Afropolitan 2023

1. A dip into New York Ball Culture

As part of the exhibition The Harlem Fantasy ’82, Bozar offers a talk with its curators. Ballroom Pioneer Diamond Kevin UltraOmni/Burrus, present at the Harlem Fantasy Ball of 1982 and Overall Overseer Jeffrey « Kiddie Liddah », Jeffrey Bryant/LaBeija will discuss the importance of the ball, and the political space for celebration and respite it offered to queer, black and brown communities. 

This talk is moderated by Kopano Maroga, artist, dramatist  at VIERNULVIER and guest curator of this exhibition.

2. The Music

Outstanding musical artists come to us from various countries. Rokia Koné, a Malian singer, mixes the traditional sounds of Mandingo cultures with contemporary sounds. Belgian-Congolese artist Reinel Bakole, the rising star of the avant-garde neo-soul scene, offers you a full spectacle, combining music, choreography and visuals. The Nigerian Femi Kuti pursues the social and musical commitment of his father, the great Fela Kuti – creator of Afrobeat – with an explosive cocktail of funk, jazz, and West African music. A real musical festival within the festival, culminating on 20 May with an explosive after-party as part of Belgian Pride!

3. Books and Movies

More than an art festival, the Afropolitan Festival is a real forum, inviting us to think, in the presence of great minds. The central guest of this edition is the French-Cameroonian writer Léonora Miano, who will address the themes of her novels, such as the issues of racialisation and gender. We also welcome the director, slam poet and musician Saul Williams, who will present his latest film, Neptune Frost, as well as Marc Levin’s Slam (Grand Jury Prize, Sundance & Caméra d’or, Cannes), in which he plays the lead role. There will also be a screening of The True Colors and Body Language of Soft Bwois, followed by three short films and a discussion on the importance of black and queer self-representation.

4. Lifestyle and Book Market

Ici Sont Les Lions – Bookshop pop-up  

The Afropolitan and Afrofuturist literary world is full of gems to discover. This is why the Afropolitan Festival has invited the Brussels ephemeral bookshop Ici Sont Les Lions, which focuses on African literature and its diasporas, to introduce us to this universe during a pop-up full of surprises and emotions. Under the leadership of its founder Dulia Lengema, the bookshop will offer a selection of works for adults and young people. A three-day journey to learn and dive into this fascinating world of fusion and encounters! 

Ici Sont Les Lions is an “ephermanent” bookshop dedicated to African literature and located at 180 rue Haute in the heart of the Belgian capital. It offers a nice selection of African and African diaspora authors for all kinds of audiences, children’s books, literature, art books, short story collections, and much more: a beautiful and impressive selection in French, English, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Lingala, Kikongo… 

Belgian Entreprenoires – B. Lifestyle Market   

From fashion to food to wellness, the Black Lifestyle Market is the place to find beauty, inspiration and care. In collaboration with Belgian Entreprenoires, the Afropolitan Festival pays tribute to young black women entrepreneurs, designers, artists and brand owners.  

Aurélie Mulowa, founder of Belgian Entreprenoires, invited ten female designers to showcase their talents and inspire others to make their own dreams as entrepreneurs come true. If you’re looking for new inspiration in fashion, beauty, food, wellness, skincare and more, check out this selection of spectacular black-owned brands that are just waiting to join your list of favourite brands!

Founded in June 2020, Belgian Entreprenoires is a network that promotes the talents and expertise of black women entrepreneurs in Belgium. Markets, conferences and workshops: the Entreprenoires are always happy to share their products, knowledge and passions with you.

5. Everything else

There’s no age limit to vibe at the Afropolitan Festival! Many workshops are offered to young and old alike, ranging from creative writing to making masks from recycled materialsdanceboard games, face painting, etc. Not to mention the screening of the film Sweet Thing, which tells the story of young teenagers’ quest for freedom. There will be something for everyone!

Get details and tickets here:

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