Reaffirming African Roots in Puerto Rico

The tenth anniversary of an association called Puente Cultural de África a Piñones [Cultural Bridge from Africa to Piñones] has helped people from Loíza, Puerto Rico [loiceños] to demonstrate pride in their roots, share their musical and artistic talents, and show local and foreign tourists the richness of their culture.

On October 12, 2012, Corporación Piñones se Integra (COPI) held a series of activities commemorating its tenth anniversary, bringing together people of Loíza and other towns together through this festival. The honoree at the festival was artist Samuel Lind, who has collaborated since the initial planning of the “Cultural BridgeMaricruz Rivera Clemente, founder and director of COPI explained “We wanted to tell people about identity from another point of view. We always speak about slavery, which is important, but we want to talk about the great contributions of black people in the history, culture, and economy [of the island]. Here, one sees part of that African root from which Puerto Rican culture derives.”

Activities included performances by Majestad Negra and the Pleneros de la 21, among others. There were poetry readings, dancing, and the participation of vejigantes (traditional masked carnival figures). Of course, there was an abundance of typical foods and beverages.

One of the many COPI activities was a turban-making workshop led by Colectivo Ilé [Ilé Collective]. Mariluz Franco said, “In the collective we do antiracist projects with the community and we work with our African heritage and its related aesthetics. We did this turban workshop as part of the aesthetic choices open to black women. We are highlighting our African roots.”

Summarized and translated from the full article (in Spanish):

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