4th Biennial Key West Africana Festival (June 20th - 23rd, 2019)
La Concha Hotel, Key West, Florida
To register for the festival please use this Registration Link
Keynote Speaker and Ambassador
The Board of Directors of KWAF is proud to announce Actor Malik Yoba as our 2019 Keynote Speaker and Ambassador. Malik is an actor and occasional singer. Our Inaugural KWAF Keynote Speaker and Ambassador was Georgetown Professor and MSNBC Contributor Dr. Michael Eric Dyson. Keynote Speaker and Ambassador. In 2015 our Keynote Speaker and Ambassador was 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. Malik Yoba is known for his starring role as NYPD Detective J. C. Williams on the Fox police drama New York Undercover and as Yul Brenner in Cool Runnings. He also appeared as former FBI Special Agent Bill Harken on the Syfy drama series Alphas, as Jim Hudson in Revolution as well as Vernon Turner in Empire. Currently, he stars in the role of FBI Deputy Director Jason Atwood in the ABC political drama Designated Survivor. He was born Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba in the Bronx and raised as a Sunni Muslim in East Harlem. In 1983, Yoba began working at the Negro Ensemble Theatre in concessions, as an usher, and in other roles. He joined the City Kids Foundation, an arts-education focused youth leadership organization, in 1986. In 1991, he landed a starring role in the Disney film Cool Runnings. In 1994, while making an appearance in an episode of Law & Order, Yoba auditioned for a new Fox television police drama called New York Undercover, receiving the lead role of NYPD Detective J. C. Williams. He and his co-star Michael DeLorenzo made history as the first cop-drama featuring actors of color in both leading roles. Yoba went on to star in several television series. In 2011, he began teaching a course entitled “The Working Actor” at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus. In 2014, he joined the cast of the Fox series Empire, starring alongside actor Terrence Howard. In 1994, The New York Times named Yoba one of 30 young artists under the age of 30 who would change American culture in the next thrity years. Yoba was honored with three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in 1996, 1997, and 1998 for his work on New York Undercover.
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 Dyso
Indaba Workshops ("Indaba" is Zulu for "meeting of the minds")
The Wellness Workshops are informal and fun for vacationers during the Key West Africana Festival that will focus on Community 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, relationships and the Black Issues.
Cultural Heritage Tourism
We believe Key West offers African Americans and people of the Diaspora a bona fide Jewel in Cultural Tourism. Communities throughout the U.S. have developed successful programs linking the arts, humanities, history, and tourism. Travel industry research confirms that cultural and heritage tourism is one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism industry. The growth and investment in cultural heritage tourism has expanded markets, audiences, and consumers, as well as provided a means for sustaining cultural and heritage resources with vital revenue and awareness. Key West is a perfect location for Africana Cultural Tourism because of the following:
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.
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 20th
Welcoming Reception @ The Little Jazz Room Club 821 Duval Street (7-9pm)
We open KWAF with Key West's only live jazz venue with a performances by the Hal Howland Trio. The Little Room Jazz Club is situated on the quieter side of Duval Street. Featuring live music nightly from some of the world’s best blue and jazz musicians around. Hal Howland Trio (Dom Carelli, piano, or Mark Rose, saxophone and flute; Gary Rivenson, bass; Hal Howland, drums). Hal Howland is an award-winning musican, composer and writer. Hal Howland's award-winning fiction collections After Jerusalem, Landini Cadence, and The Sculpture Gardener were published between 2008 and 2015. The ninth edition of his celebrated memoir The Human Drummer: Thoughts on the Life Percussive appeared in 2017. his master's thesis, "The Vibraphone," is the definitive history of the instrument, appears in Percussionist (summer and fall 1977).
Friday - June 21st
Opening Session and Juneteenth Presentation @ San Carlos (10am)
City of Key West Commissioner Clayton Lopez will officially welcome KWAF with Christopher Norwood, Co-founder of The Key West Africana Festival. MSNBC Contributor Dr. James Peterson will the open the festival with our Juneteenth Speaker, Dr. Tameka Hobbs, 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. Tameka Bradley Hobbs is a graduate of Florida A&M University (B.A., History) and Florida State University, where she earned her doctoral degree in United States History, and Historical Administration and Public History. She has taught courses in American, African American, oral history, and public history at Florida A&M University, Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia, and John Tyler Community College, in Chester, Virginia. In addition to her teaching experience, she has served as a researcher, writer, consultant, and director for a number of public and oral history projects in Florida and Virginia, including the African American Trailblazers in Virginia History Program, a statewide educational program focused on celebrating African American History. Her professional experience includes serving as Director of Projects and Program for the John G. Riley Museum and Center of African American History and Culture, located in Tallahassee, Florida. After relocating to Virginia, between 2006 and 2007, Hobbs worked as the historian and coordinator of the Valentine Richmond History Center’s Richmond History Gallery Project. From 2007 to 2011, Hobbs worked as Program and Education Manager for the Library of Virginia, where she coordinated the African American Trailblazers in Virginia History Program, a statewide educational program focused on celebrating African American History. In 2011, she authored a children’s book about the Library of Virginia entitled To Collect, Protect, and Serve: Behind the Scenes at the Library of Virginia. Hobbs joined the faculty of Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Florida, in August of 2011, and currently serves at Interim Chair of the Department of Social Sciences and as University Historian. Her book, Democracy Abroad, Lynching at Home: Racial Violence in Florida was published in August 2015 by the University Press of Florida.
