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"Organ & Labyrinth"-…

Oct 17 - 17, 2017
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“Giants of Jazz: Art…

Oct 17 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… more

Amazing Scavenger…

Oct 17, 2017 - Jul 03, 2027
Turn New Orleans into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Oct 17, 2017
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Oct 17 - Dec 29, 2017
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

East of the…

Oct 17, 2017 - Jan 07, 2018
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) will present East of the Mississippi:… more

East of the…

Oct 17, 2017 - Jan 07, 2018
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) will present East of the Mississippi:… more

Houmas House Presents…

Oct 17 - 31, 2017
For the month of October, there will be a 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm haunted tour.… more

Singer/Songerwriter…

Oct 17, 2017 - Jan 06, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. House of Blues New Orleans hosts a new weekly… more

The Historic New…

Oct 17 - 21, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection's Laura Simon Nelson Galleries for… more

Comedy Gold hosted by…

Oct 18 - Nov 1, 2017
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages (content may not be appropriate for all ages).… more

Dickie Brennan’s…

Oct 18 - 18, 2017
Due to popular demand, Dickie Brennan's Tableau Restaurant and The Historic New… more

The Fountain Lounge…

Oct 18 - Dec 27, 2017
Join us at the Fountain Lounge every Wednesday  to enjoy music from Tom… more

Heart of the House

Oct 19, 2017 - Jan 08, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. Heart of the House puts the spotlight on House… more

Jazz in the Park

Oct 19 - Nov 2, 2017
Jazz in the Park returns this fall running from September 14th to November… more

Lilith in Loa…

Oct 19, 2017
From Laurel Canyon to the West Village, Nashville to New Orleans, the LOA Bar… more

The Fountain Lounge…

Oct 19 - Nov 18, 2017
Join us for Amanda Ducorbier at the Fountain Lounge in the Roosevelt Hotel.… more

Boo at the Zoo

Oct 20 - 28, 2017
Bring your little ghosts and goblins to Boo at the Zoo Presented by Bryan… more

Concerts in the…

Oct 20 - 20, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection's popular outdoor music series Concerts in… more

Golden State Warriors…

Oct 20 - 20, 2017
Come experience NBA basketball at its best as the Pelicans take on the NBA's… more

"Organ & Labyrinth"-…

Oct 17 - 17, 2017
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Maafa Commemoration Honors Ancestors of the Middle Passage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media contact:
Viola T. Johnson Blunt
504.813.9008

June 24, 2017

 

17th ANNUAL MAAFA COMMEMORATION
Prelude to the New Orleans Tri-Centennial

Ashé Cultural Arts Center proudly presents the 17th Annual Maafa Commemoration on Saturday, July 1, 2017, at 7:00 a.m., at Congo Square, Armstrong Park in New Orleans. The community, Essence Festival goers, and visitors from around the world are invited to participate in this sacred ceremony where we honor our ancestors. This year's Maafa is labeled as "A Prelude to the Tri-centennial" as we approach the city's 300th birthday.

Maafa is a Kiswahili word that means "great tragedy" or "horrific tragedy," referring to the period called the Middle Passage or Transatlantic Slave Trade. During that time, millions of captives from Africa were brought to the Americas where they were used as a labor force, persecuted, beaten, and many, separated from their families forever.

Hundreds of people attired in white clothing will come together as one, gathering, primarily, to pay tribute to African ancestors who died during the Middle Passage. The ceremony includes multi-denominational words of healing, ancestral songs, a tribute to indigenous people of Louisiana, and the releasing of white peace doves.

Drummers, musicians, Mardi Gras Indians and African dancers will lead the procession from Congo Square through historic Tremé, with a brief stop at St. Augustine Catholic Church, the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Slave. From there, the procession continues through the French Quarter, with pauses at Café Maspero, the Royal Orleans Hotel, and the St. Louis Exchange Hotel where slave auctions regularly took place and slave masters transacted business. The procession then continues to the Mississippi River where, amid high spirits, drumming, dancing, singing and praying, flowers will be released and ancestors will be honored by name, including deceased family members, and individuals who were victims of acts of senseless violence. Shuttles will be available to return participants to Congo Square.

