This past weekend, Ottawa, Canada played host to the first annual AFROWORLD Fest, presented by Equal Chance. Originally scheduled to be a live event, organizers decided to continue with a free online festival following with the theme “Safe At Home” following the spike of COVID-19 cases in the capital.
The three day event was part of Equal Chance’s efforts to break the stereotypes, fight racism, discrimination and promote unity, love and respect among all members of our society.
On Saturday night, AFROWORLD Fest presented the concert performances and fashion show spread out across different venues and locations around the capital, from the Ottawa sign in the Byward Market and Spark Street to Studio 20/20 on Bank Street. The festival doubled as a strong display of unity between Black and Indigenous people.
Offering opening remarks was Algonquin elder from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation, Albert Dumont. First Nations and African dancers then took turns expressing themselves in dance. Also among the performers were local and international acts including Phyllisia Ross, City Fidelia, Le R Premier, Melissa Vales, Zilla Manikongo, Daphne Richardson, Jupleci, RND Freeman, and Montreal’s Uplift 514. Among those offering remarks were Her Excellency Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo, High Commissionner of South Africa in Canada, Yeezy Brand Strategist Sakiya Sandifer, and hip-hop artist Vince Mensa.
Then on Sunday evening was “I HAVE NO WORDS – THESE ARE MY WORDS” an empowering community dialogue inspired by a project by producer and photographer Debbie Miller. The conversation included the Assistant coach of the Toronto Raptors, Her Excellency Sibongiseni Dlamini-Mntambo, community builders Nathan Hall, Justin Jah Kota Holness, Devlin Taillon, John M Ny; Christian Nyce; Fatuma Kou; Mardochée Nyce; Uyanda Mntambo, Manok Lual, singer Lonely Boy xoxo and ally Peggy Taillon.
Lastly, the festivities wouldn’t have been complete without the AFROWORLD Market. Vendors included artist and author Fatouma Kou, My Opulence by Justine Bahita, Chez Kwetu Afro Bohemian Home Decor, Omalicha Something, Arnie Sweets Cake, Patty Cakes, Gizele Events, Resa Solomon Baccanalle restaurant, and chefs Roxanne Mbickay and Angelica Mawete.
In case you missed all the festivities, don’t worry. AFROWORLD Fest 2020 is available below.
Day 1: AFROWORLD Fest
Day 2: “I Have No Words” – A Community Discussion