Family at International African Arts Festival Credit: Daniel Goodine

People came from all over the country and the world this long 4th of July weekend to celebrate the 51-year-old International African Arts Festival at Commodore Barry Park by the Brooklyn Navy Yard. From Friday, July 1st until Monday, July 4th—even on a rainy Saturday—thousands came for the music and the dance and the hundreds of vendors selling food, clothes, art, and home goods. It is a forever Brooklyn tradition. It was great. Artists, activists, politicians and the general community came out.

“It is a celebration of the best of African culture, Pan-African culture—that means continental, diasporan culture,” said Según Shabaka, board chair and festival coordinator Shabaka. The international Black community came from the tristate area, the West Coast, New York, the Carolinas, Africa, Caribbean, and Europe. They came to enjoy the scheduled artists such as: Trinidadian AfroSoca artist Olatunji, The Shaka Tonge Experience, Thandiswa, The Jazz of a Tribe Called Quest featuring Dashill Smith and Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Lyfe Jennings; Oshun, Maimouna Keita School of African Dance (MKSAD), and the Nubian Messengers.

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  1. If you have never been to the International African Arts Festival, you have missed an awesome cultural experience.
    It is an all day into the night extravaganza. There is music, dance, food, art, jewelry, clothing, and a whole village set up just for children. I usually shop during the early afternoon, then get my salmon or oxtail dinner, pulled out my chair in front of the stage, and enjoy a phenomenal musical experience with my family and friends. It is a fabulous multi-day happening.

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