Black Consciousness Festival returns with Salt celebration

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Salt by Earl Lovelace.

An all-day celebration of the 25th anniversary of author Earl Lovelace’s Salt will be the highlight this year’s The Black Consciousness Festival.

The festival begins on Saturday and continues until November 21, the day when UWI Vice-Chancellor Prof Sir Hilary Beckles leads remarks about Salt, an award-winning novel about the black Caribbean experience. In another event on the day, Lovelace will be in conversation with festival director Erica Ashton about the book.

The festival debuted online last year with a ground-breaking series of 20 conversations between black influencers from around the world, including entrepreneurs, artists, cultural workers and intellectuals. Emphasising youth participation, the festival sought to unite black voices to talk about and participate in workshops on the global experience of the Pan African diaspora.

Earl Lovelace, author of Salt.

All events are free and open to the public but the workshops will have limited spaces. Organisers are encouraging early registration with perks, including giveaways and, thanks to a partnership with kweliTV, free access during the festival to a curated film playlist powered by the premium streaming platform of curated black audio-visual content.

“Join with amazing people across the world as we explore the many ways we, as people of African descent grow, cultivate, produce, share and rebirth elements of ourselves. Through ancestral knowledge, historical legacy, pride, power and practice, let’s celebrate the individual and collective ways we navigate through life,” festival organisers said in a release.

This year’s theme is Shift. On the schedule are 28 conversations and six workshops. On November 20, which is Black Consciousness Day in Brazil, several special conversations have been scheduled focused on issues affecting those of African descent in Brazil.

Other highlights are an interactive African Folktales workshop for children with Omobola Imoisili, CEO and founder of Teni & Tayo Creations; and a drumming workshop with Afro-Peruvian cajón master, singer/songwriter Juan “Cotito” Medrano. Medrano is a heroic figure in Peru’s music scene. The cajón, a box drum, was developed by Peru’s African descendants as a response to a ban on drums—much like TT’s own tamboo bamboo and steelpan.

Afro-Peruvian singer/songwriter and percussionist Juan “Cotito” Medrano will lead a cajón workshop in the 2021 Black Consciousness Festival.

For the schedule of the 2021 edition of the Black Consciousness Festival, register here: