Posts tagged with "African diaspora"

NYBG – ATT

The New York Botanical Garden‘s major, institution-wide exhibition Around the Table: Stories of the Foods We Love examines the art and science of foodways and food traditions, many dating back thousands of years. Visitors can explore the rich cultural history of what we eat and learn that – from global dietary staples such as rice, beans, squash, and corn to the regional spice and flavor provided by peppers, greens, and tomatoes – plants are at the base of all culinary customs. The presentation features expansive displays of living edible plants; art and science installations; weekend celebrations; wellness, culinary-themed, and children’s programming; and opportunities to gather at artist-designed tables set throughout NYBG’s 250 acres, bringing to life stories about the featured and other notable edible plants. Around the Table: Stories of the Foods We Love is on view June 4 through September 11, 2022.

“We are thrilled and gratified to be able to present Around the Table: Stories of the Foods We Love,” said Jennifer Bernstein, CEO and The William C. Steere Sr. President of The New York Botanical Garden, “The creation of this exhibition has truly been a collaborative and communal experience and a labor of love. We hope everyone will visit the Botanical Garden this summer and take a little time to uncover the botanical origins of the foods they think they already know, cultivate deeper understanding of the environmental and social impacts of our food choices, and discover the diversity and beauty of plants that are grown for cuisine around the world.”

Displays of Living Edible Plants at the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory

Showcasing hundreds of varieties of edible plants, including peppers, squash, cabbage, beans, grains, corn, banana, sugarcane, taro, and breadfruit, three installations in and around the Haupt Conservatory beckon visitors to explore the diversity and beauty of food plants grown around the world.

  • In the Conservatory’s Seasonal Exhibition Galleries, a wide assortment of edible herbaceous plants and fruit-bearing trees flourishing in containers, entwined in overhead trellises, and reaching skyward from green walls ideal for compact urban spaces inspire appreciation of the plants that nourish us.
  • The Conservatory Courtyards offer an array of familiar and surprising edible plants from across the globe – from dietary staples of the tropical regions of the world, including rice, taro, and banana, to crops suited to arid regions of the globe, including figs, citrus, and pearl millet. Peppers and tomatoes and other nightshades, grapes and olives, a gourd trellis, and a spirits garden featuring plants used in the creation of beer, wine, and liquors round out this diverse display.
  • A portion of the Botanical Garden’s Conservatory Lawn is transformed into an undulating field of dwarf sorghum and barley, traditional grains well-suited to NYBGߣs climate, allowing observation of the sowing, nurturing, harvesting, and replanting processes of these foundational food plants over the course of the exhibition.

African American Garden at the Edible Academy

Curated by Dr. Jessica B. Harris, America’s leading scholar on the foods of the African Diaspora, African American Garden: Remembrance & Resilience celebrates African American food and gardening histories and the contributions of essential plants to American foodways. Dr. Harris has worked with historians, heritage seed collectors, and NYBG’s Edible Academy staff to present a sequence of eight garden beds arranged in a semi-circle that celebrate African American food and gardening histories and their ongoing contributions to America’s plant and food culture. The experience also includes an orientation center, shaded seating areas, and a Hibiscus Drink Station designed by scenic designer Lawrence E. Moten III, whose include Broadway’s Chicken & Biscuits. The African American Garden also features a Poetry Walk curated by Cave Canem Foundation, the premier home for Black poetry, committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets.

Art and Science Installations Throughout the Garden

After a call for artists that resulted in many impressive submissions, The New York Botanical Garden selected 30 local artists, living or working in the Bronx, to design and create tables that explore central themes from Around the Table. On display across the Botanical Garden’s 250 acres, the artist-designed tables incorporate notable food plants, highlighting the plants’ history and cultural significance as well personal stories of food traditions and celebrations. The tables and accompanying interpretation encourage sitting, sharing, and storytelling. Visitors are prompted to learn more via the Bloomberg Connects mobile application, and at select tables, to create artworks or tell their own food stories.

In the LuEsther T. Mertz Library Building Art Gallery, visitors can examine the social and cultural impacts of the American food system through displayed works by contemporary Colombian-American artist Lina Puerta in Lina Puerta: Accumulated Wisdom. Puerta celebrates and acknowledges the essential, often invisible, role of farmworkers, the relationship between nature and the human-made, and ancestral knowledge in mixed-media sculptures, installations, collages, hand-made paper paintings, and wall hangings that incorporate materials ranging from textiles and handmade paper to found, personal, and recycled objects.

Launched in 2021, NYBG’s Bronx Foodways Oral Histories Project is a multiyear effort to collect, record, and archive personal food narratives from Bronx urban farmers and gardeners who focus on community gardens as centers for food, heritage, community, and social justice – making them accessible to the public. Each year, The New York Botanical Garden commissions two public murals celebrating the gardens and farmers from the Oral Histories Project. As part of the Around the Table exhibition, celebrated Bronx-based artist Andr Trenier is creating the initial murals. In NYBG’s Arthur and Janet Ross Gallery, . . .la tierra es nuestro alimento/the land is our nourishment presents oral history videos and photos of Bronx gardens taken by students from the Bronx Documentary Center as well as highlights Trenier’s murals.

Also in the Mertz Library Building, the creativity and ingenuity of plant scientists and plant-based chefs is exhibited, revealing the science and art of agriculture and cuisine. In Sowing Resilience: Origins and Change in Agriculture in the Elizabeth Britton Science Gallery, visitors learn how scientific knowledge from both ancient and recent pasts’ traditional and Indigenous methods of agriculture to new genetic technologies’ can provide insight into creating a more resilient food system to feed the growing planet in the face of the climate crisis and other environmental challenges. The work of NYBG scientists and others highlights how far domesticated plants have come from their origins and the importance of conserving crop biodiversity into the future. In the Rondina and LoFaro Gallery, Steam, Sear, Saut: 150 Years of American Vegetarian Cookbooks showcases 19th- and 20th-century plant-based cookbooks from the LuEsther T. Mertz Library‘s William R. Buck Cookbook Collection, as well as colorfully illustrated seed catalogs, to highlight the ways home chefs’ relationships to vegetables have changed through time. Recipe Roundtable in the Nathaniel Lord Britton Science Rotunda offers visitors an interactive opportunity to connect with Around the Table exhibition content by responding to various prompts calling for drawings of favorite veggies to reflections on culturally significant plants and ingredients to be recorded on recipe cards, which are then displayed throughout the Rotunda.

Bountiful Programming for All Ages

Visitors to Around the Table: Stories of the Foods We Love can enjoy diverse and engaging public programming for all ages. Highlights include artist-designed table tours, food demonstrations, children’s activities, themed weekend celebrations, and more.

