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Resistance to the institution of slavery was very widespread, persistent, and to be found in almost every aspect of the Enslaved life. All groups of Enslaved Africans , regardless of sex,  or work had an anti-slavery mentality. Women were among leaders of resistance movements. Women’s leadership roles, however, have been minimized in writings about slave resistance

Here are a selection of Caribbean rebellions led by women, cutlass in hand and bravery in heart; this is how they did it:

 

Mary, Agnes & Matilda

In 1878, one of the most violent rebellions took place in the Danish Caribbean islands. Locally known as the Fireburn rebellion, this labor riot sent a loud and clear message to plantation owners.

These three rebel women, Queen Mary, Queen Agnes and Queen Matilda, along with a whole host of other enslaved Africans traveled around to 50 plantations and burnt down houses, sugar mills, fields and stores. It is said that over half the city of Frederiksted burned down.

To this day Queen Mary, Queen Agnes and Queen Matilda are considered heroines. The local population erected statues of the three women and one of the main roads on St. Croix is named Queen Mary Highway.

Flore Bois Gaillard

Flore Bois Gaillard is known to have been a biracial enslaved St. Lucian woman who was detrimental in the Battle of Rabot.

Flore Bois Gaillard, growing tired of the harshness of both the French and immediately after the English who occupied the land, escaped the plantation in 1793. After running away and taking refuge in the woods, she came across other escaped Africans who had formed an army. The army planned a rebellion to rid the country of the British for good and declare St. Lucia a free country.

Flore Bois Gaillard rose in the ranks and quickly became a military leader, her planned counter-attack at Soufriere being pivotal in the success of wiping out many British slave owners, burning down plantations and freeing several slaves who later joined the army. Some say that Flore killed her former master and burned down his plantation.

While there is not a huge amount of knowledge about the details of Flore Bois Gaillard, she remains as a significant national treasure in St. Lucian history. The natural monument made to honour her, Piton Flore, is named after this St. Lucian iconic figure.

Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile

 

Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile was absolutely key in part of the Haitian Revolution, and in the legacies of honouring it.

Often callously considered to be a ‘mad woman’, Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile’s story is saturated with traumatic incidents which may have contributed to mental illness. Being a survivor of rape by her slave master as well as witnessing the death of her family, this Haitian revolutionary carried a lot with her into the rebellion.

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Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile, who was also known as Défilée, Défilée-La-Folle, escaped her slave master to join the fight for Haiti’s liberation.

Marie Sainte Dédée Bazile is most known for retrieving, transporting and burying the mutilated body of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, the first Governor-General and later Emperor of an independent Haiti, in a cemetery in Port-au-Prince. This defiant act allowed for his body to be respectfully put to rest.

Carlota Lucumí

Carlota Lucumí (La Negra Carlota) was brought to Cuba as an African woman of Yoruba origin. Today Carlota is known for the rebellions in the Triunvirato plantation in Matanzas, Cuba during 1843 -1844.

As conditions intensified on the plantations in Cuba, many revolts happened between 1830 to the late 1840s. In 1843, Lucumí and another enslaved woman, Firmina, began to plot a rebellion alongside the other enslaved on the plantation.

The plot was uncovered by the slave masters and Fermina was beaten and imprisoned. Carlota Lucumí continued with the rebellion, coordinating with her talking drum to lead a raid on November 3 1843 to free Firmina and the other enslaved people. Under Carlota’s genius and bravery, they burned down the torture house, killed the overseer’s daughter, Maria de Regla, and then forced Julian Luis Alfonso, the owner of the Triumvirato plantation, to flee for good.

In the ongoing two-day rebellion, Carlota and her army destroyed five sugar plantations. They fought until the very end and on the last day that the last plantation was destroyed, Lucumí and Firmina were both captured and executed. Carlota’s body was tied to a horse and dragged until she died.

Her memory is still honoured today amidst the ruins of the sugar mills of Matanzas, Cuba.

