The Red Bull Music Academy came to town this past May, and it just ended this week. I participated in several ways, but the most significant was a 2000+ word piece I did on New York’s African club scene. Click the image below to download the whole thing!
It was a difficult but fun piece to write. Difficult, because it seemed impossible to try and sum up in a short essay the diversity and size of African nightlife in New York. But also because New York, even in the face of all the changes it’s had in the past 20 years, is still a very divided city. So it was hard for me to really try and sum up what those divisions within the larger African community in New York looks like because it varies across and within neighborhoods. What I definitely wanted to be wary of in the piece was blindly celebrating Africana in New York as some kind of mass of people with the same goals and experiences (even though I did probably indulge a little at the end), as first and second generation Africans in New York, we are divided by language, class, religion, immigration status, nationality, colonial history, educational background, occupation, access to mobility within American society, physical location, residential situation and so much more. I hope in my quick summary of our larger demographic those realities came through in some form.
As I get time in the coming months, I will try and do more in depth vignettes of the various neighborhoods and communities I came across while researching and developing content for the piece on Africa is a Country. I hope that this effort will be able to attempt to pick up the gaps that I left in the above piece.