On Saturday, June 18, 10 a.m.ߝ12p.m., a symposium, A Seat at the Table, includes two compelling sessions exploring how Black farming informs American history and culture in New York City and across the country:

  • In “Celebrating the African American Farmer,” Natalie Baszile, author of the 2021 anthology We Are Each Other’s Harvest, joins Dr. Jessica B. Harris, food historian and scholar, for a conversation in Ross Hall. Their wide-ranging dialogue covers topics from the historical perseverance and resilience of Black farmers and their connection to the American land, to the generations of farmers who continue to farm despite systemic discrimination and land loss.
  • “Stories from the Farm,” moderated by farmer, urban gardener, food advocate, activist, and NYBG Trustee Karen Washington, is a multigenerational panel discussion devoted to stories of Black farmers from many historical perspectives: North and South, Upstate New York and the Bronx, sharecroppers to family growers and urban farmers. Panelists including “chefarmer” Matthew Raiford and farmer/cultural anthropologist Dr. Gail Myers give historical and contemporary context for Black farmers’ contributions to communities and food justice movements in urban and rural America.

Each week during Around the Table, Wellness Wednesdays serves up the NYBG Farmers Market, food demonstrations, and health and wellness activities.

Offerings at the Edible Academy include food demonstrations and tastings, participatory gardening activities, , and food-themed celebration weekends such as Totally Tomatoes throughout the run of the exhibition.

In “Around the Kids’ Table,” guided by Everett Children’s Adventure Garden Explainers, children and their families tell stories about the foods that are most meaningful to them and enjoy exhibition-related writing, art, and nature-based activities. A Story Walk showcases author Tony Hillery’s children’s book Harlem Grown (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, 2020)about a community garden started by schoolchildren in an empty lot in Harlem, New York, in 2011 that has grown into a network of gardens throughout the city.

On select days, complementary exhibition programming includes “The Art of the Table,” during which individual table artists engage with visitors in special activities such as demonstrations, group painting, or storytelling.

About the Exhibition Advisory Committee

The New York Botanical Garden engaged advisors with expertise in documenting recipes and food histories, edible gardening past and present, food justice and food insecurity, global and local foodways, nutrition, the science of edible plants, and the visual arts to join a committee and participate in the development of Around the Table: Stories of the Foods We Love. Members include:

  • Toby Adams, Gregory Long Director of the Edible Academy, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Journei Manzayila Bimwala, leader and co-chair, Foodway at Concrete Plant Park
  • Garrett Broad, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies, Fordham University, and author of More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change (University of California Press, 2016)
  • Kate Gardner Burt, Ph.D., R.D., assistant professor, DPD Director, and Undergraduate Program Director, the Dietetics, Foods, and Nutrition Program at Lehman College, City University of New York
  • Ursula Chanse, Director of Bronx Green-Up and Community Horticulture, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Winston Chiu, chef and co-founder, Rethink Food NYC, Inc.
  • Von Diaz, documentary producer, author of Coconuts & Collards: Recipes and Stories from Puerto Rico to the Deep South (University Press of Florida, 2018), and recipe and essay contributor to The New York TimesThe Washington PostBon AppetitFood & WineEater, and Epicurious
  • Sheryll Durrant, urban farmer, educator, and food justice advocate; Food and Agriculture Coordinator for New Roots Community Farm, and resident manager of Kelly Street Garden in the South Bronx
  • Jessica B. Harris, Ph.D., Americaߣs leading expert on the food and foodways of the African Diaspora, author of 12 critically acclaimed cookbooks, and 2020 James Beard Lifetime Achievement Award recipient
  • Mohammed Mardah, chairman, the African Advisory Council to the Bronx Borough President, and co-founder and executive director of Africans Help Desk
  • Alex McAlvay, Ph.D., Kate E. Tode Assistant Curator in the Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Lauren Mohn, Ph.D., Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, Swarthmore College
  • Dario Mohr, New York-based educator and interdisciplinary artist who creates interactive sanctuary experiences, and founder and director, AnkhLave Arts Alliance, Inc.
  • Gary Paul Nabhan, internationally celebrated nature writer, agrarian activist, and ethnobiologist who works to conserve the links between biodiversity and cultural diversity
  • Henry Obispo, founder and CEO of Born Juice and ReBORN Farms
  • Lina Puerta, mixed-media contemporary artist whose work has been exhibited at the Ford Foundation Gallery, El Museo del Barrio, Wave Hill, and 21c Museum Hotels, and who recently completed an artist residency and exhibition at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art & Storytelling
  • Michael Purugganan, Ph.D., Silver Professor of Biology and former Dean of Science at New York University

About The New York Botanical Garden

Founded in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden is the most comprehensive botanical garden in the world and an integral part of the cultural fabric of New York City, anchored in the Bronx. Visitors come to the Garden to connect with nature for joy, beauty, and respite, and for renowned plant-based exhibitions, music and dance, and poetry and lectures. Innovative children’s education programs promote environmental sustainability and nutrition awareness, graduate programs educate the next generation of botanists, while engaging classes inspire adults to remain lifelong learners. The 250-acre verdant landscape, which includes a 50-acre, old-growth forest, and the landmark Enid A. Haupt Conservatory support living collections of more than one million plants. Unparalleled resources are also held in the LuEsther T. Mertz Library, the world’s most important botanical and horticultural library with 11 million archival items spanning ten centuries, and William and Lynda Steere Herbarium, the largest in the Western Hemisphere with 7.8 million plant and fungal specimens. Committed to protecting the planet’s biodiversity and natural resources, Garden scientists work on-site in cutting-edge molecular labs and in areas worldwide where biodiversity is most at risk.

For more information about and to purchase tickets for Around the Table: Stories of the Foods We Love, please go HERE.

Bronx-based designer and stylist Mugzy McFly via 360 Magazine

Mugzy McFly

Fashion Designer × Stylist

New York City designer and entrepreneur Jevaughn Williams, widely known as Mugzy McFly, has made his childhood dream come to fruition with Signed By McFly. This fad guru has worked with celebrities like Maino, Doja Cat and Post Malone. Moreover, the GRAMMY Awards hand-picked him to participate in this year’s festivities via gift bags. Furthermore, he constantly produces immersive pop-ups to highlight other minority-owned entities, becoming an arbiter on style and current affairs within his community.

Born and raised in The Bronx, Mugzy grew up with a great deal of inspiration and flare for fashion. At 13, he experienced his first steps with creative design and began fabricating pieces which he could pair his favorite sneakers. Between 2011-12, he started brand brainstorming. In 2013, he launched it. Graphic tees were the label’s inaugural drop. With no financial investors, he handled all aspects of the collection–production, marketing, promotions and account management. This first-hand knowledge inspired the tagline: More Dreams, Less Dream. Since inception, the line has been unisex.

Lastly, Mugzy explains his intuition behind last season’s bestselling collegiate-like jacket with patchwork. It’s color compass was persuaded by his immediate environment. In fact, he never meant to conjure a rainbow-esque theme, its prismatic effect resulted from the orange and blue linked to the Knicks and Mets. While his Afro-Carribean heritage emitted red and green hues, he confirms admiration for gray, ‘It’s like a high taste level to me.’

