African Arts, BK Reader, IAAF, International African Arts Festival, African Art Festival, Fort Greene, Denroy Morgan, Tito Puente Jr., Kulu Male African Drum Ensemble, Fred Wesley, Commodore Barry Park, IAAF, African Diaspora, African dance, African drumming, dance workshop, poetry, spoken word, arts and crafts, African marketplace, African food, African culture
photo credit: uwishunu.com

After celebrating its historic 50th anniversary last year, during a year of lingering COVID, the International African Arts Festival (IAAFestival2022) returns to Brooklyn, revived and stronger than ever.

IAAF– New York City’s longest-running celebration of worldwide African music, dance, and culture– will take place at Commodore Barry Park, located at Nassau and Navy streets in Fort Greene, from Friday, July 1, to Monday, July 4, 10:00am to 9:00pm, rain or shine.

Brooklyn, get ready: The festival has elevated its lineup of performances and new offerings. But what is also new and elevated is the price. What for years has been a donation event has become a ticketed event, with tickets starting at $15 for general entry; $60 for a weekend pass and $125 for all-weekend VIP experience.

Be sure to go here to get your tickets in advance, so you’re not caught out there at the entry to the park.

The International African Arts Festival began in 1971 as a fundraiser for the Uhuru Sasa Shule (“Freedom Now School”), a community-based initiative that educated youth and adults about African culture. The fundraiser was a small festival with about 20 arts and crafts vendors, local entertainers, and food prepared by parents of the students who attended Uhuru Sasa School.

Almost 2,000 people came to the event and the fundraiser was a major success. That early format of integrating entertainment, food, and marketplace drew increasing crowds annually and the event became known as the African Street Carnival.

Four years later, the carnival was moved to the field at Boys and Girls High School in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. There, the event became the African Street Festival. Today, and for the last decade+, it has resided at the much larger venue of Commodore Barry Park.

Check out the 2022 lineup:

Thandiswa

Thandiswa, the popular double platinum South African musician is headlining this year’s Festival, along with Trinidadian AfroSoca artist Olatunji; The Jazz of a Tribe Called Quest featuring Dashill Smith and Malcolm-Jamal Warner; R&B sensation Lyfe Jennings; and Oshun.

Other headliners are saxophonist Mike Phillips, the legendary Maimouna Keita African Dancers (MKAD), and Senegalese rapper ADH. Other performers include the groups Alura, Taifa Bartz, Nubian Messengers, PitsiRa, The Shaka Tonge Experience, and others.

In addition, there will be a chess tournament, a martial arts demonstration, plenty of food from the African diaspora, a fashion show and an African marketplace, spoken word, plus a play area and an arts and crafts zone for kids.

Lyfe Jennings

2022 IAAFestival Headliners

FRIDAY, JULY 1 (DAY 1)
TSCHAKA TONGE EXPERIENCE 
(3:55 pm – 4:40 pm)
MIKE PHILLIPS (5:05 pm – 6:00 pm)
JAZZ of a TRIBE CALLED QUEST featuring
DASHILL SMITH 
and MALCOLM-JAMAL WARNER (6:30 pm – 7:45 pm)
BAMBARA (8:10 pm – 8:50 pm)

SATURDAY, JULY 2 (DAY 2)
NUBIAN MESSENGERS (2:45 pm – 3:25 pm)
FRIENDS & STRANGERS (3:50 pm – 4:30 pm)
PITSIRA (4:55 pm – 5:50 pm)
THANDISWA (6:25 pm – 7:50 pm)
MAIMOUNA KEITA AFRICAN DANCERS (8:10 pm – 8:50 pm)

SUNDAY, JULY 3 (DAY 3)
OMAJJE’ & DESMOND THE SONGWRITER 
(3:00 pm – 3:40 pm)
ADH (4:05 pm – 4:50 pm)
BROADWAY IN BROOKLYN (5:20 pm – 6:10 pm)
OLATUNJI (6:35 pm – 7:45 pm)
HARAMBEE AFRICAN DANCERS (8:10 pm – 8:55 pm)

MONDAY, JULY 4 (DAY 4)
THE HIGH-BRID BAND (3:10 pm – 3:50 pm)
THE HARMONY EXPERIENCE (4:15 pm – 5:00 pm)
OSHUN (5:30 pm – 6:10 pm)
LYFE JENNINGS (6:30 pm – 7:45 pm)
ASASE YAA AFRICAN AMERICAN DANCE THEATER (8:10 pm – 8:55 pm)

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