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The Chicago African Festival of the Arts Reminds Us We Can Celebrate Ourselves and Each Other

by onelove
The Chicago African Festival of the Arts Reminds Us We Can Celebrate Ourselves and Each Other

At the 2017 African Festival of the Arts in Chicago , the black diaspora came together to celebrate the music, art, fashion, dance and customs of their heritage. Walking around the festival held each Labor Day Weekend September 1-4, 2017, one could see diversity in the black community through languages, skin tones, art, music and dance.

African Festival Art

This year the festival organizers were deliberate in creating programming that reflect many regions of the world that represent the black diaspora in the United States.  African Americans represents the largest majority. Black people in the United States come from Caribbean countries like Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago, the continent of Africa including countries like Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon, and South Africa. South American countries like Brazil, and Afro Latino people from Central America.  They speak in French, Portuguese, Jamaican Patois, Haitian Creole, Swahili and tribal languages from different African countries.

African Festival Chicago world music


The festival opened Friday night with “Millennial Night” that featured popular artist WizKid from Nigeria along with guest Taylor Bennett, brother of Chance the Rapper. Although WizKid canceled due to illness,  his music crosses genres like Afrobeat and Hip-Hop. His song “Come Closer” featuring Drake is a current global hit.

Saturday night, the festival focused on an all day “Reggae Block Party” where Chicago top djs performed. The headliner for Saturday was Wayne Wonder, an award-winning dancehall singer who is known for the hit song “No Holding Back.” Wonder’s performance was rained out, but he stayed an extra day to open for Sunday’s main act Wyclef Jean.

Wyclef Jean, from Haiti, is known for being lead singer in the 1990s Fugees band. He rocked the Sunday show paying homage to black music from the diaspora.  Jean shared how growing up in Brooklyn New York, he got first opportunity to rap with Jamaican dancehall singers. The crowd went wild when he played Caribbean Carnival music, Haitian kompa music, and popular African dance music by P-Square. He sang some songs in Spanish that he had written for artists like Shakira and Carlos Santana. During his performance, tons of people waved Haitian flags along with some waving the Jamaican and Ghanian flags.

African Arts Festival Chicago Wyclef Jean

Another highlight on Sunday “Inspiration Night” was the world music stage where a Mexican American named Lady Sol, performed and taught dancehall and hip-hop dance to an audience. The day was filled with unity among people who culturally are different but share a common root.

The festival closed Monday with a “Soul Fest” that celebrated African American music. The featured band “Heat Wave” are known for their 1970s funk/disco music.

African Festival Chicago Performance

The richness of black heritage spans regions, skin tones, and languages. We can learn a lot from celebrating ourselves and each other. As with any people, black music and culture is influential is worthy of celebration.

We Celebrate When the Most Liked Tweet Promotes Love Over Hate

by onelove
We Celebrate When the Most Liked Tweet Promotes Love Over Hate
Former President Barack Obama most liked tweet of all time

With the recent news where white nationalist rallied and killed one person in Charlottesville, Virginia it is hopeful to hear news that the most liked tweet of all time promotes unity, diversity and love over hate. It is more evidence that we as a society want unity.

Former President Barack Obama who wrote the much liked tweet in response to the Charlottesville terror attack, that killed one woman. The tweet showed a photo of the former president, looking into a window where toddlers from different racial backgrounds looked and smiled back at him. To caption the photo, Obama tweeted these words from Nelson Mandela.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…”

As of the writing over 3 million  people liked the tweet and more that 2 million people retweeted it.


We celebrate when diversity and unity is at the forefront in society. In times when it seems hate is more common than love, tweets like these remind us that love can overcome hate.

The former president continued the tweet with more from Nelson Mandela and wrote:

“People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love…

“…For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

We at Unieros will continue highlighting these moments  that bring us closer to a equal multicultural society.

O Magazine Photographs Aim to Have ‘Honest and Passionate’ Conversation About Race

by onelove
O Magazine Photographs Aim to Have ‘Honest and Passionate’ Conversation About Race

In the May 2017 issue of O Magazine, a series of photographs by Chris Buck challenges the concept of race by showcasing white people in roles that stereotypically shown as minorities.

O Magazine photo by Chris Buck

In one of the photographs, a group of Asian women, seated in a nail salon, are getting pedicures by white women. In another photograph, a young white girl stands before a wall display filled with black dolls.

O Magazine photo by Chris Buck

The third photograph shows a Hispanic woman seated in a luxury home getting served by a white maid. These photographs, according to O Magazine aims to challenge and help encourage an “honest and passionate conversation” about race.

The series of photographs appear in O Magazine by Buck who was commissioned to do the work.

“I feel like whenever I photograph someone of color, I have some awareness of the fact that they have a different background than me. One thing I try to do is to treat people to same. If you look at my book of portraits, you see people of color. You’ll see they look just as awkward as my pictures of White people. My portraits are about the vulnerability and humanity of individual people. I want to see that in people of all different backgrounds.”

Conversations about race is often a difficult issue among a multi-ethnic society in the United States. Lucy Kaylin, editor-i- chief of O Magazine said the idea for the race series came from Oprah.  Kaylin said,

“The main thing we wanted to do was deal with the elephant in the room — that race is a thorny issue in our culture, and tensions are on the rise. So let’s do our part to get an honest, compassionate conversation going, in which people feel heard and we all learn something — especially how we can all do better and move forward.”

In addition to the series of photos, blog posts about racism including a post by Monique Truong who wrote about the racist names her classmates called her as a Vietnamese growing up in North Carolina.

As Truong wrote, it is everyone’s responsibility to stand up to the indignities of racism. With photo series as these, hopefully, we come one step closer to a reality where everyone is treated with dignity and humanity.