Nanny of the Maroons

Queen Nanny of the Maroons is a key figure in Jamaican liberation history and is widely known across the Caribbean. Details of her origins cannot be confirmed entirely, but it is said that she was born in Ghana,  to the Ashanti tribe before setting up her rebel base in the surrounding mountains of Portland, Jamaica.

Queen Nanny established her own Maroon community and engaged in Guerrilla warfare tactics and was an outstanding military leader.

Throughout Nanny’s developing Maroon community and various successful raids and riots, the British tried but could not capture her or her highly-trained army.

Details of Nanny’s existence, while wildly accepted to be true, have become mystified over time. Due to the extent of her success in her battles against the British, many believed that she practiced magic to aid her and her armies and was an Obeah woman.

The British tried and failed multiple times throughout 1728 to 1734 to capture the Maroons. In 1739, Cudjoe, another Maroon leader, signed a treaty with the British which granted the Maroons land to settle on, New Nanny Town.

Nanny’s legacy is strong and she remains as a symbol of resistance and power in Jamaica until today.

Come spring 2022, Afro-fusion superstar Burna Boy will become the first Nigerian artist to headline Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The Grammy-winning artist will take the stage on April 28, 2022, marking the first time a Nigerian artist has ever headlined at the iconic New York venue. Find an announcement video and concert poster below.

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Last year, Burna Boy released Twice as Tall. Since then, he’s stayed busy by dropping new songs like “Kilometre,” “Question,” “Want It All” with Polo G, and his Headie One collaboration “Siberia.” And, earlier this year, he featured on Black Sherif’s “Second Sermon (Remix),” which you can hear below.

Fans can begin registering for early pre-sale access to tickets here starting Wednesday, Dec. 15, at noon ET through Thursday, Dec. 16, at 10 p.m. ET. Citi cardmembers will have access to purchase pre-sale tickets starting Tuesday, Dec. 14, at noon local time until Thursday, Dec. 16, at 10 p.m. local time through Citi Entertainment. Tickets go on sale to the general public at noon ET on Friday, Dec. 17, at Ticketmaster.com.

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An Afro-Colombian journalist worked behind-the-scenes for Disney to ensure its “Encanto” film told the story of her native Columbia in all of its rich Afro heritage and culture.

Edna Liliana Valencia, who’s focused her career and personal life on highlighting the importance of Afro representation, brought her expertise with her to Disney when they reached out for her help with the 2021 animated story.

According to Travel Noire, she shared her contributions to the animated movie in an interview with Infobae. While working with Disney; she supported directors, producers and animators to create the most accurate representation of the Afro-Colombian people.

“Colombia is an extremely diverse country, where there are Afro, indigenous, and peasant farmers. Even between Afrocentric regions, there are differences, because there is no homogeneity in Afro-descendants in Colombia,” Valencia told Infobae.

In the film, a family lives in a magical home in the hills of Colombia. Each of the family members has a super power—except for one child.

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“For me, it was important that the Afro-Colombian characters not be caricatured in an exaggerated or stereotyped way,” she shared. She also stated that Columbia is an extremely diverse country where no Afro-descendant is exactly like the other.

Over the year and a half process, Valencia contributed to the characters’ costumes, as well as hair and other features. For her, “Encanto” is historical because Colombian children now have a movie of their own to look up to.

“The people of my generation grew up with the reference of a distant Disney princess, who did not look like us, who lived a life of queens that we could not have,” she said. “Now, the girls of this generation are going to grow up with a Disney character that looks just like them, dress just like them, with curly, wavy hair, who eats arepa and plays shuffleboard … it gives us the chance to believe that we are the protagonists of history and feel that we are part of that international narrative.”

Other Colombian-inspired details in the film included Chocó, the region where Valencia was born, and chonta marimba, African braids with colored shakiras. Valencia said she’s seen the movie many times with the team, as well as with loved ones.