In the year 2000, Ashé Cultural Arts Center's founders Carol Bebelle and Douglas Redd, engaged by Leia Lewis who coordinated the first Maafa celebration, joined with other similar celebrations around the country. The vision for the Maafa Commemoration continues to grow. It was influenced by the work of St. Paul Baptist Church in Brooklyn, which was then led by New Orleans-born Rev. Johnnie Ray Youngblood, where annually a month-long series of activities form the Maafa remembrance.

Said Bebelle, "the local Maafa Commemoration offers an opportunity for the whole community to pause and reflect on this great transgression against humanity. It allows us to personally, and as a community, agree to distance ourselves institutionally, in word and deed, from that transgression, its legacy and the evolved practice of racism in our civic, social, spiritual and personal lives."

Related pre-Maafa activities are listed below:
June 27, 2017 Day trip to Whitney Plantation in Wallace, LA and The River Road African-American Museum in Donaldsonville, LA.
Departing from Ashé, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. at 8:00 AM

June 29, 6-9PM Community Dance & Drum Workshop with Danys "LaMora Perez Prades & Oyu Oro Experimental Dance Ensemble from Santiago de Cuba
Featuring Bill Summers and Alexey Marti
Location: Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, LA

June 30, 5-7PM Inaugural Maafa Side by Side Exhibition, curated by Gason Ayisyin
Location: Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans, LA

June 30, 7-9PM Maafa Concert featuring Dee-1, Tonya Boyd-Cannon, LaMora, Oyu Oro, Bill Summers, Alexey Marti, and the Arrowhead Jazz Band
Location: Ashé Power House, 1731 Baronne Street, New Orleans, LA

Support for the Maafa comes from Ashé Cultural Arts Center, the Jean Lafitte National Historic Park and Preserve, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, the City of New Orleans-Office of Cultural Economy, and the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University. The Maafa is partially supported by the Kellogg Foundation (America Healing), the Ford Foundation, and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Sponsorship comes from Southwest Airlines, the official airline for Efforts of Grace, Inc./Ashé Cultural Arts Center.

LaMora and Oyu Oro appear as part of "One People, Many Voices: Afro-Cuban Connections," which is supported in part by the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, through a grant from the NALAC Diverse Arts Spaces Grant Program.

For more information call 504.813.9008 or 569.9070.

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ABOUT ASHÉ CULTURAL ARTS CENTER
Ashé Cultural Arts Center, located at 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. in New Orleans, is an effort to combine the intentions of neighborhood and economic development with the awesome creative forces of culture, community and art. We use culture and art to promote individual, community and economic development. Central to this mission is the recognition that American society has a marginalized view of African-Americans and their participation in the social and culture of the nation. Our primary goal is to interrupt that view, and to promote social and cultural equity. Operating since 1998, Ashé is a gathering place for emerging and established artists to present, create and collaborate in giving life to their art. The campus of this multi-faceted institution contains a dedicated art gallery, three event halls and often houses concerts, banquets, seminars, theater, a year-round youth program and more. Visit www.ashecac.org or call 504.569.9070 for more information.

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For photos, more information or to schedule an interview, contact Viola T. Johnson Blunt at 504.813.9008 or violatjohnson@gmail.com

 

"One People, Many Voices: Afro-Cuban Connections," which is supported in part by the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, through a grant from the NALAC Diverse Arts Spaces Grant Program.

For more information or to schedule an interview call Viola T. Johnson-Blunt at 504.813.9008 or 504.569.9070.

###

 

About Ashé Cultural Arts Center
Ashé Cultural Arts Center, located at 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. in New Orleans, is an effort to combine the intentions of neighborhood and economic development with the awesome creative forces of culture, community and art. We use culture and art to promote individual, community and economic development. Central to this mission is the recognition that American society has a marginalized view of African-Americans and their participation in the social and culture of the nation. Our primary goal is to interrupt that view, and to promote social and cultural equity. Operating since 1998, Ashé is a gathering place for emerging and established artists to present, create and collaborate in giving life to their art. The campus of this multi-faceted institution contains a dedicated art gallery, three event halls and often houses concerts, banquets, seminars, theater, a year-round youth program and more. Visit www.ashecac.org or call 504.569.9070 for more information.

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Viola T. Johnson Blunt at 504.813.9008 or violatjohnson@gmail.com.

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