It has been announced that Harlem’s renowned Apollo Theater will be presenting Africa Now! Festival in March 2022. This year’s festival will be “live and in-person” and features headliner, East African jazz vocalist and extraordinaire artist, Somi. The musician and special guests will be in celebration of Somi’s newest album “Zenzile: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba,” which is a musical rumination of the incredible life and work of the legendary African icon, Miriam Makeba in lieu of Makeba’s 90th birthday. Dianne Reeves and South African musician Thandiswa Mazwai will perform in support of Somi.
“We’re thrilled to welcome back our Africa Now! celebration and to continue honoring and presenting contemporary art from the African diaspora,” stated Kamilah Forbes, the Apollo’s executive producer in a press release. “Over the past eight decades the Apollo has amplified Black voices and used its platforms to create an intersection of art and activism, so having Somi, a contemporary artist and activist, perform new music from her upcoming album that honors the late Miriam Makeba, a respected musical and activist icon of the 1960s, is exactly the kind of artistic conversation and experimentation that the Apollo champions.”
Apollo Comedy Club will open the festival on March 4 led by comedian Akintunde. On March 5, Congolese musician and artist, Nkumu Katalay and DJ YB will perform at the Apollo Music Café and on March 10, “a screening and post-film discussion of Apollo Film: ImageNation’s Cocktails and Sol Cinema – ‘Queen of Glory,’ by director Nana Mensah (Netflix’s ‘The Chair’) who vividly captures the Ghanaian-American experience of being caught between two worlds in her film.”
The festival will run from March 4 through March 19 offering a plethora of opportunities for the community to celebrate the powerful influences of African art, music and film. It is important that the Black community in America and across the diaspora connects and fuses together to create stronger bonds with artists from across the world. There are so many similarities and interesting and powerful differences between Black cultures, creating space for people to come together and enjoy the beauty and brilliance of Blackness.
Tickets for Africa Now! Festival’s Queen of Glory, Apollo Music Café, and Apollo Comedy Club are $25, the Livewire discussion is free, and tickets for Somi and Friends: The Reimagination of Miriam Makeba start at $25. To purchase tickets to Africa Now! and all other events of the Apollo’s Winter/Spring 2022 season, visit www.ApolloTheater.org.