect and thanks to those people who have sacrificed their lives in this city,” Bad Bunny told the crowd, per Billboard. “With a lot of faith in God, I sense that good things are coming. I know we are going through very difficult times. I have made thousands of mistakes, but my only mission is to try to be a better person every day.”

The hit concert coincided with the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria.

Bad Bunny’s concert was a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month but it also fell on the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Bad Bunny’s home of Puerto Rico. He thanked Latinos for supporting him and offered words of encouragement during the pandemic.

“With a lot of faith in God, I sense that good things are coming,” he added. “I know we are going through very difficult times, but I have hope that people doing things with their heart, spirit, faith and hope, we’re going to move forward.”

Bad Bunny was joined by virtual appearances from reggaeton stars J Balvin, Sech and Mora. The show was produced by Univision’s Uforia, the radio broadcasting and music events division of the company. 

“We are extremely excited to celebrate the richness of Latinx culture during Hispanic Heritage Month with this one-of-a-kind live streaming experience, and also commemorate the Puerto Rico community’s resilience on the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria, in partnership with Verizon,” Jesus Lara, president of radio at Univision, said in a statement. “We are proud to showcase the artistry of Bad Bunny who has had such a profound impact on our culture and the music industry at large.”

Imagine being the lucky resident of this building with a view like this…

A live stream showed the Latin Grammy award-winning artist dodging traffic lights and excited fans chasing him down streets with their cellphones in hand in New York City. 

El Conejo Malo literally brought the concert to people’s doorsteps. He also used the concert as a chance to shine a light on his native Puerto Rico and the third anniversary of Hurricane Maria that devastated the area. P.R. is still in recovery he mentioned. As the sun went down, Benito tore through the hits from his first album X 100pre like “Ni Bien Ni Bien,” “Sólo de Mí,” and “Romana”.

Although Coronavirus has had a major impact on the music industry, Bad Bunny has found ways to keep himself plenty busy.

CREDIT: EMMA MCINTYRE / GETTY IMAGES

Despite spending most of the year in quarantine in his native Puerto Rico, Bad Bunny has been extremely busy. From gracing magazine covers and making history in the process to surprise releasing an entire album, Bad Bunny has kept his fans on their toes.

The reggaetonero was also set to perform two sold-out shows on October 30-31 at San Juan’s Hiram Bithorn stadium, but they’ve been canceled in the wake of Covid-19. So this was the first chance for San Benito fans to witness live renditions from his record-breaking 2020 album YHLQMDLG, and his follow-up surprise album Las Que No Iban a Salir.

The “Yo Perrea Sola” singer also collaborated with Dua Lipa, J Balvin, and Tainy on a hit single, “Un Día (One Day)”. He’s also set to be recognized with the Hispanic Heritage Award for Vision in recognition for his impact as an artist and activist.

You can rewatch the full show here.

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