Last night was the 15th anniversary gala celebration for AfriCaribe. AfriCaribe is an organization that promotes and teaches the values of the Afro Caribbean culture that are expressed thru the music of Bomba in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighboorhood. As I was having dinner last night I thought why did I get involved in this and I thought the answer is pretty simple. The traditions of Puerto Rico are under tremendous pressure to survive, Puerto Rico is at a crossroads politically and also at a crossroads culturally. The culture of Puerto Rico is not going to die but if it was to become a state a phenomenon similar to Hawaii will take place. The culture of Hawaii has taken a back seat to the interests of continental United States residents moving to Hawaii and thus has relegated a once rich and thriving indigenous culture to a secondary culture.
AfriCaribe thru its programs does not promote a political agenda but it teaches the richness of a culture that traces its roots from the Taino Indians and later on thru the Spanish conquest and the slaves bought from Africa resulting in a melting pot of rhythms and music in one of the richest musical traditions of the world. To me a beautiful thing is the diverse group of people that participate in the activities that AfriCaribe sponsors. The monthly “Bombazos” to me are a wonderful source of inspiration.
For the Puertorican diaspora and others AfriCaribe is a necessity to teach us and our children the values of our rich heritage, close your eyes and imagine that you are in the batey.
To view images of the gala click on link, http://charliebillupsphotographer.pixieset.com/africaribe15yearanniversarygala/