The Key West Africana Festival
The Key West Africana Festival promotes Culture and Community Wellness while Exploring the Africana Cultural Heritage within Key West during a three-day destination retreat (June 22nd - 25rd, 2017) focusing on Thought, Culture and Wellness within the African Diaspora. The influences of Caribbean, African-American and Afro-Latino culture is evident in all of Key West. We will celebrate that music, art and culture while enjoying a beautiful destination vacation in Key West. Integrating the local neighborhood of Bahama Village, the Key West African Burial Ground and the Historic Henrietta Marie salvaged Slave Ship.
KWAF Founder on "Good Morning Florida Keys with Jenna Stauffer": The Mission (6/2013)
Our goal is to provide a destination vacation where vacationers enjoy the Africana Cultures of Key West, scholars discuss their research, wellness experts present their practice areas, and others will enjoy a fun-filled weekend in beautiful Key West. Founded by Christopher Norwood, J.D. with Co-Founder Dr. James Peterson, as an extension of their national work focused on issues of education, community development and cultural awareness, inspired by their love of travel and interaction within a global community.
La Concha Hotel - Crown Plaza, is a beautiful Key West hotel and resort that exudes vintage charm and contemporary elegance is a National Historic Landmark in the heart of Key West’s Historic District. This legendary Key West hotel has been inspiring guests like Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams (he finished Street Car Named Desire at the hotel) since opening in 1926. From the moment you step into this iconic hotel, you feel relaxed and in harmony with the island energy. This is our third year with La Concha as our Host Hotel and Partner. Special Rates for participants will be announced on March 1st, 2017 (stay tuned, we will email the link to all registrants).
Keynote Speaker and Ambassador
The 2013 Inaugural KWAF Keynote Speaker and Ambassador was Georgetown Professor and MSNBC Contributor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Keynote Speaker and Ambassador. The Board of Directors of Key West Africana Festival proudly announces our 2015 keynote speaker, Dr. Margo Natalie Crawford, Cornell University Associate Professor of English. She is most known for her work on the 1960s and 70s Black Arts Movement. Her book "New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement" is her seminal work: During the 1960s and 1970s, a cadre of poets, playwrights, visual artists, musicians, and other visionaries came together to create a renaissance in African American literature and art. This charged chapter in the history of African American culture—which came to be known as the Black Arts Movement—has remained largely neglected by subsequent generations of critics. New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement includes essays that reexamine well-known figures such as Amiri Baraka, Larry Neal, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, Betye Saar, Jeff Donaldson, and Haki Madhubuti. In addition, the anthology expands the scope of the movement by offering essays that explore the racial and sexual politics of the era, links with other period cultural movements, the arts in prison, the role of Black colleges and universities, gender politics and the rise of feminism, color fetishism, photography, music, and more. An invigorating look at a movement that has long begged for reexamination, this collection lucidly interprets the complex debates that surround this tumultuous era and demonstrates that the celebration of this movement need not be separated from its critique.
Behind the scenes interview and conversation on "Media and Community Wellness", during the Key West Africana Festival with KWAF Co-Founder Dr. James Braxton Peterson and KWAF Ambassador and Keynote Speaker Dr. Michael Eric Dyson.
The Wellness Workshops are informal and fun for vacationers during the Key West Africana Festival that will focus on Wellness. We anticipate workshops on 1) Community Wellness 2) Relationship Wellness 3) Physical Wellness. Each workshop panel will be lead by industry professionals from the worlds of the academy, medicine, spirituality, relationships and the Black community.