After 9 years in business, McFly has been featured in various media outlets. Contrary to what one would expect, much of his recent success has been attributed to the pandemic, allowing more time to meticulously delve into overall presentation and client relationships. Thus, he predicts seasonal trends will incorporate comfort, quality yet sustainable ensembles in both vivid and earth tones paired with ecletic sneakers. Jeans will be replaced with nicely constructed joggers and thigh high shorts.

McFly’s advice to budding enterprisers, choose the right moment to launch genderless garments. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and do it because you enjoy the process. Don’t do it just for money. Finally, lend your brand’s visibility through well-documented, innovative promotional affairs while maintaining professional contacts.  

Article: Andrea Esteban × Vaughn Lowery

Watch him on 360TV.

Listen to his 360 MAG Podcast.

As seen in Essence Magazine.

Featured in The Bronx Magazine.

Shop Signed By McFly.

Founders of La Impresora shot by Gustavo Castrodad for 360 MAGAZINE

Maniobra: A Cultural Employment Initiative

The Mellon Foundation and the Centro de Economía Creativa (CEC) announced Maniobra – a newly launched $8 million cultural employment initiative created to facilitate stable employment opportunities for artists while strengthening the administrative bandwidth of community-based cultural organizations across Puerto Rico. In its inaugural stage, Maniobra – named in reference to “the work of one’s hands” – is providing support including salary, training, health and other benefits, and more to 37 artists and 25 artist-centric organizations across 12 municipalities.

Puerto Rican artists play critical leadership roles within their communities, yet often live in a state of financial precarity, earning a median annual income of approximately $16,000 for their work, with 46% generating less than $12,000 annually. Through Maniobra, CEC and the Mellon Foundation underscore the labor of artists as valued work, while modeling remuneration that reflects artists’ formal education, experience, and contributions to society.

“This initiative shines an important light on the economic state and personal well-being of the artistic community and centers both as priorities for philanthropy and cultural policy,” said Javier Hernández Acosta, Founder of the Center and Dean of the School of Arts, Design and Creative Industries at the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón. “Equity and salary justice within the arts had previously been relegated to a secondary agenda item, but we are now thrilled to work with the Mellon Foundation to advance this important work through real action.”

Maniobra provides participating organizations with the financial support needed to hire at least one full-time artist and $20,000 yearly budget to support the organization’s programming and creative projects over the entirety of the three-year initiative. The funding will not only strengthen organizations’ artistic programming and financial stability, but will also serve as a pilot that could be expanded in the future and has the potential of driving philanthropic support to a more holistic approach.

“Lifting up and celebrating the creativity of Puerto Rican artists, writers, and performers means granting them the resources they need to pursue their callings, supporting the archipelago’s artistic and cultural organizations, and broadly fostering the work and preservation of Puerto Rican culture at a time when stable employment and funding for these efforts has been imperiled,” said Elizabeth Alexander, President of the Mellon Foundation.“We are honored to support Maniobra, and excited to see the work that comes from this remarkable initiative.”

Prior to the launch of Maniobra, CEC and the Mellon Foundation collaborated on artists-centered initiatives including the development of Nido Cultural – a platform created to support management services for artistic and cultural production in Puerto Rico, as well as on an initiative aimed at Mapping of Cultural Work in Puerto Rico. Maniobra was inspired by Creatives Rebuild New York (CRNY) – the $125 million Mellon Foundation-backed initiative created to help reactivate the creative economy of New York State and secure the future of its artists.

The artists selected for Maniobra, which commenced in early April, were selected by an advisory team of key stakeholders from the local artistic community. Considering the diversity of practices and approaches across the islands, collectives and organizations were selected based on their rich experience in artistic and cultural work.

“In addition to supporting these artists, we also expect to strengthen the work of the collectives and organizations by providing technical and managerial support as well as operational budgets for the execution of the initiatives,” said Sonia Méndez, Program Manager of the Centro de Economía Creativa, Inc. “It also represents a unique project that not only offers the artist a salary, but also fringe benefits and health care coverage.”

To learn more about the projects and initiatives of the Centro de Economía Creativa, you can visit its social media accounts or Centro de Economía Creativa Website

*Photo: Gustavo Castrodad

Zeitz Exterior via Wianelle Briers for use by 360 Magazine

Zeitz MOCAA × Gucci Gala

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) and longstanding partner Gucci are pleased to announce the museum’s first annual fundraiser event to be held on Saturday, November 29, 2022. Inspiration comes from When We See Us, the new exhibition opening on November 20. The gala, themed “Art & Opulence,” will see notable figures from the art, fashion, film and entertainment industries join Zeitz MOCAA to celebrate contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora.  

Gucci has long been a supporter of the arts and this partnership speaks to the House’s commitment to promoting culture and preserving heritage. The Zeitz MOCAA x Gucci Gala marks a return for the museum’s continuous fundraising efforts and is set to become an annual highlight on the social calendar of the African continent.  

“The Zeitz MOCAA Gala and its theme is a celebration of excellence, triumph and affirmation of the global Black experience, and is true to our relationship with the larger art and culture field,” says Koyo Kouoh, Executive Director and Chief Curator, Zeitz MOCAA. “We are thankful for our long-standing partnership with Gucci. At a time when many institutions across the globe are continuing to feel the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this event provides Zeitz MOCAA with an opportunity to further its goals and continue to strive towards access for all and the education and celebration of art from Africa and its diaspora.”

A Celebration of Black Excellence

The When We See Us exhibition is a large-scale, global exploration of Black self-representation through figurative painting and portraiture spanning more than a century. In the lead-up to the exhibition opening, the museum will host various programs that speak about the global Black experience, including a series of webinars that began on March 29. These programs, as well as the gala theme, will address the exhibition’s key themes of perpetuation, essence and radicality of Black joy, celebrating the continent of Africa, Africans and African-ess in all its forms across the global African diaspora. Gucci’s partnership allows for the exhibition to travel to major museums across the United States and Europe. 

In addition to supporting When We See Us as a traveling exhibition, the funds raised from the Zeitz MOCAA Gala will go towards the institution’s mandate of a civic space that furthers the contemplation of and education about art from Africa and its diaspora as a crucial and unique catalyst for the analysis of our societies. 

“In its role as a site for public dialogue, exhibitions, research and collection, and storytelling that contemporary art enables, the institution promotes narratives that are important to the building of communities, and we see this gala as a significant milestone in working towards this vision,” concludes Kouoh.

“Zeitz MOCAA looks forward to welcoming its board of trustees, Global Council members as well as special guests to a night of Art & Opulence.”

About Zeitz MOCAA

Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (Zeitz MOCAA) is a public non-profit institution that collects, preserves, researches and exhibits contemporary art from Africa and its diaspora; conceives and hosts international exhibitions; develops supporting educational, discursive and enrichment programs; encourages intercultural understanding; and strives towards access for all. The museum’s galleries feature rotating temporary exhibitions with a dedicated space for the permanent collection. The institution also includes the Centre for Art Education, the Centre for the Moving Image and The Atelier, a museum residency program for artists living and working in Cape Town. 

