The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in partnership with the Port of Long Beach, hosted an Afro-Latinx Festival on Feb. 24 to celebrate African legacy in Latino culture with food, drinks, art workshops, and live performances by talented people.
The event leads you into three spaces, the first was the Viva Events Center where art workshops, craft vendors and community organizations gathered together to inform attendees while having a good time.
This room was filled with attendees walking around admiring handmade crafts, jewelry, artworks, and children awaiting to get face painted at the workshops.
Diana, a vendor at the festival and creator of Sin Fin Designs, creates Chicano-inspired handmade clothing, crafts, home decor, stickers, etc. The list goes on as she expresses her gratitude for participating in this festival.
“There’s no end with what I make with different materials and images,” she explains.
“I identify myself as Chicana and I think participating in this event is the perfect opportunity to learn about Latino and African culture and how similar they both can be.
“My favorite part of this event is connecting with people with similar yet different cultural backgrounds. Especially when I met a black woman who was actually Mexican! She made it clear she was Mexican by wearing a t-shirt that said ‘Black Love Brown Pride’ it was really interesting.”
The next location was outside of the museum by the parking lot where hungry attendees would grab a bite from food vendors like The Tropic Truck, Mikhuna Peruvian Truck, Tender Grill Gourmet Brazilian, and a stand from Sweets by Leilani.
The most eventful part of the festival was the live performances at the Robert Gumbiner Sculpture & Events Garden starting off with Lidereibigi Garifuna Ensemble, a group of individuals that performed and danced to Wanaragua, a 17th century warrior dance.
Later, representatives from the Long Beach Public Library hosted a story time presentation named “Cuentos y Cantos,” meaning “Short Stories and Songs,” in the screening room.
After that ABADA Capoeira took the stage to perform a taste of Capoeira and Brazilian culture for everyone to enjoy.
Lastly, the tropical Afro-Latin group Quitapenas, translated as “to remove worries,” encouraged attendees to hit the dance floor with their colorful melodies incorporating aesthetics from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
Anthony, 21, says the festival was very eventful, “I wanted to witness the coming together of different latino backgrounds. My favorite was Quitapenas performance, the music, the dancing was a fun experience.”
Adults and children who attended the Afro-Latinx Festival would say they had a great time. Whether it was the music, the food, the face painting, or meeting new people, people came together to appreciate the African legacy that has inspired Latin American culture and beyond.