Africans in New York got a taste of home during the first official weekend of summer with a festival that highlighted the continent’s culture. African fashion, food and music were celebrated at the fourth annual African pop-up festival in Brooklyn, New York.
The event, a precursor to the African Restaurant Week, usually held in October in New York, saw over a dozen vendors from different parts of New York and neighboring state, New Jersey in attendance. Fashion was the main attraction of the event.
"The basis of my shop is basically customer authentic Moroccan stuff from Morocco because I’m from Marrakech, so I have like kimonos, bags, Islamic headdresses that are handmade, so that is one of the things we specialize in. We also do like urban clothing for the youth as well."
Agyeman Prempeh Senkyire of Adinkra Republic, New York:
"I will say my brand serves 3 purposes; number one is to educate; number two is to inspire and the third piece is that we give 10 percent of our proceeds to support children with autism. Just to give you a little background on the brand, the brand is called the Adinkra republic.... . Back in 1957 when Ghana gained independence, they released the symbols and made it available to the general public. For me working in corporate America, I found myself lost because I have to wear suit and tie all the time and I couldn’t wear my traditional African attire, so I took the symbols that my grandmother taught me about and I put the symbols on the socks. "
Besides clothing and its accessories including jewelry, there was also skin care products available.
"So, I basically have a wellness company. I make natural skin care products. I have 3 children with really sensitive skin, so I started making soaps and then I expanded but I’m also a doula and so I make these care packages for my family to remember them to take care of themselves as well as take care of their babies , explains Kaleigh Zschuschner from Nautralista Care, Brooklyn, New York.
With nearly all COVID-19 restrictions lifted across the United States, organizers of the African Pop-up Festival have a packed itinerary for the second half of the year starting with the African Restaurant week in New Jersey in July.
With the summer season now in full swing across the United States, organizers of the African pop-up festival say they’re looking to expand the festival to other states including Atlanta in the south in hopes of spreading the African culture and giving a further boost to African businesses. From Brooklyn in New York, Nii Akrofi Smart-Abbey, Africanews.