Cultural Heritage Tourism
We believe Key West offers African Americans and people of the Diaspora a bona fide Jewel in Cultural Tourism. Key West is a perfect location for Africana Cultural Tourism because of:
The African Cemetery @ Higgs Beach
President Buchanan in 1859 ordered a blockade of Cuba with Navy steamers to intercept any American-owned slave ships. In the Spring of 1860, three slave ships intercepted by the US Navy in its efforts to stop the illegal trade in humans, were brought to Key West. Sailors boarded the Wildfire, the William and the Bogota, finding the Africans living in deplorable conditions. These American-owned ships were bound for Cuba, where their human cargo was to be sold to the thriving sugar plantations. A total of 1,432 Africans arrived from these ships, and they came with nothing. The 3,000 citizens of the island, led by United States Marshal Fernando Moreno, came together and built housing, donated clothing, and provided food and medical attention for them during their stay. These surprise guests were welcomed graciously. Soldiers, carpenters and others quickly built a barracks and a hospital on a three-acre compound on what is the United States' southernmost point. Many passed away and were buried in Key West and a memorial was erected to celebrate their lives.
The Henrietta Marie was a slave ship that carried captive Africans to the West Indies, where they were sold as slaves. The ship wrecked at the southern tip of Florida on its way home to England, and is one of only a few wrecks of slave ships that have been identified. In the summer of 1700, the English merchant-slaver Henrietta Marie sank in unknown circumstances thirty-five miles west of Key West, Florida. Shortly before this mishap, she had sold a shipment of 190 captive Africans in Jamaica. The Mel Fisher Marine Museum in Key West houses the artifacts, which are considered the best preserved slave ship artifacts in the world.
Bahama Village is a neighborhood in the City of Key West, Florida, Monroe County, United States. It is located southwest of downtown, in Old Town. It covers over a 16-block area that lies southwest of Whitehead Street and northeast of Truman Annex, bordered by Whitehead, Southard, Fort and Louisa Streets. It was once a primarily black neighborhood, and is named for its many original residents who were of Bahamian ancestry. The entrance to the village on Petronia Street has an open-air flea market, shops and restaurants, and has recently become a small tourist attraction. Bahamians began visiting the Florida Keys in the 18th century to salvage wrecked ships, fish, catch turtles and log tropical hardwood trees. A Bahamian settlement in the Keys was reported in 1790, but the presence of Bahamians in the keys was temporary. Early in the 19th century some 30 to 40 Bahamian ships were working in the keys every year. After 1825, Bahamian wreckers began moving to Key West in large numbers. Bahamians were among the first Caribbean’s to arrive to the mainland US in the late nineteenth century. Many went to Florida to work in agriculture or to Key West to labor in fishing, sponging, and turtling. Two main factors that contributed to increased Bahamian migration were the poor economic climate and opportunities, as well as the short distance from the Bahamas.
San Carlos Institute
The San Carlos is a multi-purpose facility that serves as a museum, library, art gallery, theater, and school. Located in the heart of Key West, the San Carlos is considered to be the cradle of Cuba's independence movement. It was at the San Carlos that José Martí united the exile community in 1892 to launch the final phase of his campaign for Cuba's independence. The San Carlos operated as one of America’s first bilingual and racially integrated schools. For more than a century, children of all races attended school at the San Carlos Institute where classes were taught in English and Spanish
Festival Program Schedule
Thursday - June 22nd
Niceness: A Tribute to Bob @ Green Parrot 601 Whitehead Street (6-7:30 pm)
We open KWAF with Niceness: A Tribute to Bob @ The Green Parrot. Niceness presents a tribute to the Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician Bob Marley, the legendary, charismatic performer, who remains the most widely known and revered ambassador of reggae music, and is credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari - African-Centered movement to a worldwide audience.
Registration & Welcoming Reception @ Hospitality Suite and La Concha Pool (8pm)
Please join us for the Official Welcoming Reception at the Hospitality Suite and La Concha Pool. Sponsored by Indaba Wines. Lets set it off right, poolside.
Friday - June 23rd
Opening Session and Juneteenth Celebration @ San Carlos, 516 Duval St., (10:00 am) Open To The Public
City of Key West Commissioner Clayton Lopez will officially welcome KWAF with Christopher Norwood, Co-founder of The Key West Africana Festival. We will the open the festival with a Juneteenth discussion with Florida Senator Dwight Bullard, MSNBC Contributor Dr. James Peterson and Ronald Bilbao of the Florida Education Association. Moderated by Christopher Norwood and the theme is "Public Education, Community Wellness and Freedom Schools". Juneteenth is a state holiday or ceremonial holiday, a day of observance in 43 U.S. States honoring June 19th, 1865, the day on which slavery legally came to an end in the United States.
