It was the first summer festival I accidently found when they were still on Fulton Street right in front of Boys and Girls High School in Brooklyn. I will never forget it because that is where I saw India Arie live. Performing with her guitar on a small stage with happy people all around clapping and smiling, totally relaxed too as if we were at a family gathering. It was magnificent! She is star and a natural in every sense.
I didn’t know the name of the fair back then but later on found out that it was the International African Arts Festival. What started as a PTA’s block party fundraiser 44 years ago had outgrown the streets of Fulton and moved to Commedore Barry Park to become a full fledged festival that celebrates African culture around the 4th of July.
The IAAF is also the festival that celebrates natural hair like no other. Most of the photos of my first exhibition were taken at this festival at a time when it wasn’t hip to rock a natural hairstyle. The famous afro picture from Lurie, author of Afro State of Mind, was taken right there at the festival and back in 06 I enthusiastically blogged about the Evolution of Natural Hair Show.
I loved the festival so much that I became a volunteer. When they needed help with their website I had the pleasure of building it.
The 44th edition of the festival is as promising as ever. Just check the pictures of the Libation which was already a success.
What is new this year is the Natural Hair Parade for the Youth. Not only a parade you don’t want to miss. With healiners like Thalib Kweli and Living Colour it’s the festival you want to be at this year. Keep checking the schedule fro African Dance and other Shows.
Of course I’ll be taking photos for my next exhibition and of course I hope to see you there!
Here is just to give you an idea of what you can expect