“In the end, I could take each character of the Madrigal family and compare it with someone in my family and I think it is something that can happen to all Colombians.”

For this week, we have picked a biopic drama ‘King Richard’ as our movie of the week.

The movie, directed by Reinaldo Marcus Green, looks at how the sisters from Compton, California, became two of the greatest athletes in tennis history and the role that their domineering dad played in helping them get there.

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Armed with a clear vision and a brazen, 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his two daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. Training on tennis courts in Compton, California, Richard shapes the girls’ unyielding commitment and keen intuition. Together, the Williams family defies seemingly insurmountable odds and the prevailing expectations laid before them.

Over the course of nearly three decades, the Williams sisters have gone from being teen phenoms to sport icons, winning 30 Grand Slam titles between the two of them. However, Serena said her father was the driving force behind her and Venus’ success — which is why the film is named after him.Will Smith King Richard Everything We Know So Far

The Louisiana native didn’t play tennis himself, but “he stayed up many nights watching films so he could teach us,” Serena said in a 2003 interview with Oprah Winfrey. “He taught our mom and then they taught us. … Our father doesn’t get enough credit. He showed us how to serve, and we have the biggest serves in women’s tennis.”

The film covers a seven-year period in the ‘90s when Richard was trying to get his daughters noticed by elite coaches — but Serena admitted that the things happening on screen still felt real to her now.

“There’s a scene where my dad says…” she said in a November 2021 interview with Smith before catching herself. “Well, Will says that you’re doing this for every Black girl. And that really hit me in a different way because obviously at the time we didn’t know.”

Check out the trailer below to get started:

Buried and forgotten for almost 200 years, a cemetery of enslaved Africans who arrived in Rio de Janeiro in the 18th and 19th centuries has been turned into a museum.

Discovered in the 1990s during a renovation process of an abandoned house in Rio de Janeiro, the Museum of Pretos Novos Cemetery(Newly Arrived Blacks Cemetery Museum) now lies in Rio’s downtown area, and it is one of the most painful sites from the slavery era in Brazil.

Pretos Novos was the name given to the enslaved Africans who had recently arrived from the continent and disembarked in Rio de Janeiro. The so-called Cemitério dos Pretos Novos operated between 1769 and 1870, a few blocks from the old slave market, located in Valongo, a stretch of the Rio’s port area.

The enslaved African cemetery was built by the Brazilian government for burying enslaved Africans who arrived in Rio extremely ill from the terrible conditions on slave ships, and died in the first days after arrival in Brazil. It is said that roughly 30,000 newly arrived men and women were buried there, which makes Pretos Novos Cemetery the largest enslaved Africans cemetery in the Americas.

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Merced Guimarães dos Anjos, bought the house in the mid-90s where the bones were discovered, and said that she and her husband decided to open the place for visitors, when they found out that it was a former cemetery.

“We had never heard of a cemetery in the area where we bought the house. When we found the bones, we contacted local authorities. It was doomed to be forgotten for eternity if we had done nothing to preserve the place,” she said in a documentary about the museum that was released on YouTube.

The examined teeth of people buried in the Pretos Novos Cemetery reflects this diversity of Africans who were brought to Brazil as slaves.

“Enslaved Africans came from all over the continent to Brazil. It also indicates the huge dimensions of the slave trade carried out by the port of Rio,” said Ricardo Ventura Santos, researcher in the sector of Biological Anthropology at the Brazilain National Museum. He coordinated the excavation group.

The research work showed that the bodies were thrown in ditches and burned, and the place also functioned as a waste dump, indicating the treatment reserved to enslaved Africans. Besides human bones, some belongings of the “pretos novos” were also found, like food scraps and everyday objects discarded by the city’s inhabitants.

The analysis of the site showed that the majority of the remains belonged to children and teenagers. However, the first bone found in the archeological site was from a woman, in 2017. Archaeologists estimate that she died at about 20 years old.