Zeitz MOCAA is situated at the Silo District, South Arm Road, V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, South Africa, and is open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 AM to 6 PM. 

Ballerina by Mina Tocalini for use by 360 Magazine

Bombazo Caribbean Skirts Featured at New York Fashion Week

By: Javier Pedroza 

Milteri Tucker Concepción is a busy and multi-talented Afro Boricua who holds degrees in Biology, Chemistry and a master’s in Dance Education. She is an author, a mother and was casted in Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights the movie. As we approach #NYFW2021, Milteri puts on another hat, as designer.

Milteri is the founder of BOMBAZO and the artistic director of Bombazo Dance Co. The Puerto Rican-Bronx based non-profit dance organization’s focus is to educate, advocate, preserve and perform Bomba Puertorriqueña. As an author, educator and master Bomba dancer, she lectures across the United States and the world. I sat with Milteri and we spoke about Bomba, fashion and Puerto Rico.

Milteri, tell our readers, who is Milteri Tucker Concepción? 

Well, I was born and raised in Puerto Rico and grew up with a passion for dance since I was 5 years old. I  recall dancing in “la Sala”(the living room) with three of the most influential women in my life: my grandmother, mother and aunt. As part of my upbringing I remember dancing, planting and assisting my elders in the kitchen. I also vividly recall shopping for fabrics with my aunt and watching my grandmother Abuela Teresa, warmly referred to as “Mama” sewing. My aunt “Titi” Maria Concepción was a designer who attended FIT and designed clothes for top actors in Puerto Rico. I was blessed to have been raised in a household full of  love, and love for my culture!

As a teenager, I studied dance in La Escuela de Bellas Artes in Ponce, PR. At 17, [I] moved to NYC to pursue careers in dance and science. In 2006, I graduated with a dual major of Dance and Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Hunter College. I currently hold a masters degree in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt. Today I am a renowned Bomba master dancer, choreographer, scholar, dance educator and author. [I wrote] the first bilingual Bomba children’s book, titled “Bomba Puertorriqueña” and illustrated by Boricua artist, Mia Roman.

I’ve had the privilege to perform in multiple venues across NYC and the world – from the prestigious Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, City Center, Summerstage, Pregones Theater, BAAD, The Latin Billboards Awards, dancing for Don Omar with choreography by Maria Torres O’Connor, to amazing community centers.

I am a cultural warrior (guerrera cultural) who safeguards our traditions of Bomba Puertorriquenas, via [my] 501c3 non-profit dance organization: Bombazo Dance Co, Inc and international brand of Caribbean dance skirts: Bombazo Wear-Bomba & Caribbean Dance Skirts®. I was recently  featured in Lin Manuel Miranda’s movie, In The Heights, as the Bomba representation.

How was your experience filming ‘In the Heights’?

Being invited to dance Bomba for In the Heights was a surreal experience and a dream come true! It was an honor to represent our African heritage through our traditional dances. However, one of my favorite memories came after the movie premiered…. I had the opportunity to open the 2021 Virtual National Puerto Rican Day Parade in NYC, where Lin and I danced Bomba together.

What is the history of Bomba?

Bomba is Puerto Rico’s oldest musical genre, dating back to the 17th century and created by the African enslaved and free people of color from the Caribbean. This was one of the ways they communicated in our coastal sugarcane and coffee plantations.  It is a secular practice, where the community gathers to sing, dance and drum.

Why did you create Bombazo Dance Company?

I founded Bombazo Dance Company to show the world that Puerto Rico has rich African ancestry, and that our traditions are very much alive. As a Bomba dance company, we communicate through dance and drumming. [This is] reflected in our traditional folk art dancers. It is also important to create a safe space to fuse Bomba with other forms of dance – such as ballet, contemporary, social dances and dances of the African and Caribbean diaspora.

What inspired you to create Bombazo dance wear? 

At the same time I started Bombazo Dance Company, I was teaching Bomba classes to the community and needed skirts. Believe it or not, it was hard to find a seamstress who could make Caribbean skirts or a location to purchase them. I wanted to create skirts that fit all Caribbean dance styles, because I am that dancer. And voilà – Bombazo Wear Bomba Caribbean Skirts was born! My mother, Dr. Margarita Concepción, and I are the CEOs and we sew the [skirts] too. Our skirts are handmade, custom[ized] and tailored to each client. A part of the funds go to aid families affected by the earthquakes in Southern Puerto Rico.

How does it feel to be invited to NYFW 2021 / Harlem Fashion Week?

It is an honor to have been invited to showcase for a second time in HFM! The organizers are truly showcasing diversity within their shows and providing  opportunities for designers of color to present their designs to the world. It’s important to me – as a woman of color, a Latina and AfroBoricua – [that] they understand my vision of dance as fashion. And my skirts have fashion written all over them!

Tell us about your upcoming collection “Resistencia y Libertá!” (Resistance and Freedom)

I am the creator of the Puerto Rican Bomba Flag Skirt®. A flag; its colors, represents a collective orgullo – pride for its people. Our flag was conceived and designed here in NYC. It was prohibited to fly The Puerto Rican flag in both Puerto Rico and New York at one time. Its pride is back after Hurricane Maria, [now] you see our colors in every town’s building and rinconcito (corner) in both Puerto Rico and the diaspora! Therefore, my new collection for 2021 is titled: “Resistencia y Libertá!” Where each skirt in the collection represents a social cause affecting Puerto Rico – such as the cultural resistencia by the people, No al Feminicidio, Boricua hasta en la Luna, Afroboricuaness, LGBTQ+ representation and support in the Bomba Community, ect. It is important to note that this is a brand and line designed and sewn by a Bomba dancer, a person from the community. These are skirts [are designed] with a mission. Part of the funds go to help families affected by the earthquakes in the South of Puerto Rico and organizations/community ensembles continuing the labor of safeguarding Bomba traditions in the island.

Any advice for the youth who want to connect and immerse themselves with their African roots and Culture?

Learn about all parts of you! That makes you unique and special. Speak to your elders: abuelas, abuelos, tias, tios and elders from your community. They have a lot of wisdom and years of experience you can learn from. Always connect to your culture, to your African roots! There is an African proverb I love : “Sankofa– in order to move forward you must know your past!” Know who you are, where you come from, so that you can pass the knowledge to your next generation! Ubuntu! (an African Proverb [that] means “I am because we ALL are!”)

For more information and to view images, please visit HERE.

