After receiving an invitation from President Abdoulaye Wade of the Republic of Senegal, Sen. Constance Johnson will be attending the opening week of the World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures in Dakar next month, December 10-17. The Oklahoma City senator will be joining an official U.S, delegation which includes members of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators.
“I am greatly honored that President Wade has invited our caucus to attend this spectacular international event,” said Johnson, D-Oklahoma County. “Events like this one are so important to building relationships among the nations. Through the arts we can grasp a better understanding of our different cultures.”
The theme of the 2010 festival is African Renaissance and will honor a nation exemplary of this central theme: Brazil, an epicenter of the African diaspora. It will also host artists from across Africa as well as North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe, among other places. The programming will span numerous disciplines: music; art, photography and design exhibitions; fashion shows; a literature event; a retrospective of films by African and diaspora directors; theater; dance; urban culture (rap, graffiti, etc.); science & technology exhibition; a food & wine festival; and traditional architecture, among other activities.
The U.S. delegation will participate in a major symposium on “Africa’s Place in Current Global Affairs” which will take place during the Forum on African Renaissance at the Festival. The Forum will also highlight Africa’s development progress, including efforts to reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS and achieve the other Millennium Development Goals by 2015.
The World Festival of Black Arts and Cultures has been held only twice before, in 1966 and 1977. Culminating a monumental year in African history—including the first FIFA World Cup on the continent and the 50th Anniversary of Francophone Africa’s independence—the third edition of the festival will be held in Senegal’s capital city this year, as it was in the festival’s first incarnation 45 years ago. The African Union has appointed the Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade, to mount the largest global gathering to date of black artists, writers, journalists, filmmakers, intellectuals, scientists, civil rights leaders, elected officials and youth leaders including a delegation of prominent African-American personalities from the U.S. as well as and other luminaries, and anticipates that people will travel from all over the world for the occasion.