Festival Season and Politics

December 29, 2009 2008 - articles, Departments, Editorial

by Atim Annette Oton, June/July 2008: Vol. 2, No. 6


Summer 2008 is yet another festival season and for Calabar Magazine, we return to Commodore Barry Park to our staple ritual of the International African Arts Festival for the 37th year celebration. For the second year in a row, we are the publication partner for the festival. Our partnership builds an alliance to expand the festival’s reach, keep it a Brooklyn staple and must-do each year. This year’s theme, Akili na Moyo “Mind and Heart,” recognizes transitions that have taken place over the last year, most importantly, the loss of Mzee Moyo, the festival’s heart and soul. His lossmakes one think about life and longevity seriously and I make a special appeal to you to contribute to the festival with your donations. This is an institution that needs to be kept in the African family and one that needs our support. Like Barack Obama, I urge you to assist financially too – the festival needs your gifts, your time and positive thoughts -bring friends to the festival, and donate before and after you attend it in July.

At Calabar, we acknowledge the loss of Peter Kondrat who wrote for the magazineand copy edited several issues; Kenneth Mitchell, who exhibited at Calabar Imports, and Gloria Thomas, one of Harlem’s Hospital’s advocate and who I worked with a project on the Underground Railroad. Transitions make you think about life spans and require that one makes positive changes to exist.

This issue, we turn our attention to politics – not to debate who is right or wrong -but to look at the significance of Barack Obama, the inspiration and how he has engaged Generation X and more so,Generation Y. The boomers may control the nation, but this year -Generation X and Y take the cake in changing the control switch. More and more, these generations are at the tip of moving the political dialogue. John F. Kennedy inspired the boomers in the 60’s; now, it’s Barack Obama’s turn to continue a conversation.

As a Brooklynite, I have never talked so much about politics as I have this year to a much more diverse group of people nor have I seen kids under five yell Obama when they see a picture of him. That is more revealing and poignant and maybe a sense that there is a generation shift hapening. It is our time to own our politics, our dreams, and our country. In keeping with this call, this issue takes a special look at Barack Obama with our columnist, Patricia Spear-Jones kicking things off as a boomer, Janice Williams-Myers on working for his campaign and Crystal Dundas on her switch from Hillary Clinton to Barack Obama. Each perspective speaks on inspiration, and I join the bandwagon by compiling a range of comments from voices of all three generations. Whatever, you think of Barack Obama, he has changed the political landscape and has made kids and parents talk about politics, their beliefs, similarities and differences. He has made us sit up and signed us up for a partnership and for service.

The cultural section features Sabar dance in Fort Greene and New Jazz Photography Exhibit Inspired by Ellison, Bearden and Murray by one of our writers, Laylah Barrayn, and local Brooklynite’s Nanny Diaries. Summer would be completed without reading and Julia Shaw has four books for you. Our food columnist highlights Teddy’s Restaurant in Brooklyn, Heloise’s Memoirs on an African romance.

At the store, we are in the midst of a delightful summer featuring India – in particular summer dresses and tops, we showcase in the Brooklyn Style section. As July kicks off, we celebrate African mens and ladies clothing and in the fall will feature Peruvian sweaters. Calabar Imports is the place for African, Asian and South American unique clothing and jewelry.

We encourage you to come to the store and advertise in our next issue. Otherwise, please see Calabar Imports and Calabar Magazine at the International African Arts Festival (we are located at Baakwole entrance on Navy Street) and later at the Harlem Book Fair in July. Enjoy the summer, be inspired this year – the world is a beautiful place.


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