Last weekend, LightSpeed Entertainment run by ab Lister Arafat Akbar presented the 3rd Annual Black All Year at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury hosted by Boston City Councillor Tito Jackson and Latifa Ali.
The purpose behind Black All Year is to not just celebrate blackness for one day (Martin Luther King, Jr) or one month (February), but to celebrate blackness all year long.
The packed house had a full schedule with programming in two parts. 2:00pm – 5:00pm and 6:00pm – 9:00pm, and the event was completely family friendly. It was so wonderful to see so many generations together in one room being able to celebrate black culture together. You also were able to support black owned businesses from the catering provided – which had very reasonable prices. I “grubbed” for like 7 bucks – and there were vendors like 950 Design who took all my money – okay, so I gave it to them, but still lol.
I attended the first session. There were performances by a poetry ensemble that highlighted the African influences within the Puerto Rican and Asian communities. Rapper Ofats too a minute to rev up the crowd for long time emcee group Foundation Movement which I loved their song, “Long Shot”. Spoken word artist JHA D. shared a poem – Once, Twice, Three Times which talks about how her identity that has been labeled by society requires her to mark three boxes.
There were dance performances by Jala Settles Akbar and Hoop There It Is founder Carolyn Bracanto who turned her exercise routine into a beautiful and entertaining art form. The Floor Lords came out B-boy style to show why they’ve been around for 34 years, and the Steppers in the Bean kept it classy for the older generation.
We also were encouraged by Dr. Kaba Kamene, who spoke on Malcolm X’s and how we should try and find the Malcolm in all of us. He also encouraged us to not “boycott white”, but instead “buy out black”. That we should be thinking in terms of adding to what already exists rather than focusing on taking away.
I am so very happy that an event like this exists and that so much of the community was receptive. Look out for more events by Light Speed Entertainment on Facebook.