What's Your Black? by Nyame Brown for use by 360 Magazine

Nyame Brown Featured at Oakland Museum of California

Nyame Brown Large-scale Blackboard Painting What’s Your Black? in Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism at the Oakland Museum of California

Exhibition Opening Saturday, August 7, 2021

Nyame Brown will be featured in Mothership: Voyage Into Afrofuturism at the Oakland Museum of California, opening August 7, 2021 and on view through February 27, 2022. The exhibition explores Afrofuturism as a strategy that imagines the world through a Black cultural lens and strives for a more just present and future. Curated by OMCA Curator Rhonda Pagnozzi and Consulting Curator Essence Harden, the exhibition celebrates Black imagination and includes the work of over 50 artists—including Wangechi MutuDavid Huffman, and Chelle Barbour, among others—historians, musicians, and collaborators. The show highlights the key role that the fantasy and science fiction of Afrofuturism has, as a strategy for Black community building by envisioning the African Diaspora and Black culture as central in a technically advanced and culturally rich civilization.

Brown—an Afrofuturist installation artist working in the media of painting, drawing, cut paper, blackboards, augmented reality, gaming, and fashion—addresses the Black imagination as a site for new ways to perceive the Diaspora as trans-Atlantic, psychic, and imagined—not just through unity and similarity, but by looking at the dynamics of difference. What’s Your Black?, part of his larger series of blackboard paintings, is envisioned as a tool to combat racial oppression, using a cultural production of the Black community to offer a space to create a new Black mythology. Building narratives like scaffolding around art historical references, hip hop, and personal history, he draws on these precedents as a fluid source of reference, rather than a fixed and linear projection. Reimagining contemporary notions of Blackness in visual culture, he challenges traditional representation and subverts it for a richer surreal language found in folklore and African American hyperbole. His depictions provide different ways to access African American culture through an approach that seeks social transformation and community revolution.

About Nyame Brown

Nyame Oulynji Brown received his BFA from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, and MFA from Yale School of Art and Architecture. He has been the recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Award, and the Richard Dreihaus Foundation Individual Artist Award, as well as a site-specific public commission for the Malcolm X Memorial Foundation, for which he executed a double portrait of Malcolm X and the artist Jack Whitten. His participation in Theaster Gates’ Black Artist Retreat in Chicago was followed by residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts (for work on his project The Mapping of Aaron, a model for radical Blackness), Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Brown was honored with a solo exhibition at The Museum of the African Diaspora, and has held solo exhibitions across the U.S., notably at the Hearst Museum at St. Mary’s College (John Henry’s adventures in a Post Black world) and the West Virginia University Art Museum. He has actively participated in group exhibitions in a variety of spaces in California, Illinois, Michigan and New York, and his work has been curated for inclusion at the Museum of Harlem, NY, and the Prizm Art Fair at the Mana Contemporary in Miami. He also took part with Carrie Mae Weems in the symposium The Interrogation of Forms: The Changing Culture in America at The Armory in New York. Brown was selected as the 2020 Tosa Studio Award recipient and was awarded a studio at Minnesota Street Project through 2021.

Town & Country’s 8th Philanthropy Summit – Pharrell Williams × José Andrés

The 8th annual Town & Country Philanthropy Summit kicked off today with an amazing conversation between Pharrell Williams and José Andrés, moderated by Soledad O’Brien.

See below for highlights from the panel as well as a link to view the interview in its entirety:

Pharrell Williams on how he thinks about philanthropy and what his goals are: 

“When we think about the African diaspora and people of color and what people who are deemed ‘minorities’ – which we are actually not—but that’s just the saying. There are three pillars that affect us the most—disproportionate access to education, disproportionate access to healthcare, and also disproportionate access to legislation. I think the first two are the ones that I want to focus on because they’re the ones that I feel like I can, through my resources and even my likenesses whenever needed, that I can actually make a difference in education and healthcare. These are the things that hurt us the most.”

José Andrés on why he focuses on food insecurity:

“I am one more cook in the universe of people that feed people in America or around the world. But people like me, we only feed the few. I am in the power, when you began thinking, we can also be a part of feeding the many. And where we can join forces to the many around America, and around many places in the world, in the most difficult moments, to be able to bring solutions. For me, food is my way of doing it, but what we do is only a drop of water in an ocean of empathy. It requires a lot of props of empathy to make things happen. Obviously what I do is more focused on emergencies, I don’t like to see people in mayhem; people who, already in the good times forgotten, that are voiceless, that nobody takes care of. It’s even worse when a hurricane, an earthquake, an explosion of fire, a pandemic, hits their communities even further. That’s the moment that I feel the urgency of now being yesterday, and I love to bring my community and try to be nice to as many people as we can in these moments of mayhem. At the end of the day, one plate of food at a time won’t solve every problem but at least you buy time. And you give hope to people who need it the most.”

Pharrell on how he and Jose met and joined forces: 

“Catherine Kimmel – the great connector – took me to an event. Here’s a guy that you really need to meet because, like you, he takes what it is he does and puts it to better usage and thinks about others… [at an event in New York] I was so impressed because there were so many chefs there but this guy – it was different. Yes, he’s a chef and he’s all about his ingredients and recipes, but his greatest meal was his operation and people and his ability to galvanize. It was really apparent that everyone was centered around him and all he wanted to do was feed people and bring people together and help people see that through our differences and our challenges are actually a lot of solutions and we can make the world a better place and I was really blown away… Then we met and we realized there were a lot of things he was doing that I could be instrumental in helping him.”

José on meeting Pharrell and what attracted him to Pharrell:

“I go and meet Pharrell and he’s even better, he’s the better half. What you get is a good vibe – it’s very difficult to describe. You know, you read about people, NBA players, amazing musicians and I’m not only looking for the amazing things they do, which I love, but what’s behind. When you see that behind is something very powerful that they’re putting at the service of others – their power, their money, their contacts but something even more powerful is their brain connecting with their empathy within their hearts… We wouldn’t be able to do what we do without people like them. Pharrell knows and more importantly loves his community. We were able to do it in Virginia Beach and be there because Pharrell opened to us the doors of being that community without being foreigners. We were able to partner with local people, with local restaurants.”

José on how his family impacted his values and his metaphor on life:

“My mom and dad always believed in longer tables, not higher ones. The table will always be ready for whoever showed up… My father would put me in charge of making the fire. I did that since I was young, and I would become very good at making the fire. But my father was very particular, and he would never let me near the chicken… [he would say] ‘My son I know you wanted to do the cooking, but actually doing the fire and controlling the fire is the most important thing, everyone wants to do the cooking without understand the fire. My son you already have the biggest gift. Control the fire, master the fire, and then you can do any cooking you want.’ (I don’t know if my father told me that story with that idea or I’m making it more romantic along the way as the years pass by). My father was giving me a mantra for life itself: find your fire, control your fire, master your fire, and then you can do any cooking you want in your life.”

Pharrell on his foundation YELLOW:

“For us, we want to even the odds. I know that I was a very lucky person who benefitted from my teachers seeing something in me. They didn’t know what they were telling me or which way the way to go but they kept telling me to keep going. I think that had a profound effect on me because essentially education is the toolbox that every human being is going to need out in the world just to function… What we wanted to do is look at a curriculum that could assess these children and figure out how they comprehend information best. Then eventually make a curriculum that is sensory based and not sensory biased. If you learn differently than how the curriculum is being taught, then automatically you’re deemed as remedial… with the YELLOW hub, it’s the space where kids can learn based on their way they process their information.”

