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.
“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.
“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.
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.
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.
“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.
Soul Cap, a Black-owned brand that creates swimming caps for natural hair, was denied certification for approved Olympic swim gear.
The hats, made by the company Soul Cap, have been rejected by the International Swimming Federation (Fina) for use during the olympics, citing: “the athletes competing at the International events never used, neither require to use caps of such size and configuration,” adding the caps deviate from “the nature form of the head.”
Soul Cap, created in 2017, is a company that designs swimming caps specifically for natural hair in order for athletes to compete easily without struggling with cap size or the threat of damaging their hair. Following the decision to not be allowed at the olympics, Soul Cap released a statement explaining their disappointment and what it means for inclusivity within the sport.
“We hoped to further our work for diversity in swimming by having our swim caps certified for competition, so swimmers at any level don’t have to choose between the sport they love and their hair.”
SOUL CAP founders Toks Ahmed and Michael Chapman were understandably disappointed, calling out FINA’s “failure to acknowledge the diversity of competitive swimmers.” The duo established SOUL CAP in 2017 when they took adult swim lessons and found that they couldn’t buy caps to fit over their hair. The brand also partnered with Alice Dearing, the first Black woman to compete in swimming for Great Britain at the Olympic level.
“For younger swimmers, feeling included and seeing yourself in a sport at a young age is crucial,” Ahmed told Metro. “‘How do we achieve participation and representation in the world of competition swimmers, if the governing body stops suitable swimwear being available to those who are underrepresented?’ There’s only so much grassroots and small brands can do — we need the top to be receptive to positive change.”
On Twitter, the brand noted that they’re not considering the decision as a setback, just an opportunity to open the dialogue around inclusion in swimming.
Youtube Music is opening applications to the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022, with the aim to enable Black artists to commercialize their work.
Launched last year, YouTube’s $100 million #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund was created to support emerging Black musicians to produce art that amplifies the voices, perspectives, and stories of all Black artists around the world
Applications for the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund Class of 2022 will open on 21 June 2021.
YouTube Music is also launching a new partnership with music education institution 1500 Sound Academy, founded by Grammy-award-winning songwriters and producers, James Fauntleroy and Larrance “Rance” Dopson. Through the inaugural #YouTubeBlack Music Future Insiders Scholarship, YouTube will fund ten full scholarships to the Academy’s Live Online 1500 Music & Industry Fundamentals programme.
Alex Okosi, Youtube’s EMEA managing director for emerging markets, said, “The YouTube Music team is excited to expand the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund and create new opportunities while also reflecting on the progress made to date.The six-month scholarship term will see recipients undertake courses in music production, engineering, songwriting, mixing, music business and much more.”
Through the inaugural Class of 2021, the #YouTubeBlack Voices Fund provided resources which included dedicated one-on-one support, seed funding, training, and networking programs that enabled the 21 grantees to achieve incredible growth – in YouTube and in their careers.
From @2Chainz‘ Money Maker Fund to @FireboyDML‘s Africa Month celebration, let’s shine a light on one year of achievements with the #YouTubeBlack Voices fund. We’re excited to expand our commitment to Black music, read about open applications for 2022 ↓ https://t.co/QzOAuMsQVp
— YouTube Music (@youtubemusic) June 9, 2021
For more info visit blog.youtube.
Daniel Kaluuya made his Saturday Night Live hosting debut tonight, and his funny monologue skewered a serious topic, made fun of a Golden Globes glitch and served as a thank-you to a long-running cast member of NBC’s late-night staple.
The London-born actor started off by saying, “First of all, I know you’re hearing my accent and thinking, ‘Oh no, he’s not Black — he’s British.” After affirming that he indeed is both, he said, “Basically I’m what the royal family was worried the baby would look like.
”The joke — which elicited some of the biggest laughs of the night — was in reference to Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s high-profile interview with Oprah in which they alleged that an unnamed palace official questioned them, while she was pregnant, about supposed concerns over their baby’s skin tone.
Kaluuya ran with the topic, saying people ask him what’s worse — British racism or American racism. “Let me put it this way,” he said. “British racism is so bad, white people left. They wanted to be free — free to create their own kind of racism. So that’s why they created Australia, South Africa and Boston.
He then talked about his Oscar-nominated supporting role as Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in Judas and the Black Messiah, and a clip was played of his Zoomed acceptance speech.
“I was muted — can you believe that? I told the best joke of my life, and I was muted. I felt like I was in a sunken place,” a reference to his other Oscar-nominated role in 2017’s Get Out.
Turning semi-serious, Kaluuya said he was grateful to be hosting and name-checked a certain 1990s Nickelodeon series.
