(Houston, Texas) – The Houston Museum of African American Culture presents ‘Africans in America; The New Beat of Afropolitans’ September 9-10th symposium. This symposium marks the rise of a new cultural influence, brought to America and the world by a wave of fascinating young and creative cosmopolitan African immigrants, so-called ‘Afropolitans’.
The symposium features a talented group of young African Americans, including artist Wangechi Mutu; actor, musician and social entrepreneur Derrick Ashong; author Taiye Selasi, who popularized the term “Afropolitans;” writer Teju Cole; filmmaker Odera Ozoka and arts maven Meme Omogbai. They will be joined by George Washington University professor Nemata Blyden.
When the Afropolitan Network declares, “We hear a different beat;” that beat can increasingly be heard throughout America as African Americans, those with an immigrant as opposed to slavery background, increasingly impact our national culture.
You see that impact especially in New York; in fashion shows that feature design aesthetics of some of Africa’s hottest and most talented designers, and in theater with Off Broadway shows like the recent Mo Faya, and on Broadway with shows like the recent hit Fela. But you see their impact in other large urban centers too, like Houston, Atlanta and Washington, DC, where these new African American artists, writers and performers are drawing large, crossover audiences to events.
These new Afropolitans combine real world experience in Africa, Europe, South America and Asia with that in the United States. Washing over centuries of native minority self-esteem problems and self-doubt, that experience allows them to bring into play a new, confidant, worldly psyche; a phenomenon perhaps inevitable in the time of President Barack Obama.
According to HMAAC CEO John Guess, Jr., “These talents sometimes stand separate, sometimes side by side, and more than occasionally are fused together through an exciting mix of fashion, style and identity that is helping to redefine blackness in America.” Added HMAAC Program Director, Solkem N’Gangbet, “We’re delighted this new breed of African Americans chose to come to Houston for this historical conversation.”
‘Africans in America; The New Beat of Afropolitans’ is made possible by generous support from CAMAC International, William Hill Land and Cattle Company, Melanie Gray, Toni and Jeffrey Beauchamp and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Africana Studiess, with in kind support from KUHF.
The mission of HMAAC is to collect, conserve, explore, interpret, and exhibit the material and intellectual culture of Africans and African Americans in Houston, the state of Texas, the southwest and the African Diaspora for current and future generations. HMAAC is a museum for all people. While our focus is the African American experience, our story in Texas informs and includes not only people of color, but people of all colors. As a result, the stories and exhibitions that HMAAC will bring to Texas are about the indisputable fact that while our experience is a unique one, it has been impacted by numerous races, genders and ethnicities.
HMAAC’s new home at 4807 Caroline is targeted to be renovated and opened to the public in 2011. For more information, visit our website at www.hmaac.org or call us at 713.526.1015.
CONTACT: Solkem N’Gangbet