Pharrell on the education system:

“I love public school teachers and you know, love the unions as well, but the education the educational system is antiquated. I mean just ask your favorite Fortune 500 CEO – they might not be the best, they might not be well read, but that does not stop their genius. And this is what we want. We want to make sure that we reach every child by properly assessing their learning potential and comprehension preferences, and making sure that they have a curriculum that is based for them. Sensory bias is an issue, but sensory based learning special educational systems is the future. That’s how every child slip through the cracks and we get to eventually even the odds.”

José on how the pandemic affected and influenced his philanthropy:

“I think this year has changed all of us profoundly… Fundamentally has changed me. First, obviously take care of your family. I tried to be a father who took care of his daughters and my wife and trying to keep them safe. Every mother and father tried to do that. But then I began thinking that to take care of my daughters, it’s not putting them behind walls, to take care of my daughters, is bringing down those walls and trying to work as hard to provide for the other daughters and sons of other people I don’t know that they are trying to achieve the same for their children. The way I’m going to keep my daughters safer is not behind walls but with longer tables, where I work as hard to provide for my daughters as I’m going to work to provide for the daughters I don’t know. Fundamentally this is what changed me.”

José on what people get wrong about philanthropy:

“Robert Egger, my favorite food fighter, he said that it seems philanthropy is usually about the redemption of the giver, when philanthropy essentially needs to be about the liberation of the receiver. It’s nothing wrong to give and donate time or money or your brain and feel good about it, but fundamentally in this pandemic, I learned that to give, it’s not good enough, that we must do good, yes, but we must do smart good.”

Pharrell on the changes he has noticed this year:

“Empathy is at an all-time low. It’s not where it needs to be. There’s a lot of sympathy and pity, but there’s not empathy. And we need more of that, we need more empathy, we need more humility, we need more gratitude. I think the pandemic, for me, has taken me to that place where that’s the only thing I can think about.”

View the summit here.

The T&C Summit continues tomorrow (June 22, 2021 @ 12:30-1:30 PM EDT) with a panel between the power media couple Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue. Register directly here.

TV2 illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

The Africa Channel Programming Expansion

The Africa Channel is Now Available to Millions More Xfinity TV Customers

Expansion Furthers Ongoing Commitment from Comcast to Increase Access to Best-in-Class Black Programming 

The Africa Channel (TAC), the longest running Independent, minority owned, media company focused on presenting pan-African content to global audiences, announced today that its programming, which includes scripted and unscripted series, films, documentaries, news and information programs, is now available to millions more Xfinity TV customers, in 60 new markets on Channel 1629, and also via the Xfinity Stream app. Xfinity customers with X1 can also say “The Africa Channel” into their Xfinity Voice Remote to access the channel. Sample content from The Africa Channel will also be featured, at no additional cost, on the newly-launched Black Experience on Xfinity Channel.

Launched in 2005, The Africa Channel’s mission is to introduce contemporary stories of Africa and the African diaspora to American audiences while presenting a more inclusive perspective on Black entertainment. The channel is a showcase for outstanding English language television series, feature films, documentaries and news about Africa and the global African Diaspora. It aspires to build bridges between cultures while reinforcing positive narratives of Africa through diverse content and programming.

“We have enjoyed a long-standing relationship with Comcast and are delighted to renew and expand our partnership with Comcast by reaching even more key markets across the US,” said Narendra Reddy, Executive Vice President and General Manager of The Africa Channel. “We feel that showcasing diverse content through the prism of contemporary Africa plays a seminal role in building cultural bridges, while connecting Black Americans to their heritage. We are particularly excited to partner with Comcast in their commitment to diversity through their Black Experience on Xfinity initiative.”

Through the programming and partnership with Comcast The Africa Channel aims to educate and connect all Black Americans to their heritage, and to specifically serve a fast-growing Black immigrant population who currently represent over 20% of the Black population in the US. The majority of TAC’s content has never been seen in North America. Now, with the network’s expanded distribution on Xfinity, millions of new viewers will be able to access this vast catalog of culturally relevant content.

“We’re thrilled to bring The Africa Channel’s unique, informative, and high-quality programming about African culture to an even larger audience than ever before,” added Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Video & Entertainment, Xfinity Consumer Services. “Our mission is to continue to amplify Black voices and stories by providing a platform for the next generation of Black storytellers. Comcast currently offers its customers access to more than 100 independent networks targeted to deliver content that centers culturally diverse audiences, and The Africa Channel is an integral part of this content offering.”
More viewers than ever before will be able to catch TAC’s newest slate of programming including:

  • World Wide Nate – This destination adventure series follows larger-than-life Chicago native Nate Fluellen, who fears nothing as he explores Africa’s abundance of death-defying thrills. Nate proves to be an excellent example for other intrepid African Americans seeking adventure and a connection to the continent that created today’s African American population’s robust ancestors. Airs weeknights at 9:00pm Eastern.
  • Amah Knows Best – This show is driven by platinum-selling South African rapper; iFani, who travels to China to learn how to cook from Chinese grandmothers. The adventure is also a cultural learning experience, not just for iFani but also for the Chinese people who unquestioningly embrace their unique visitor. Airs weeknights at 9:30pm Eastern.
  • Lockdown – Viewers experience a different kind of “lockdown” in this new prison drama. Set in a fictional high security female prison, the stories of these inmates reveal the paths which landed them behind bars. The gritty prison drama features an all-female cast with African American actress Tichina Arnold (Everybody Hates Chris) joining the line-up in Season 3. Airs Wednesdays at 10:00pm Eastern.

Xfinity delivers the best entertainment to customers, including thousands of hours of diverse programming from more than 100 networks and streaming services, via its X1platform. X1 delivers delivers the most comprehensive library of entertainment on one voice-controlled platform­–aggregating live TV, On Demand, and popular streaming apps from a growing collection of networks and streaming services. The expansion of The Africa Channel is part of an ongoing commitment from Comcast to increase access to best-in-class Black programming by providing a platform for the next generation of Black storytellers.

Please visit The Africa Channel’s website for more information on how to watch TAC and follow TAC on YouTubeFacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

About The Africa Channel  

The Africa Channel and its production arm, TAC Studios, is a showcase for the African continent’s most outstanding English-language television series, specials, documentaries, feature films, music, biographies and cultural and historical content. The channel’s mission is to open a daily window into modern African life, and in the process, help demystify Africa for viewers globally. The Africa Channel with offices in Los Angeles and Johannesburg, South Africa is available in North America and the Caribbean on cable systems such as Comcast, Charter/Spectrum, Rogers Ignite and Bell Fibe (Canada), and the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.

About Comcast Corporation

Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with over 56 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit Comcast’s website for more information.

