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“Giants of Jazz: Art…

Oct 21 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… more

Amazing Scavenger…

Oct 21, 2017 - Jul 03, 2027
Turn New Orleans into a giant game board with this fun scavenger hunt… more

Backyard Grooves

Oct 21, 2017 - Jan 10, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages.   more

Boo at the Zoo

Oct 21 - 28, 2017
Bring your little ghosts and goblins to Boo at the Zoo Presented by Bryan… more

Bruno Mars: 24K Magic…

Oct 21 - 21, 2017
Join us for Grammy Award winner and world-renowned, multi-platinum selling… more

Dim Sum Brunch at…

Oct 21, 2017
Sister to Gulotta’s acclaimed MOPHO, Maypop located in downtown’s… more

Double Dose

Oct 21, 2017 - Jan 10, 2026
ActionActionReaction and friends keep the dance floor energized with mixes of… more

East of the…

Oct 21, 2017 - Jan 07, 2018
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) will present East of the Mississippi:… more

East of the…

Oct 21, 2017 - Jan 07, 2018
The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) will present East of the Mississippi:… more

Houmas House Presents…

Oct 21 - 31, 2017
For the month of October, there will be a 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm haunted tour.… more

Krewe of BOO! Parade…

Oct 21 - 21, 2017
This spooktacular Halloween event is unlike any other parade in the world and… more

Magazine St. Art…

Oct 21, 2017
Magazine St. Art Market is a unique way to experience the best of our local… more

Mahalia Jackson…

Oct 21 - 21, 2017
Join us at the Mahalia Jackson Theater for Ballet Hispanico! Led by… more

NOLA Cochon de Lait…

Oct 21 - 21, 2017
The First Annual NOLA Cochon de Lait Festival will take place on October 21,… more

NOLA Mac n Cheese…

Oct 21 - 21, 2017
Join us for the 1st Annual Mac N Cheese Fest. The inaugural Festival will… more

Oktoberfest NOLA

Oct 21 - 21, 2017
Cost $8 - children 12 and under free - tickets available at gate … more

Saenger Theatre…

Oct 21 - 28, 2017
Plan your escape to the new musical comedy getaway ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE!… more

The Fountain Lounge…

Oct 21 - Nov 18, 2017
Join us for Amanda Ducorbier at the Fountain Lounge in the Roosevelt Hotel.… more

The Historic New…

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

The House of Groove

Oct 21, 2017
The House of Groove is a House Party and a live improvised musical journey… more

“Giants of Jazz: Art…

Oct 21 - Dec 17, 2017
This spring, art and music converge as The Historic New Orleans Collection… more

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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