Key West History and Culture @ San Carlos Museum (11:30 am)
Learning about the History of Key West by the experts. Presentation on the Key West African Cemetery by Corey Malcom, Director of Archaeology at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and Gene Tinnie, Miami-based visual artist, writer, educator, community activist and independent researcher and the Chairperson of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, which is charged by the City of Miami with the restoration and management of Miami-Dade County’s onetime only “Colored Beach,” as a recreational, historic and environmental landmark and museum. Opening Remarks by City of Key West Commissioner Clayton Lopez, Clayton Lopez was born and raised in Key West. A fourth generation Key Wester, Clayton is the eldest of three boys and one girl born to Charles and Rose Lopez. Clayton's parental grandfather, Roosevelt Sands, was a well known community leader and servant. He was also Clayton's closest mentor. Clayton was raised in the famous "garden of Roses" house, now located on Whitehead Street.
Trolley to The African Cemetery/Lunch and Beach (12:45 pm)
“Conch Train” Tour to African Burial Ground at Higgs Beach. See the Best of Key West on the Train Tour that's been entertaining visitors to the Island City of Key West, Florida since 1958. The Conch Train is one of Florida's most popular attractions, and for a good reason. Lunch at "Salute on the Beach". Salute! is a Key West treasure, combining the dining excellence of well-loved sister-restaurant Blue Heaven with the atmosphere of a lovely beach-side cafe. Featuring lighter, Caribbean-influenced takes on Italian classics—with fresh breads, vegetables and local seafood. Returns at 5pm (Pick up at Salute Restaurant) back to Hotel.
Keynote Address and Conversations with Dr. Margo Crawford @ San Carlos (6:30 pm) Open To The Public
Our Inaugural Keynote Address featured American Book Award recipient Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, and professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. This year we are honored to have Dr. Margo Natalie Crawford, Cornell University Associate Professor of English. She is most known for her work on the 1960s and 70s Black Arts Movement. Her book "New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement" is her seminal work: During the 1960s and 1970s, a cadre of poets, playwrights, visual artists, musicians, and other visionaries came together to create a renaissance in African American literature and art. This charged chapter in the history of African American culture—which came to be known as the Black Arts Movement—has remained largely neglected by subsequent generations of critics. New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement includes essays that reexamine well-known figures such as Amiri Baraka, Larry Neal, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, Betye Saar, Jeff Donaldson, and Haki Madhubuti.
Henrietta Marie Reception/Tour @ Mel Fisher Maritime Museum (8:00-9:30 pm)
Outdoor Reception Sponsored by Indaba Wines of South Africa at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Courtyard, with a Special Video Presentation of the Henrietta Marie (Slave Ship) and Private Tour of the Exhibit. The Henrietta Marie was a slave ship that carried captive Africans to the West Indies, where they were sold as slaves. The ship wrecked at the southern tip of Florida on its way home to England, and is one of only a few wrecks of slave ships that have been identified. In the summer of 1700, the English merchant-slaver Henrietta Marie sank in unknown circumstances thirty-five miles west of Key West, Florida. Shortly before this mishap, she had sold a shipment of 190 captive Africans in Jamaica. The Mel Fisher Marine Museum in Key West houses the artifacts, which are considered the best preserved slave ship artifacts in the world.
