Here's Why This Year's Afro-Latino Fest Will Spotlight Black Spirituality

Ailyn Robles for New Visual Collective

The Afro-Latino Festival will return to New York City on Saturday, July 8th to celebrate both the Caribbean and Latin American roots. 

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The two-day festivities will promote more than 30 performing artists, officials, panelists, activists and innovators throughout NYC. Historically, Afro-Latino roots have a deep tie into Santeria, Vodou, and Candomble. In the Haitian culture, vodou is the belief of using the body and spirit to transfer spiritual energy to the human world. While Santeria and Candomble describe those who practice and worship saints using rituals and ceremonies.

The power and knowledge in these practices are taking over the streets of the Big Apple in connection to spirituality, resistance, and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. A panel titled “#BlackLivesMatter in Latin America, Part 3: Diaspora, Spirituality & Resistance," will feature Duke University Ph.D. student Ayanna Legros, along with various other forums advocating for black lives and the essence of spiritual importance. This year is the fifth festival year tributing women of the diaspora honoring female artists such as Latin Grammy winner, Milly QuezadaAmara La Negra, Calma Carmona and more.

The creators of the festival believe it is a crucial time to bring awareness of religious rituals during this political warfare. They encourage Latinos to embrace their African roots and stand with our brothers and sisters in creating a unified bond. Everyone can explore the Afro-Latin creative craft vendor, food, and experience the beats from our ancestors. 

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The Afro-Latino festivals will take place at Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, July 7. Please check out the website for more information and tickets.