One of the aspects that caught the attention of the researchers was finding teeth with signs of polishing, which is the result of a form of oral hygiene practiced by many African peoples.

By analyzing polish marks it may be possible to identify which species were used, where they existed, and thus where the person using them came from. The work continues, and they are still revealing more remains and seek to reconstruct other personal dramas that are part of one of the most painful moments in Brazilian history.

The Pretos Novos Museum is open for visitors, but only for scheduled groups to ensure safety during the continued pandemic.

To schedule a visit, you can visit here.

Source: Travel Noire

Racism, poor education systems and lack of opportunities bring problems that Afro-Brazilians have to face during their lifetime. However, there are some who challenge this and reach heights beyond those they have dreamed about. This is the case for Ingrid Silva, a Black ballerina and activist from Rio de Janeiro who is revolutionizing the professional ballet scene in New York.

The mother of a 1-year-old girl, works as a lead ballerina with the Dance Theater of Harlem.

Ingrid Silva gained global prominence by becoming the first Black ballerina to have her pointe shoes painted in her skin color. Seen during her performances in New York, the ‘afro’ pointe shoes have become so popular, that in 2018 they were sent for exhibition in The Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

But, this Black ballerina has more to offer than dancing itself. She has also become an important voice for more diversity within the ballet world.

She is the co-founder of Blacks in Ballet, created with the purpose of highlighting black ballet dancers and sharing their stories.

“Every Black ballet dancer has a different background, a different path, a different story to tell, and that’s what Blacks in Ballet wants to share with the world,” Ingrid Silva told Travel Noire.

In 2017, she founded EmpowHer NY, a non-profit organization that aims to amplify women’s voices in matters regarding various areas, while fostering female sorority.

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“We are a platform that generates opportunities for education and network for those aspiring to claim their own path.”

Last May, she returned to perform “The Movement of Motherhood,” now available on video on her YouTube channel.

Silva’s story is remarkable, indeed. It started when her mother, a house maid, decided to put her in a dance school in order to take her away from the streets at the age of 8.  The dance school was part of a social project located in a slum in Rio de Janeiro.

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“Although I have always been involved in sports, it was there that one of the neighbors introduced me to the social project called Dançando para Não Dançar (Dancing for not being in Trouble, in Portuguese), created by Thereza Aguilar. I didn’t think much of it, but I took the test and passed. I was only 8 years old. Little did I know that, later, that simple activity would take me to the United States,” Silva told Vogue Brazil Magazine during a past interview.

It was at this Dance School that Ingrid Silva’s life changed.

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Seeing her remarkable talent as a ballet dancer, one of her instructors told her to send a video to the Dance Theater of Harlem School for a scholarship opportunity.

She got her place out of 200 girls who had auditioned when she was 19.

The next step was to find the means to survive in New York. Without knowing a word in English, she had to think not only about the classes, but also finding a job. She worked as a dog walker, nanny, at events, among other occupations.

Often times, she thought about quitting. Feeling upset and frustrated, she called her mother to share her feeling.  Her mother’s answer was always the same, “Daughter, there is nothing for you in Brazil.”

But soon after,  things started to change for the better, after she was noticed by the director of the Dance Theater of Harlem,  Arthur Mitchell. Since then, Ingrid Silva has become one of the most prominent Black dancers, with several good reviews from dance experts who pointed her as one of the most talented dancers in the US.

Now, she is committed to promoting her book in order to inspire other Afro-Brazilians to pursue their dreams.

Photo Credit: Courtesy

“Dancing was able to take me to other areas that made me grow not only as a professional, but as a human being. My book is not just about ballet. This is the story of my life, which led me to be this woman who, today, is very sure about her importance and her place in the world”, said the Black ballerina.

The book was written during the pandemic, and it is only available in Portuguese.

Amsterdam’s Kwaku Festival is one of the most exciting times in the city and is known as a summer staple. Held every year in Nelson Mandela park, it is held for consecutive weekends throughout the summer.