Nightly Entertainment @ Green Parrot - 601 Whitehead Street (10:00 pm) with The Legendary JCs (band)
The Key West Africana Festival is all about enjoying the Culture of Key West. Key West lays claim to more bars per capita than anywhere else in the United States and Green Parrot is the Grandfather of them all (1896). The Green Parrot gets high accolades from Playboy magazine's list of Best Bars in America, in a list of 24 bars compiled by food and wine aficionados, editors, and critics that believe "The search for the definitive Key West saloon ends at the Green Parrot....the management works tirelessly to avoid progress." and Amen to that! The Legendary JCs is a band started with some sharkskin suits and Otis Redding tunes more than seven years ago. Since that point, the members of the The Legendary JC’s have ridden a wave of sweaty grooves and press accolades to a point where they are ready for lift-off. The Legendary JC’s (commonly The Joint Chiefs) started flooring Central Florida crowds with their brand of soulful rocking blues in 2000. With a lineup consisting of top central Florida musicians, part of the magic of the shows is never knowing who is going to show up.
Saturday - June 24th
Beneath The Surface: African Retentions in Hip-Hop and the Underground @ San Carlos Museum (10:30 am)
Dr. James Peterson (Duke ’93, UPENN 2003) is the Director of Africana Studies and Associate Professor of English at Lehigh University. He is an MSNBC Contributor as well. He is the author "The Hip Hop Underground and African American Culture: Beneath the Surface". The underground is a multi-faceted concept in African American culture. Peterson explores a variety of "underground" concepts at the intersections of African American literature and hip-hop culture, using Richard Wright, KRS-One, Thelonious Monk, and the tradition of the Underground Railroad, among other examples. He explores the manifestations and the attributes of the underground within the context of a more panoramic picture of African American expressivity, situated at black cultural and conceptual crossroads. Bryon D. Turman is a double honors graduate of NC-A&T with a BA in English and an MA in English and Af-Am Literature. In August 2006, Mr. Turman designed and is currently teaching two Hip Hop-related courses in the English Dpt. at NC-A&T. He has written for several Hip Hop publications including AllHipHop.com and Scratch Magazine and is under contract with ABC-CLIO to publish his first book. He is also a peer reviewer of Words. Beats. Life.—Hip Hop’s only refereed journal and is a member of the Universal Zulu Nation Black Jedi Chapter. Turman. He is a self-avowed hip hop head, father, and educator who is dedicated and determined to insure that African American trials and tribulations, productivity, and creativity are included within the ivory towers of academia.
Physical Wellness Workshop @ San Carlos Museum (11:30 am)
Physical Wellness in the Africana American Community is a huge Community Problem our Panel Members will explore: Dr. Al Simpson holds an appointment as Assistant Professor of Kinesiology. He came to Valparaiso University in the fall of 2013 with over ten years of experience in the health and fitness industry. He teaches core curriculum classes, Kinesiology I & II, Exercise Physiology, Advanced Exercise Physiology, Fitness Assessment and Exercise Prescription, as well as Strength and Conditioning. Dr. Barbara Peterson DDS is a dentist who specializes in dentistry, general practice, and oral & maxillofacial surgery. Dr. Peterson is licensed to practice in New York. She owns Aces Braces that focuses on orthodontic needs children. Barbara is also a member of the Key West Africana Festival Board of Directors. Kesha Hutton is a licensed physical therapist specializing in orthopedic and neurologic rehabilitation, she is a nationally qualified competitor within the National Physique Committee (NPC). Mrs. Hutton is a neurological clinical specialist certified through the American Physical Therapy Association and the owner of Jerseyfit Physical Therapy and Fitness.
Watersports Excursions @ 2:00 pm (Optional).
KWAF has arranged for two optional water-sports excursions of your choice:
Hydro Thunder Jet Ski Tour: Enjoy the thrill of a wet and wild ride on Key West waters on one of our new Jet Skis or Boats. Boat and Jet Ski Rentals are located in a scenic ride area. The most popular and exciting activity is our 27 mile professionally guided Jet Ski Key West Tour. This amazing tour circles Key West and nearby islands. Speed along at up to 50 mph over crystal clear waters observing all manner of tropical sea life passing beneath your feet. Stops are made along the way for photo ops and observing the unique land and water geography of the Florida Keys. Enjoy a swim at halfway point on a sandbar while Navy Fighter Jets scream overhead on training flights. Cost $100, pick-up at La Concha at 2pm. Please speak with the Concierge.
