MUSIC AFRICA

AFROFEST 2016 – Toronto, ON

Afrofest 2016

Attendees at the 2016 Afrofest celebration, July 9th at Woodbine Beach Park, Toronto, ON, © 2016 Jacqlyn Sagna.

We made it, ya’ll. We made it through the week. We made it through the BLMTO Pride backlash. We made it through the first 48 of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile (barely). And we made it to Afrofest.

They tried to silence us this year by removing our “privilege” to a 2-day cultural festival and we fought back. We tweeted, called, emailed, ranted. We voiced our concern to anyone who would or wouldn’t listen. Afrofest is home. For the past 28 years, Toronto’s African and Caribbean community have used these two days of the summer to celebrate our heritage and our future. You will not silence us. I give many thanks to Music Africa for tirelessly working, fighting to provide this cultural hub for our families every year.

After what felt like a week of trauma, sadness, helplessness, and rage for black folk, I can barely express how comforting it was to be present at Afrofest this year. To walk through Woodbine Beach Park and encounter so many familiar faces of family and friends, black bodies that smiled and welcomed you back home. There was nothing but love and laughter. We were safe. We we free to be unapologetically us. And if I hadn’t realized before, I know now that Afrofest is both a healing space and a catalyst for the African diaspora.

So to those of you who joined us in healing, welcome home.

As I walked through the park with someone special on my arm, I couldn’t help but embrace the warmth and energy of this space. The sight of melanin surrounding us was both comforting and beautiful, it was almost utopic.

Below are some portraits I snapped throughout the day. If you recognize any of these darling faces, please tag them. Love+Light.

 

7:52 PM, Alysha (@demoiselleennoir) — Haiti

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7:57 PM, Kolade (@_itsko) — Nigeria

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8:55 PM, Cynthia — Nigeria

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9:01 PM, Grace — DR Congo

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9:05 PM, Prince + Young — Nigeria

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9:11 PM, Jacqlyn (@madsophisticate) — Senegal

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9:23 PM, Eugénie (@itsaj_17) — Ghana

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9:32 PM, Ishmil (@ishmilwaterman) — Trinidad and Tobago

Demi (@demi_valentine) — Ghana / Trinidad and Tobago

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