Written by Adio Lath
The big apple is the city that never sleeps, and it is a place where most of modern American cultural directions have sprung from. In search of understanding the ‘African’ in American culture, a perfect travel destination is New York, where you are most likely destined to meet a likeminded person with an Afrocentric vibe.
I was so set on going to New York, I was looking to understand the Pan African idea and the literature took me to Harlem where I stayed 21 days in a guesthouse on Malcolm X boulevard also known as Lenox Avenue. Luckily, I was introduced to the culture, an attitude, a lifestyle which transcends race through a local jazz dining bar called Lenox lounge which was literally down street from where I was staying. I had found a room in a guesthouse through a classmate( I would so recommend LENOX AVENUE HOSTEL on 239 Lenox Avenue, it’s like $60 Per nat) however the guesthouse in which I stayed is now out of business.
The reasons to why I chose New York. The city is ranked as one of the world’s most popular study destinations, I could name several mainstream acknowledged scholars of African socio-politics who have degrees from NYC or Colombia. Historically, the Harlem renaissance established the African American identity through literature, (in my words) an African without the memory of being an African yet moves to the jungle drums.
Few know that most Afrocentric ideas acknowledge “the one drop rule” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-drop_rule). It is argued to be the reason to the cultures widespread simultaneously as the message of involvement is always to be found in hip hop music. Historically, New York has always been a place for black elites whether in the arts, entrepreneurship, or academics. These are the reasons to why I had gone and seen with my own two eyes. North American Literature, - music ,- television programs and especially, one book edited by John Henrik Clark, called Marcus Garvey and the vision of Africa (https://books.google.dk/books?id=L8NKAAAAYAAJ&hl=da&source=gbs_book_other_versions)
had led me to the big apple.
New York is not only home to Broadway, Wall Street and the statue of Liberty, New York also have Burial sites, parks and street names such as W.E.B du Bois avenue, Bob Marley boulevard, participants of the movement, however culture is be found all over New York. https://streeteasy.com/blog/nyc-places-named-for-african-americans/ The arts of the African culture are to be found in the theaters e.g. Brooklyn theater. Galleries such as Hemming way African Gallery on 88 Leonard street and of course the street parties on Labor Day. In bookshops, corner stores/diners and franchise restaurants such as Applebees are all places where the culture is to be seen and be bought by all kinds of peoples.
The 5 places I had to see
Marcus Garvey park
In mid-1969 the park was the site of the Harlem Cultural Festival, a series of concerts that came to be known as "Black Woodstock, due to its audience and performers. (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/15/arts/music/black-woodstock-harlem-festival-1969.html)The park is also bounded by 120th Street to the south, 124th Street to the north, and Madison Avenue to the East. It is most definitely a park worth a view because its great public facilities and a lovely landscape.
The African Burial Ground became a National Historic Landmark in 1993.
A music hall located at 253 West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard (Seventh Avenue) and Frederick Douglass Boulevard (Eighth Avenue) in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City. Re-opened as the "Apollo Theater" on January 16, 1934, catering to the black community of Harlem. I would so recommend to pop by and enjoy a show
Jean michel Basquiat studio
He lived in a loft in the building which was owned by Andy Warhol on 57 Great Jones Street. He started out as a graffiti artist writing SAMO all over the East Village, moving on to create his legendary Neo-Expressionist paintings. Unfortunately, Basquiat died of a heroin overdose on the 12th of August, 1988. However his art lives on (https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/see-jean-michel-basquiat-masterpieces-close-online-exhibit-180975416/) and the popular culture vibe of the village is so worth a walk through.
Morris Heights Bronx
I love hip hop and have been listening to East coast Hip hop as both a musical genre and seen as a culture through television and radio. In 1970s when block parties became increasingly popular in New York City, particularly among youth residing in the Bronx. These notorious parties were copied throughout the blocks worldwide, Hip hop's simple sampling technology, drum machines and Jamaican toasting, a chanting vocal style, was used over the beats. The hip hop culture reflects the social, economic, and political realities which the whole world can relate to. So i would recommend a walk though, find a local shop and buy stuff.
For more sites worth a view, check out this link (https://untappedcities.com/2020/06/15/33-places-in-nyc-to-celebrate-black-history/5/)
New York state of mind
New York represent the realization of the American Dream while New York as Cultural institution has kept its connections to the different branches of Afrocentric organizations nation- and worldwide. Closely tied to similar motive of a collective African American identity” black and proud” and the resources to promote of black owned businesses “buying back the block”. These ideas are the off springs from New York’s realizations. Organizations such as Nation of Islam, in modern times Black Lives Matters, and New York ’s citizens from different cultural communities has showed and recorded examples of social injustice, organized hate crimes and institutional racism which have had a worldwide positive influence on organizational behaviors. People of any color would surely feel welcome and equipped to live and thrive in New York, the city can answer most questions of identity, culture, and history.
Viens, My Digital Detox Holiday
Written by Mary Juana and photos by Subhasree. B. Franceschi
The seduction of technology is hypnotic in our fast, urban life, technology controls the way we eat, drink and merry! In this age of acceleration, it is almost a luxury to slow down and going off grid. However, the rising trends of slow travel, digital-detox travel is making things simpler and redefining the way people travel for decades. Slow travel sometimes called “deep travel” or “immersive travel”.
There are plenty of beautiful locations inspire us to connect with nature and with ourselves rather than phones and laptops. It helps us to slow down to make real connections with the place, the local people and the culture.
Every summer I have my digital detox holiday where I slow down and recharge myself.
We drive from Copenhagen to Provence, France. Where our house is tucked in a small village called Viens, surrounded by magnificent countryside. The house doesn’t have any internet or TV, instead we connect with real people. Digital detox puts me back in control of my life, lowers stress levels and enhance mental positivity.
Viens, is a perched, fortified medieval village on the south slopes of the Vaucluse mountains, between Apt and Forcalquier. The village presents beautiful 13th century stately homes, old houses, narrow lanes and a Renaissance castle. Ramparts built between the 11th and 13th centuries encircle Viens, with an entranceway through the gate surmounted by a belfry and clock. Just walking in the narrow, cobbled street with old doors and even older doorways can easily reverse the clock in the head.
We walk long hours in nature, in the nearby villages, buy vegetables and fruits from local market and cook slow food. In summer lavenders are in full bloom and the thymes are just dried enough to put straight into slow cooked ragout. The village has only one restaurant, one baker and a kiosk. A small market takes place once in a week selling local legumes, meat, cheese, fishes. The closest town is Apt, down the valley.
What to see in Viens:
· Portail and Tour de l'Horloge.
· Saracen tower.
· Restored chateau.
· 16th and 17th century Church St Hilaire.
· Romane chapel St Férreol.
· Communal oven, rue Notre Dame.
Nature around Viens is sublime and great for hiking, cycling. One can also indulge into yoga, meditation, art classes, wine tasting. In summertime the Tour de France is passing close to the village which is an added advantage.
Viens is surrounded by many pretty villages such as Siminane la Rotonde, St Martin de Castillon, Casaneuve, Gignac, Gorges d’Oppedette, between the lavender fields and the ochre route the Cliffs of the Colorado Provencale is must see.
Accomodation: There are few hotels, Gites, Air BnB, holiday rentals.
How to reach: The nearest airport is Marseilles and Nice from there bus and taxis available.