Fury Catamaran Glass Bottom Boat: Explore dramatic underwater vistas generally reserved for scuba divers from our glass bottom boat. A wide variety of fish and other sea creatures await you as you gaze into the underwater world of Key West. In addition, you will have the opportunity to see North America’s only living coral reef, one of the most biologically diverse marine eco-systems in the world. Majestic elkhorn and impressive brain coral, sturdy in appearance yet fragile and vulnerable, stand sentry for the more than 300 species of fish that complete the colorful and intriguing seascape. Along the trip, our experienced captain and crew will provide a unique and informative eco-tour and point out some of the most interesting marine life that inhabit the waters of this incredible island. Special glass “windows to the reef” provide continuous viewing for all passengers. Fury Catamaran Glass Bottom Boat offers a seated sun deck and air-conditioned, enclosed viewing area as well as restrooms and a snack bar. The catamaran's twin hull design allows for maximum stability and much less rocking motion than traditional V-hull designs. Our boat is designed to allow maximum viewing with minimum stress to the delicate reef. Cost $40, Please speak with Concierge. Board at 1:30 pm at the end of Duval St. (left on Duval 4 blocks) Boat leaves at 2pm.
Sunset Dinner Cruise (6 pm - 8:30pm) 201 William Street
Join us for the best seat to see the Famous Key West Sunset right on the water onboard the state of the art 65' catamaran offers 2 decks of fun. The upper sunset deck has wonderful views as we cruise the blue tropical waters and a full bar for all your favorite drinks. The lower air conditioned deck has a lighted dance floor, fully stocked bar and our catering kitchen offers the freshest food for your taste of the tropics dinner. There is no other place to be to enjoy a Key West Sunset dinner cruise. Includes: Tropical Food Buffet, Unlimited Margaritas, Rum Runners, Well Mixed Drinks, Draft Beer, Wine, Champagne & Soft Drinks. Cost $54, all inclusive. Please reserve with the La Concha concierge (Frank) by Friday 5pm (June 20th).
“Chicago's” Blues Bar and Restaurant - 610 Greene Street (10pm)
Join us as we enjoy the Blues and Soul Food sanacks at Chicago's where they bring the Midwest to Key West with an amazing band “3Sum” performing some down home blues. Also enjoy cigars at Green Street Cigars (Next Door).
Nightly Entertainment @ Rick's Loft (11:00 pm)
The Key West Africana Festival is all about enjoying the Culture of Key West. Key West lays claim to more bars per capita than anywhere else in the United States. We will test this claim, while enjoying the sounds where Funk cruises through the Caribbean picking up Afro sounds from Cuba and Puerto Rico. Reggae meets rock in a head-on collision. Jazz and electro hook up for a sidewalk makeout session. Hip-hop seems to hum from the very pavement, and R&B drifts in on the night wind. This fusion reaches to far-flung corners and retrieves all these, takes them and mashing them together, marrying them disparate players melded into a somehow harmonious blend. It defies logic that such diverse influences can find balance at the deft hands of one band. And yet they do.
Sunday - June, 25th
Brunch @ Blue Heaven - 729 Thomas Street
Iconic landmark for Floridian-Caribbean cuisine & key lime pie, with a funky setting. Opened by a pair of free spirits, Susanne and Richard, Blue Heaven has become its own well-known destination in key west. The chickens and cats roaming the premises are almost as famous as the food. Blue Heaven is all about fresco dining, Key West style: canopies of tropical foliage, improvised art (a leopard-spotted mannequin, a rooster graveyard, jolly-colored coconuts and trap floats) and a sail strung between trees providing shade. But don’t let the whimsical décor mislead you: the food is taken seriously. One taste of the blueberry pancakes, carrot and curry soup, miso-marinated eggplant salad, or scallops provencale and you’ll have no doubt ingredients and the gentle time it takes to prepare fine food are the priorities. There is normally a wait, but they have ping pong, hulu hoops, live music and friendly bartenders to entertain you while you're waiting.
KWAF Founder on "Good Morning Florida Keys with Jenna Stauffer: The Program (6/2013)