“I, basically, want to bring some awareness to Afro-Latinos, who should be part of Black History Month.”
Afro-Colombian fashion designer Edwing D’Angelo has been making a name for himself in fashion, especially in New York City where the industry can be particularly cutthroat. This Colombiano’s designs have been featured in “The Devil Wears Prada“and have been worn by superstars, such as Tyra Banks.
Now, during Black History Month and New York Fashion Week, D’Angelo is trying to change the way the fashion world thinks. D’Angelo says he’s working to include more Afro-Latino influences in fashion, starting first in Colombia, where he organized a fashion show that showcased Afro-Colombians.
D’Angelo says the next step of his process is to start a conversation that will open doors for other Afro-Latino fashion designers to do their thing.
Check out the full story of Edwing D’Angelo’s work to make Afro-Latino part of the black conversation here.
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The idea of the “War on Drugs” is shifting globally. Not only did America pass a record amount of legislation this past election regarding legalizing marijuana (and all drugs completely in Oregon), but other countries are taking steps to decriminalize drugs as well.
The most surprising country to take steps towards decriminalizing drugs is Colombia. Everyone knows that Colombia has a serious problem with cocaine trafficking and drug cartels. Colombia is estimated to export 90% of the world’s cocaine supply. And unfortunaely, Colombia decades-long War on Drugs is failing.
That’s why some politicians are suggesting that Colombia legalizes immense cocaine industry.
One politician in particular, Senator Iván Marulanda, is spearheading this fight. In an interview with Vice, Marulanda explained the reasoning behind his push for cocaine legalization as well as an outline of how Colombia can put the plan into action.
Marulanda is putting forward a bill that will legalize coca farming. The Colombian government would, in turn, completely buy the country’s entire stock of coca leaves. Per Marulanda, the state would supply the coca leaves to indigenous communities who have an ancestral relationship with the plant. These communities would create “foods, baking flour, medicinal products and drinks like tea”.
But above all: the state would produce cocaine and supply it to cocaine users.
The plan is ambitious, but Marulanda believes it could change everything for Colombia–a country that has been wracked by drug-related violence and deaths for decades.
“In Colombia, the personal consumption of cocaine is legal. It’s legal because of a court ruling that recognizes personal consumption as a human right,” Marulanda explained to Vice. “However, what we don’t have is the legal cocaine to meet that demand. Instead, we have consumers who are in contact with organized crime groups who supply them cocaine in local drug markets. It’s poor quality cocaine and it’s often mixed with unregulated substances. It’s everywhere: in our schools, in universities, in parks and bars. It’s in all these public spaces.”
Marulanda’s bill will attempt to legalize cocaine for medicinal purposes only. Users would go to their doctor for a prescription–mostly for pain-relief purposes.
Marulanda was also careful to outline the economic benefits of legalizing the cocaine industry in Colombia.
According to the senator, Colombia spends $1 billion annually trying to eradicate drugs from their country. In contrast, buying up all the coca leaves that coca farmers produce would only cost $680 million. Marulanda also insists that the farmers could “push the price up if they need to.”
Marulanda explained that the legalization of cocaine could diminish drug-related violence that is linked to cartels, but it could put a damper on the rampant deforestation that coca farmers wreak on Colombia’s land.
Because of the stigma of coca leave farming, coca farmers are forced to live in the shadows. “Usually, these farm families end up displacing themselves, deforesting new areas, and re-planting coca while they’re running from the authorities,” Marulanda explained. “Second, Colombia is destroying around 300,000 hectares of forest per year. It’s estimated that coca-growing families are responsible for 25 percent of that annual deforestation.”
The bottom line is: the old-school methods behind the “War on Drugs” are failing.
Marulanda believes that Colombia–as well as other countries–must reevaluate the way they’ve been approaching drug regulation.
“We’ve been going 40 years with a policy that costs billions of U.S. dollars with zero success and so much cost and destruction,” Marulanda said. “Let’s try out this other policy. Because something that hasn’t worked in the last 40 years is something that’s just not going to work.”
All too often artists from Latin America – particularly Indigenous artists – are overlooked for their contribution to the world’s art scene. This isn’t just true of today’s artists but also dating back hundreds of years.
White-centric art critics have praised the works of artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh, while ignoring the immense contributions that artists on the other side of the Atlantic were making hundreds or even thousands of years earlier.
Now, as a nearly 13,000-year-old rock art collection is discovered by researchers deep in the Colombian Amazon, this long lost history of Indigenous art is finally having its moment in the spotlight.
Researchers discovered one of the world’s largest and oldest collections of ancient rock art.
One of the world’s largest collections of prehistoric rock art has been discovered in the Amazon Rainforest. Researches are hailing it as the “Sistine Chapel of the Ancients,” and it’s guaranteed to bring a new level of attention on both the art and civilization of ancient America.
The rock art paintings, which number in the tens of thousands, are said to have been created up to 12,500 years ago. Perhaps even more staggering, they’re painted on well-worn cliff faces that stretch across nearly eight miles deep in the Colombian jungle. Experts say that because of the size of the site, it will take generations to study.
Although news of the rock art is just being released to the public, it was actually discovered last year as part of a film by the BBC: Jungle Mystery: Lost Kingdoms of the Amazon.
The site is in the Serranía de la Lindosa where, along with the Chiribiquete national park, other rock art had been found. The documentary’s presenter, Ella Al-Shamahi, an archaeologist and explorer, told the Observer: “The new site is so new, they haven’t even given it a name yet.”
The discovery highlights the lives of some of the very first people who called the Americas home.
The team who made the discovery is a joint British-Colombian group, funded by the European Research Council. Its leader is José Iriarte, professor of archaeology at Exeter University in the U.K. and a leading expert on the Amazon and pre-Columbian history.
He said: “When you’re there, your emotions flow … We’re talking about several tens of thousands of paintings. It’s going to take generations to record them … Every turn you do, it’s a new wall of paintings.”
The team found it hard to keep it a secret given the level of excitement and emotion they felt upon the discovery.
“We started seeing animals that are now extinct. The pictures are so natural and so well made that we have few doubts that you’re looking at a horse, for example. The ice-age horse had a wild, heavy face. It’s so detailed, we can even see the horse hair. It’s fascinating.”
The images include fish, turtles, lizards and birds, as well as people dancing and holding hands, among other scenes. One figure wears a mask resembling a bird with a beak.
It’s estimated that the thousands of pieces of rock art are nearly 13,000 years old.
Although no official carbon dating has been carried out to gauge the age of the art, experts are estimating its age based partly on the depictions of long-extinct ice age animals, such as the mastodon, a prehistoric relative of the elephant that hasn’t roamed South America for at least 12,000 years. There are also images of the palaeolama, an extinct camelid, as well as giant sloths and ice age horses.
These animals were all seen and painted by some of the very first humans ever to reach the Amazon. Their pictures give a glimpse into a lost, ancient civilization that many of our ancestors call on as part of our history.
The site is deep in rebel-controlled territory so it’s unlikley to become a tourist hotspot anytime soon.
The site of the discovery, the Serranía La Lindosa, sits deep in the rebel-controlled Colombian rainforest. As the documentary notes, Colombia is a land torn apart after 50 years of civil war that raged between FARC guerrillas and the Colombian government, now with an uneasy truce in place.
The territory where the paintings have been discovered was completely off limits until recently and still involves careful negotiation to enter safely.
Al-Shamahi said: “When we entered Farc territory, it was exactly as a few of us have been screaming about for a long time. Exploration is not over. Scientific discovery is not over but the big discoveries now are going to be found in places that are disputed or hostile.”