Cardi B Illustration for 360 Mag

21 in 21

21 Afro-Latinxs to celebrate in 2021 and beyond! 

By: Javier Pedroza

It’s Black History Month, which gives the planet time to reflect on how African American achievements have contributed to US history and how African achievements have contributed to the world. Although, don’t forget it is important to highlight and celebrate Black accomplishments year around. Due to the current global climate, it’s important to become more knowledgeable and celebrate the Afro-Latinx population for its contributions to US history and the world.

After 2020, it is an especially important time to embolden the community to take part in the celebration of Black culture. This year, the Black History Month theme is “Black Family: Representation, Identity and Diversity” which explores the African diaspora and their contributions.

To really understand the African diaspora it is essential to acknowledge that there were more African slaves to Latin America than to the United States. “There were 11.2 million Africans who came to the New World in the slave trade and of that 11.2 million, only 450,000 came to the United States,” Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. said in a discussion about his PBS documentary series Black In Latin America. He added, “The real black experience, in terms of numbers, is all throughout the Caribbean and Latin America.”

Today, Latinx should understand their roots, which have an undoubtedly long history of African heritage. Hispanics & Latinx identities are beautifully complex, multifaceted and multidimensional. A Pew Research Center survey of Latinx, adults shows that one-quarter of all U.S. Latinx self-identify as Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, or of African descent with roots in Latin America. This is the first time a nationally representative survey in the U.S. has asked the Latinx population directly whether they considered themselves Afro-Latinx.

Many Latinos identify with their ancestral countries of origin – Puerto Rico, Colombia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Cuba, Peru, the Dominican Republic, etc. Others may also identify with their Indigenous roots and all of these experiences made contributions to Black History. A goal to have moving forward is to celebrate global Black History and continue to recognize the contributions African-Americans have made to the world, including achievements made by Afro-Latinxs & Afro-Indigenous people. It’s imperative for Latinxs to acknowledge their African & Indigenous heritage given that history and cultures are inextricably linked to slave trade in the Americas, genocide and the African Diaspora. 

Here’s a growing list of amazing Afro-Latino (a,x) heroes and their contributions. 

1. Arturo Alfonso Schomburg

(January 24, 1874 – June 10, 1938)

Place of birth: Santurce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Arturo Alfonso Schomburg, born to a Black mother and father of German descent, was a historian. Mr. Schomburg is considered to be one of the Fathers of Black History & a key figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Schomburg’s lifework consisted of research and preservation—work that would lead him to become one of the world’s premier collectors of Black literature, slave narratives, artwork, and diasporic materials. 

2. Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega 

(January 3, 1942)

Place of birth: East Harlem, New York

Contributions: Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega is an Afro-Boricua who established the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI). Dr. Moreno Vega has been an advocate for cultural equity, cultural studies and education. As the second director of El Museo del Barrio, one of the founders of the Association of Hispanic Arts, Network of Centers of Color and the Roundtable of Institutions of Color, Dr. Moreno Vega has contributed to assuring that the contributions of African and African descendants are integral to the lives of civil society in the Americas. 

3. Celia Cruz 

(October 21, 1925 – July 16, 2003)

Place of birth: Havana, Cuba

Contributions: Celia Cruz was a singer & recording artist born and raised in Havana, Cuba. She was one of the most iconic artists of the 20th century. Her many honors included three Grammy Awards and four Latin Grammys for recordings such as Ritmo en el corazón (1988; with Ray Barretto) and Siempre viviré (2000).

4. Dr. José Celso Barbosa 

(July 27, 1857 – September 21, 1921)

Place of birth: Bayamón, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. José Celso Barbosa was a Physician, Sociologist and Politician.  Known as the father of the Statehood for Puerto Rico movement, Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican, and one of the first persons of African descent to earn a medical degree in the United States.

5. Ruth Fernández (Ruth Noemi Fernández Cortada) 

(May 23, 1919 – January 9, 2012)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Contributions: Ruth Fernández, “El Alma de Puerto Rico Hecha Canción” (“The Soul of Puerto Rico Turned Song”) was a Puerto Rican contralto, actress, and a member of the Puerto Rican Senate. She was the first and only singer ever elected to the Senate of Puerto Rico. She was considered by many to be the Rosa Parks of Puerto Rico when she refused to enter the Vanderbilt Hotel in San Juan through its back entrance because she was a woman of color. The owners of the hotel stated that blacks had to enter through the rear of the building, but during one evening where she was set to perform at the hotel’s ballroom, she marched into the hotel via its front entrance. After this event, the hotel changed its policy.

6. Cardi B (Belcalis Marlenis Almánzar)

(October 11, 1992)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York

Contributions: Afro-Latina Cardi B is a Dominican & Trinidadian rapper, songwriter, and actress raised in the Bronx, New York. Recognized by Forbes as one of the most influential female rappers of all time, Cardi B is known for her aggressive flow and candid lyrics, which have received widespread media coverage. She is the highest certified female rapper of all time on the RIAA’s Top Artists (Digital Singles) ranking, also appearing among the ten highest-certified female artists and having the two top-certified songs by a female rap artist.

She is the only female rapper with multiple billion-streams on Spotify and became the first artist to top the inaugural Billboard Global 200. Her accolades include a Grammy Award, eight Billboard Music Awards, five Guinness World Records, five American Music Awards, eleven BET Hip Hop Awards and two ASCAP Songwriter of the Year awards. In 2018 Time magazine included her on their annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and in 2020, Billboard honored her as Woman of the Year. 

7. Rosa Alicia Clemente 

(April 18, 1972)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Afro-Boricua Rosa Alicia Clemente is the 2008 United States Vice-Presidential Candidate, Producer, Journalist, Political Commentator & Scholar-Activist. Rosa is a graduate of the University of Albany and Cornell University. She is currently a doctoral student in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies of University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

8. Congressman Ritchie John Torres 

(March 12, 1988)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Ritchie Torres is an Afro-Boricua politician who is a member of the Democratic party. He is the US representative for New York’s 15th congressional district. Torres was the first openly gay candidate to be elected to legislative office in the Bronx, and the youngest member of the city council. Torres won the November 2020 general election and assumed office on January 3, 2021. This makes him one of the first openly gay Black men elected to Congress (along with Mondaire Jones). This also made Torres the first openly gay Afro Latino elected to Congress. As such, he is one of the nine co-chairs of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus in the 117th United States Congress. 

9. Zoe Saldana (Zoë Yadira Saldaña Nazario) *Trending Now

(June 19, 1978)

Place of birth: Passaic, New Jersey

Contributions: Zoe Saldaña is of mixed ethnic heritage, with her mother being of Puerto Rican descent and her father hailing from the Dominican Republic. Zoe is the only performer to get star billing in more than one movie that grossed over $2 billion worldwide with Avatar and Avengers: Infinity War. 

10. Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos 

(September 12, 1891 – April 21, 1965)

Place of birth: Ponce, Puerto Rico 

Contributions: Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos was a Puerto Rican attorney, social activist, nationalist and the son of a mixed-race mother who was the daughter of slaves and a Basque father from a farming and landowning family. The latter not only provided no financial support but also did not legally recognize his son until he was 19, and Albizu Campos grew up in poverty. In 1912 he was awarded a scholarship to study chemistry and engineering at the University of Vermont. He transferred a year later to Harvard University, majoring in chemistry and literature and becoming the first Puerto Rican Harvard graduate. Many people in Puerto Rico consider Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos the father of the Puerto Rican Independence Movement. 

