For the fourth of July weekend, Glocally followed some of Newark’s, aspiring entrepreneurs. To where you might ask, well to Brooklyn. Yes, Brooklyn to the 43rd Annual International African Art Festival (IAAF). The 4 day IAAF event (Thursday July 3rd to Sunday July 6th) will be in full swing for its celebration of African and Diasporan Arts; featuring Music, Dance, Theatre, Spoken Words, Visual, Culinary, Fashion, Hair as well as programming for elders, youth and children.
The International African Arts Festival began in 1971 as the African Street Carnival, a PTA’s block party fundraiser for an independent school in Bedford Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn with local entertainers, about 20 arts and crafts vendors, along with food prepared by the parents. Almost 2,000 people came to the event and it was a success. The International African Arts Festival (IAAF) has been part of the Brooklyn’s cultural landscape for 40 years. Each year a committed team of Board members, consultants, part-time seasonal staff and volunteers, work together to transform a city park into an outdoor African cultural oasis that celebrates traditional and contemporary expression of various African cultural art forms.
Today, the IAAF is a community-based, non-profit organization that produces an annual event attracting an estimated 75,000 attendees from all over Brooklyn, New York City, the United States and from around the world. The small vendor market has grown into an African Marketplace with over a hundred micro-enterprise vendor/small business membership database of entrepreneurs. The market place offers an array of one of a kind, handcrafted, original designs of merchandise ranging from jewelry, urban fashion, t-shirts, body oils to imported African fabric, artifacts and furniture, original paintings, hand-carved marble sculptures and much more. In addition, the outdoor Food Court offers the community an array of talented cooks and chefs preparing a wide variety of scrumptious foods. The savory favors range from traditional soul food to spicy Caribbean dishes, to African, Latin, vegetarian food, seafood and even gourmet style raw foods.
Many of Newarkers and New Jerseyans pilgrimage to Brooklyn, including Newark artist, authors, historians, and entrepreneurs. So we met up with several Newark businesses to get their take on the experience.
One such entrepreneur is Kaylan Jones, the emerging artisan behind Forever Audacious. She has worked in a variety of media, but favors Jewelry design. She began designing accessories while studying Fashion Merchandising & Textile Design at Virginia State University (Petersburg, VA.). As her affinity for designing and crafting grew stronger since childhood, she quickly decided to follow in her family’s footsteps of entrepreneurship, and started her own small business in 2008.
“Our goal is to provide a fresh aesthetic when creating novelties of ART that are Overly Stimulating to the eye, and Fabulously Functional. Each Piece is carefully handcrafted with LOVE and thoughts of NOT being synonymous with the next. We like to color outside of the lines here at Forever Audacious™ So Please Join in if you DARE.”
“My work is an experiment in emotion. I’ve never been disconnected from art. Since childhood, I always drew, painted, or crafted something. Culture, my upbringing, colors, and textures are the forces that drive me to create. Inspirations are drawn spiritually, sonically and visually. Very seldom do I start with a blueprint of what I set out to manifest, it’s very FREEFORM. I experience grave excitement while handcrafting my pieces, which further connects me to them, as a portion of my wandering imagination is included. Do Indulge.”, saids Ms Jones.
Glocally then asked, Why did you decide to vend at IAFF?
Ms Jones, “The 43rd International African Arts Festival is always FUN …. For years I’ve attended as a spectator/consumer and thoroughly enjoyed myself and my girlfriends would always say “Kaylan, girl why aren’t you out here with your stuff they’d be all over it without question” and I would always reply “yea I know, I know… I’ll be out here Soon”! Well, this year, Soon Became Now, and the festival attendees did just that, Forever Audacious was “WELL RECEIVED” to my excitement. I sold lots of Pieces. I even made some connections to have my handcrafted jewelry sold in two boutiques ( Williamsburg,BK & CONNECTICUT). So in short, Forever Audacious did make a good first impression at the Festival and for that I am pleased, so pleased that I’ll return for the next one! ”
Another such entrepreneur was Calvin Quallis, Founder and Partner of Center Stage Cuts – a barbershop and natural hair salon located in Newark, NJ. Mr. Quallis introduced a new product hair care line called “Nude by Center Stage Cuts”.
Nude by Center Stage Cuts is a family-owned company created by . Nude was created out of desperation to find the most effective, yet natural ingredients, to replenish and treat the dry, dull and damaged hair of the customers that visited Center Stage Cuts on a daily basis. In 2011, we started out by mixing up batches of hair and skin products to give to friends, family and eventually customers. After receiving wonderful reviews and praises for our handcrafted goodies, we decided to create additional products to fulfill the specific needs of our customers and loved ones. Since then, we have refined our handmade creations to include a truly effective line of products, all made from a superior blend of extracts, natural butters, organic oils and botanical infusions.
Our products are natural, healthy and beneficial for you and your entire family. Customers can order online at www.allnaturalnude.com and will receive 10% off entire online order with code IAAF until July 21st.
Another New Jersyan was the Master Teacher Mfundishi Jhutyms has mastered over five languages and is an expert in reading, writing and translating the Ancient Language of the Nile Valley Afrikans commonly called Hieroglyphics. Mfundish pronounced (Mit-Fu Dee- Shee) is a scholar that teaches the study of Ancient Kemit or Egyptian studies at Essex County College. Kemet which is the Indigenous name for Egypt as called by the Nile Valley Ancients is what we call Classical Afrikan Civilization. Here language, culture, morality, science and architecture culminated in creating the worlds most Ancient and Complex Civilizations.
As a Master in an Ancient form of Martial Arts, Master Teacher Mfundishi Jhutyms also pulls from the Great Literature and Illustrations of Kmt mastery of Morality, Meditation, Martial Arts, and Crystal Healing Sciences. Mfundish was present at the IAFF sharing knowledge about the ancient Egyptian and their understanding of the universe.
The language called by the Ancients themselves is Mdw Ntchr.
This language is commonly taught in the Universities as a Semetic Language, however the language is an Indigenous Afrikan Language and is related to other Afrikan Languages. A proper study of Ourstory and Kulture of Afrikan People shows that language itself originated in Southern Afrika and ultimately spread down the Nile Valley and other river systems of Afrika.