The UN General Assembly declared 2015-2024 as the International Decade for People of African Descent, calling upon the urgency to “strengthen national, regional and international cooperation in relation to the full enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights by people of African descent, and their full and equal participation in all aspects of society.”
Vancouver’s very first African Descent Festival, taking place on July 22 and 23, answers this call.
Held at Thornton Park, the cultural celebration will feature over 30 performers, art installations, a craft fair, and more as it shares the great diversity of the African people. Akin, a Nigerian-born musician who fuses hip hop, R&B, and reggae, will be headlining the festival’s entertainment stage, alongside showcases from CBC Searchlight 2016 winner Desiree Dawson, krumping dance collective Wreckage Fam, local poet Sarah-Audrey Mome, Afrobeat duo Afrocen3, and multi-instrumentalist OLUWA TONI. There will also be representation of other cultures, including performances of Brazilian Samba and Chinese dance, in order to promote an attitude of inclusivity among all ethnic groups.
A strong emphasis will be placed upon the histories of the people of African descent within Vancouver itself as well, with the opportunity to learn more about the various black communities that have existed throughout the city — Black Strathcona, the neighbourhood that was home to Vancouver’s first black population from the early 1900s to the late 1960s; Hogan’s Alley, the lane that ran in between Union and Prior, from Main Street to Jackson Avenue; and Salt Spring Island, where black communities lived in the late 1800s.
A public square on the ADF’s first day, July 22, will feature speakers like the Honourable Dr. Hedy Fry, British Columbia Senator Mobina Jaffer, and Black Lives Matter Vancouver.
African Descent Festival
When: July 22 – 23, 2016
Where: Thorton Park – 1166 Main Street