“When I was 9 years old,” he said, “I wrote a play that got performed at Hampshire Theatre with real actors and everything. This is a true story — that play was based on Kenan & Kel. And that play led me down a path that got me to this stage tonight with Kenan [Thompson] backstage right now. And I just want to take this moment to in front of Kenan and the whole world to say: Thank you, Mom. Thank you, God. And thank you Kel.”
Aw, here it goes.
Watch Kaluuya’s monologue
African stars, Burna Boy and Wizkid both won at the 2021 Grammys which took place last night. They join Sikiru Adepoju as the only Nigerian artists to ever win a Grammy Award.
Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album category with ‘Twice As Tall’ album. Wizkid won the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé; Brown Skin Girl.
Burna Boy was nominated alongside albums such as Fu Chronicles by Antibalas, Agora by Bebel Gilberto, Anoushka Shankar and Amadjarby Tinariwen,
Burna Boy had previously been a one-time nominee for his African Giant album under the Best World Album category at the 62nd edition of the Grammy which held in the last year,
“This is a big win for my generation of Africans all over the world and this should be a lesson to every African out there, no matter where you are, no matter what you plan to do, and no matter where you’re from you can achieve it because you’re a king,” Burna said in his acceptance speech.
Wizkid won the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé; Brown Skin Girl, from Lion King: The Gift album emerging victorious over Life Is Good by Future featuring Drake, Lockdown by Anderson Paak, and Adore You by Harry Styles & Goliath Woodkid
The 63rd Grammy Awards took place in Los Angeles and was hosted by SA’s very own, Trevor Noah.
Other highlights include; Beyonce breaking the record for the most Grammy wins after picking up her 28th award and Megan Thee Stallion won best new artist.
The ceremony had no audience, and performers were separated to maintain social distancing.
The African giant Burna Boy will perform at the 2021 Grammy pre-show which will be livestreamed on GRAMMY.com at 3 p.m. EST on March 14.T
The 2021 Grammy Awards were originally scheduled to take place in January before they were postponed to March due to the “deteriorating COVID situation in Los Angeles.” In December, it was announced that Talking Heads, Salt-N-Pepa, Selena, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and more would receive Lifetime Achievement Grammys.
The premiere ceremony will be hosted by Jhene Aiko. It will kick off with an ensemble of previous Grammy nominees including Gregory Porter, Afro-Peruvian Jazz Orchestra, Regina Carter, and Kamasi Washington performing “Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)” in tribute to the late legend Marvin Gaye.
Burna Boy is nominated at the 2021 Grammy Awards in the Best Global Music Category alongside Tuareg desert rock group Tinariwen, NYC afrobeat outfit Antibalas, Brazilian-American Bebel Gilberto, and British-Indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar. Previously known as the international category of Best World Music Album, the category was renamed to “make it more modern and inclusive.”
Other nominees include Beyoncé, Doja Cat, and Megan Thee Stallion up for Record of the Year, H.E.R for the Song of the Year, Buju Banton for Best Reggae Album, and more.
This is Burna Boy’s second Grammy nomination after losing to the iconic Angelique Kidjo during the last ceremony. Considering the praise Twice as Tall has received, we hope this is the year he takes the award home.
Tobago-born actor Winston Duke is set to play celebrated Jamaican nationalist Marcus Garvey in an upcoming movie for Amazon Studios that will also see Nigerian filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu on the director’s chair, Deadline reported.
Marcus Garvey, Jamaica’s first national hero, advocated for Black nationalism in his native country as well as the United States. While alive, he spearheaded a Pan-African philosophy which galvanized a global mass movement known as Garveyism .
Garvey died at the age of 52 in London in 1940 from complications brought on by two strokes.
Titled Marked Man, the upcoming project – which is reportedly set in the 1920s – will focus on a young Black man who joins the then J. Edgar Hoover-led FBI and then goes ahead to infiltrate Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA). The character’s loyalty to his race and country is tested during his assignment as he “grows weary of both men’s actions,” according to Deadline
The upcoming project was inspired by a 2008 biography titled Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey. The book is written by Colin Grant. The script for Marked Man is also written by seasoned British playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah.
In an Instagram post on Friday, Duke shared his excitement about the project and how he is honored to portray an icon whose ideology was very instrumental in shaping his development.
“As a Caribbean immigrant, activist, and global citizen, one of the most seminal stories in my development has been the words and works of Marcus Garvey,” the 34-year-old posted. “Today I am blessed to announce that I have the opportunity to bring his story to life, along with a kick ass crew of collaborators.”
Duke added: “It’s not lost on me how important and meaningful this is, not only for the generations that already know his contributions to the Black liberation landscape but for those who have yet to know and embrace him and what he stood for. Can’t wait to step into this one and bring you all along for the amazing journey.