It’s marketed as a “multicultural fun event” that takes place in the Zuidoost community where fest-goers enjoy live music, dance, sports, and more. But the real reason why people come together is to celebrate the abolition of slavery in the Dutch Antilles and Suriname in 1863.

The thousands of people who worked on the plantations in the Dutch West Indies were finally released. The Dutch were reportedly among the last to abolish slavery, after Denmark in 1803, Britain in 1834, and France in 1848.

Kwaku Festival History

The Kwaku Summer Festival is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in Amsterdam, attracting around 300,000 visitors each year.

The festival (formerly Kwakoe) originally began as a small soccer tournament for youth, primarily those of Surinamese descent, in the Southeast neighborhood of Amsterdam, who could not go on a summer vacation.

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Soon after, it became a big deal attracting soccer teams from all over the Netherlands, and became a tournament that not only fostered sportsmanship but community as players would share food.

In 1983, the event became a full-blown festival celebrating Surinamese culture.

“Under the inspiring leadership of Winston Kout, Kwakoe grew in the 1990s into the current mega happening that has become an integral part of the annual festive calendar,” the event’s website reads.

Kwaku Festival has become a beloved and lively celebration of art, food, sports, and culture, that now includes a diverse mix of ethnicities and backgrounds.

There are hundreds of vendors where fest-goers can indulge in the flavors of Suriname, Caribbean, African, and Creole cultures.

The Kwaku Festival program changes each year but what remains consistent are the concert stages, Caribbean market, and one of the most beloved events: the soccer tournament. Amateur teams of all ages compete against each other for the Kwaku Cup.

Food certainly does play a huge part and is a key draw of the festival. Its street vendors are legendary and offer a huge variety of cuisines from

African food, to Surinamese, and Middle Eastern food to name but a few. Many of the street vendors offer their delicious dishes exclusively for the festival so don’t miss out!

 

Source: Travel Noire

Keeping its promise to release more African content, Netflix ’s South African series, Jiva , is finally set to debut on the streaming platform.  South African culture and society take center stage in Netflix’s ‘Jiva’, a drama series centered on aspiring street dancer Ntombi. Juggling between family obligations, a dead-end job, and a less-than-ideal love life, she realizes that her talents may be her way out of Durban. Ntombi cobbles together her dance crew, The Trollies, with her sights set on winning a lucrative cash prize at the Jiva Loxion dance competition. Of course, there are obstacles and conflicts on the path to success.

Netflix’s ‘Jiva’ might be a derivative of Jaiva or township jive, an African dance form and music subgenre believed to have influenced Western breakdancing. It is closely associated with the development of the rhythmical Zulu music style of Southern Africa, mbaqanga. But it is also affiliated with contemporary trends due to the homogenization of the artform in the US and the UK that makes the dance style seem watered-down and less traditional. Whatever its origin, Jiva speaks to the broad appeal of dance not just in South Africa but globally.

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“It will resonate with people because dance is just so much a part of our lives in South Africa and it resonates all over the world,” said showrunner Busisiwe Ntintili in an interview. “We dance at funerals and weddings. We dance when we graduate. At good and bad times, we dance. It is a joyful reminder, especially in these times where we didn’t expect this to happen; it’s a reminder that there is still joy to be had in life.”

The story is a work of fiction but is rooted in real-world issues. The Netflix original is a glimpse into modern African youth culture and but also addresses the challenges and resistance that women worldwide face in pursuit of their ambitions. At its core, this is a story of humanity that many can identify with irrespective of nationality. Ntintili hopes that this common thread will pique interest in more programming from the continent.

“Global audiences are hungry for African content. For a long time, they never saw it. Before we had streaming platforms, you only got to see what was broadcast in your country. People in America and Asia never saw any African content. There is a hunger for seeing how people in the rest of the world live.”

All five episodes of Jiva are streaming now on Netflix.