11. Carmelo Kyam Anthony

(May 29, 1984)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Carmelo Anthony is an Afro-Latino professional basketball player. He has been named an NBA All-Star ten times and an All-NBA Team member six-time Anthony also played in the 2016 Olympic Games, his fourth straight stint in the Olympics, which was a record for a US male basketball player, breaking the old record of having played in three Olympiads he shared with James and Robinson. He has celebrated his roots by giving back to Puerto Rico, remodeling basketball courts in a poor neighborhood 3 years in a row now. 

12. La La Anthony (Alani Nicole Vázquez) 

(June 25, 1981)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: La La Anthony is an Afro-Puerto Rican actress, host, producer and New York Times best-selling author. La La Anthony has supported charities such as the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Gabrielle’s, Angel Foundation, GLAAD and Voto Latino. 

13. Rosie Perez (Rosa María Perez) 

(September 6, 1964)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Rosie Perez is an Afro-Latina actress, choreographer and community activist. Rosie was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS by President Barack Obama in 2010. Among many honors, Rosie was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Fearless as well as three Emmy Awards for her work as a choreographer on In Living Color (1990–1994).

Perez has also performed in stage plays on Broadway, such as The Ritz, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, and Fish in the Dark. In addition, she was a co-host on the ABC talk show The View during the series’ 18th season. 

14. MJ Rodriguez (Michaela Antonia Jaé Rodriguez) 

(January 7, 1991)

Place of birth: Newark, New Jersey

Contributions: MJ Rodriguez is an African American and Puerto Rican actress who is among the largest cast of transgender actresses on the show Pose. MJ made history by becoming the first Trans woman to ever sign a beauty deal with Olay Body. MJ was awarded the Hispanic Heritage Special Trailblazer Award at the 31st Hispanic Heritage Awards in Washington D.C. 

15. Ramon E. Contreras 

(22-years-old)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York

Contributions: Ramon Contreras is a young political activist, advisor and filmmaker who is changing the nature of civic engagement by championing and encouraging minorities to participate in politics. Ramon is a fierce gun control enthusiast and founded YouthOverGuns, a platform advocating for change in underserved communities of color. He led a protest of thousands across the Brooklyn Bridge and is the National Strategist for the nation-wide organization, March for Our Lives. 

16. Laith Ashley De La Cruz 

(July 6, 1989)

Place of birth: Harlem, New York

Contributions:  Laith Ashley is a model, actor, singer-songwriter and entertainer of Dominican descent. He was the first transgender man to be featured in a Diesel campaign. Laith has been on the cover of countless magazines and has had featured stories published on countless others all around the world; ie, British GQ.

Laith was on the cast of the reality TV series, “Strut,” executive produced by Whoopi Goldberg, and raised the heart rates of viewers in his appearance on hit series, “Pose,” on FX. Ashley is also an activist, particularly in transgender issues. He worked with FLUX, a division of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which is dedicated to raising awareness and providing support to trans and gender-nonconforming people. 

17. Dianne Morales 

(June 21, 1967)

Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York 

Contributions: Double Ivy League graduate Dianne Morales is an Afro-Boricua with degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University. Dianne is the former CEO of several multi-million dollar social service nonprofits and is also the first Latina / Afro-Latina candidate for New York City Mayor. 

18. Johnny Pacheco 

(March 25, 1935 – February 15, 2021)

Place of birth: Santiago De Los Caballeros, Dominican Republic

Contributions: Johnny Pacheco was one of the most influential artists of Latin music. He was one of the creators of The Fania All-Stars and Fania Record (#latinmotown), the most successful record label in the history of Latin music. 

19. Aida Rodriguez (Aida Margarita Parada Rodriguez) 

(August 29, 1977)

Place of birth: Boston, Massachusetts

Contributions: Aida Rodriguez is a comedian, host, producer, actress and the first Latina / Afro-Latina (Puerto Rican & Dominican) to appear in two comedy specials airing in one month on both HBO and Showtime. Aida’s latest comedy special premiered on Netflix as part of the “They Ready” series hosted by Tiffany Haddish. Rodriguez has also appeared on Comedy Central’s This Week at the Comedy Cellar, The Nightly Show, five-time host of the PBS Imagen Awards, NBC Last Comic Standing’s finals, TRUtv’s Laff Tracks and is also a regular contributor for The Young Turks. 

20. Indya Moore 

(January 17, 1995)

Place of birth: Bronx, New York

Contributions: Indya Moore is of Haitian, Puerto Rican, and Dominican ancestry. They are an actor among the largest cast of transgender on the show Pose. Moore does not identify as a Latinx, and instead identifies as Afro-Taíno. In June 2020, in honor of the 50th anniversary of the first LGBTQ Pride parade, Queerty named them among the fifty heroes “leading the nation toward equality, acceptance, and dignity for all people.” 

21. Gina Torres 

(April 25th, 1969)

Place of birth: Manhattan, New York 

Contributions: Gina Torres is an actress and the first Afro-Latina to create, produce and star in her own show, ‘Pearson’. Torres won the ALMA Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Syndicated Drama Series for her role in Cleopatra 2525. Gina also received the Best Supporting Actress award by The Imagen Foundation (Spanish for “image”) Awards, the only premier Latino entertainment awards program dedicated to honoring the positive portrayal and creative excellence of Latinos and Latino cultures on screen. 

Fact Check: We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn’t look right, contact us!

The Roots, Naomi Campbell, 360 MAGAZINE

THE ROOTS × AFRICA DAY

THE ROOTS’ TWO ONE FIVE PRODUCTIONS & THE BRIDGE CELEBRATE AFRICA DAY BY PRODUCING 24 HOUR LIVESTREAM DJ PARTY FEATURING QUESTLOVE BEING KICKED OFF WITH AN INTRODUCTION FROM SUPERMODEL, ACTIVIST & PHILANTHROPIST NAOMI CAMPBELL: #THEROOTSAFRICADAY

EVENT SET TO LAUNCH AT 12AM EDT MONDAY, MAY 25TH

The Roots’ production company, Two One Five Entertainment, and The Bridge, which is executive produced by Tina Farrisand Suede, announce the upcoming #TheRootsAfricaDay celebration, a 24hour live-streamed event celebrating Africa and her Diaspora. The event will feature a DJ set by Questlove, DJ Zinhle, DJ Edu and performances by Seun Kuti, Mereba, Mafikizolo and more and be kicked off with an introduction from supermodel, activist and philanthropist Naomi Campbell, one of the most prolific and influential profiles of contemporary culture today. #TheRootsAfricaDay will launch at Midnight (12:00 AM EDT) on Monday, May 25th and can be viewed HERE on The Roots YouTube Channel.