Thursday, November 3, 2011

COLOMBIA, South America: Quibdo, Choco Day 4

We wake up and head straight to the airport to fly to the infamous 'Choco.' That's where the slaves ran away to. It's also where my fave group comes from. In fact the group's name is from the state (Choco) and town (Quibdo) = ChocQuib Town. Nice! 

Wait a minute! Are those propellers on that plane? Hmm, I'm not feeling this. AND the the plane is 'Aires?!' No offense to my Aires buddies out there, but you know how erratic you can be. Do I really want to put my life in an Aires propellor plane? 

WTH, lets do this! I remember at least one good prayer..."Oh St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong before the throne of God...."

                                                                                                                                                                       What? We're here, we landed? Piece of cake. 

Safely on the ground in Choco!
3 Generations of Black feminists
                                                                               Let's go.
We go to our hotel, where Jenny surprises her mother.  Three generations of Black female activist, all brilliant and beautiful!


           Now we eat. Yum, amazing food. Did I mention coconut rice? I should have, cause it's plentiful and DELICIOUS.  Then there is the refreshing coconut water with small bits of coconut. I love coconut--when I was pregnant I always craved coconut, mango, lobster and champagne. Hmm, I still crave coconut, mango, lobster and champagne...

Next, we are off to do a tv interview at a school and talk with some media students. I show them both films, Morning Due and Eric's Haircut. 
These students are very savvy. They find meaning and significance that was missed by others (including me ;-0)

Media Students
They talk about hair and cultural identity.  Personal identity versus public perception.  Emotional vs physical trauma.  Music as character.

Muntu Bantu
Black Cultural Center in Choco
Have I mentioned that Choco is an all Black state. I kept thinking I was back in Africa. Now I understand why Susy felt so at home in Ouagadougo, Burkina Faso in West Africa--it looks and feels a lot alike. It's hot because we are, after all, in a jungle.

A different meaning of 'hand to mouth'

               The Muntu Bantu Black Cultural Center is down the street and we walk down there for another screening and discussion. The center is full of pictures and paintings of Black historical icons and events. Black heroes of North and South American freedom struggles. The middle passage and Malcolm X, lots of Malcolm X.
Malcolm under the door of no return, looking at the pyramids.

Afterwards we go to a restaurant on the river and have a wonderful meal that includes champagne.

Boats on the River

Susy, Our Hostess, BA & Jenny

We all retire happy and full to get ready for a second day in Choco!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

COLOMBIA, South America: Cali
Day 3

We hop on an early flight to CALI.

I know there is something different about this place as soon as I see the sign for the MULATO cafeteria! Okay, this is gonna be different.


                                                           It seems Cali is also the salsa capital and they are very proud of it. We missed a big festival by about a week.

At lunch with Beth & Mary Ellen

(L-R) BA, Interpreter, Photographer & Reporter

Our first stop is lunch with the director of the Centro Cultural Colombo American Cali. After lunch I have an interview with a big time reporter there. I sit and talk with the reporter and photographer through my interpreter. 
Reporters and  Michael Cadena

They're all gracious and very professional, as is the cultural director Michael Cadena.

Hey, that's my name again.
Okay, great that's done. Now I go inside and introduce "DuSable to Obama." I settle in with everyone else and watch the film, when someone taps me on the shoulder to come out and do a television interview.
I hope I sound intelligent
or just not stupid;-)

with the TV reporter and Susy

Time to go back in for the discussion with the audience.  

The guy who's keeping me safe today.

They ask really go in depth questions. I'm so use to the same questions that I have a standard answer but this time I actually had to think about my answers. There are 3 Martin Luther King scholars who will be coming to the USA to get their PhD. 
MLK Scholars
Filmmaker who worked
on "Avatar"
Another event at a Bank
Oh yeah, we're in partyville, now that we've sailed threw that lets go PARTY!  What? We have another screening event. We haven't even checked our bags in the hotel yet. But cool, let's go.

We have a packed house, standing room only. All young kids. the are adorable, excited and so well behaved (considering how many their are.)

with some of the students

the band warmed them up  
Speakers after the screening include Ray, the lawyer for the Colombian hip hop group, "ChocQuib Town" one of my favorite groups.  I complained to Ray that we waited for them at the Old Town School of Music in Chicago, a packed house and they cancelled on us. So he calls one of the lead singers and has him explain how they got stuck in NYC and couldn't get out to Chicago in time.
ChocQuip Town
Ray, the lawyer for ChocQuib Town
As I said, "Everybody loves Kidist,

That was fun, but it's late (obviously NOT too late for 'football' soccer or whatever you want to call it) I I just want to go to bed now. Tommorrow we fly to CHOCO! The Black state in Colombia...