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 Key West African Cemetery/Remembrance/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.
Henrietta Marie Reception/Tour @ Mel Fisher Maritime Museum, 200 Greene Street (7:00-9:00 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.
Dinner Option: Conch Republic Seafood @ 631 Green Street (9:00 until)
The charm of old Key West is just steps away at the Conch Republic Seafood Company. Enjoy waterside dining with the freshest seafood delivered to our docks daily, or just relax at our 80-foot Conch bar with over 80 different brands of Rums to sample. Old Key West flavor where everyone is a local, in the Historic Seaport at the Key West Bight. Nightly. Throughout Key West’s colorful history the Historic Key West Bight, where the Conch Republic Seafood Company now resides, has had a tradition of bringing the bounty of the seas ashore. The property was once the Singleton Fish House and Ice Plant. The ice plant once boasted as the largest in the world, each day, at the peak of the shrimp season, dozens of shrimp trawlers unloaded at the docks, packed in wooden crates and iced for shipment. Integrated into the construction of the restaurant, are those same materials salvaged from the plant, processing plant and original docks can be found everywhere. Two huge Salt Water Tanks display marine invertebrate indigenous to the Florida Keys and an antique twelve hundred-pound copper still stands proudly behind kegs reminiscent of topsail schooners and buccaneers. Fresh seafood is delivered daily to our docks from the waters surrounding Key West, continuing the tradition found in the Bight’s History.
Johnny Sketch & the Dirt (New Orleans Funk) @ Green Parrot - 601 Whitehead Street (10:30 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 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! Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes are a classically trained New Orleans-based band delivering a smorgasbord of musical genres every time they hit the stage. JSDN defy easy categorization, their irreverent funk is cut with rock riffs, a Gypsy/Klezmer flare, a Latin tinge courtesy of a hard hitting horn section, and a sense of humor. With a live show that is as carefully crafted as their musical arrangements, Rolling Stone's Senior Editor once described them as "a revelation...jam band bonhomie and Louisiana stroll spiced with klezmer-style violin and funeral-parade horns…what you get if Phish had been born at Tipitina’s and studied under George Clinton and Frank Zappa late every night on the levee.”
Saturday - June 22nd
Conversations on the Power of Resistance and Community Wellness @ San Carlos Museum (10:00 am)
Dr. Tameka Hobbs will facilitate a conversation on "Power of Resistance and Community Wellness"with Dr. James Peterson and Christopher Norwood, J.D., founders of Key West Africana Festival. 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 of several books, The Hip Hop Underground and African American Culture, Prison Industrial Complex for Beginners and Hip Hop Headphones: A Scholar’s Critical Playlist. Peterson hosts “The Remix” on Philadelphia’s NPR affiliate, WHYY. “The Remix” is a podcast that engages issues at the intersection of race, politics, and popular culture. Peterson has written for Newsweek.com, The Guardian, The LA Times, Reuters, and The Daily Beast. He is a media commentator and has appeared on MSNBC, Al-Jazeera, CNN, HLN, Fox News, and other networks as an expert on race, politics, and popular culture. Norwood, is a lawyer by training engaged in community developmen, policy advocacy & political consulting. He is a graduate of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia where he studied Social Work & Community Organization (1995), pursued a Masters of Public Administration at Cornell University's Institute for Public Affairs (1995-1997) and Juris Doctorate from St. Thomas University School of Law (2002). He is Political Columnist for Legacy Magazine and regularly pens for the Miami Herald. He is a member of Miami-Dade Public Schools' Audit and Budget Committee and Chair of the City of Miami's Education Advisory Board.
KWAF Wellness Conversation: Mind, Body and Spirit @ San Carlos Museum (12:00 pm)
Physical Wellness in the Africana American Community is a huge Community Problem our Panel Members will explore this . The Panel Members: Edwin L. McCampbell, M.D. received his B.A. in Political Science from Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. Dr. McCampbell attended medical school at Howard University College of Medicine, in Washington D.C. He completed his internship in Internal Medicine at the V.A. Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and completed his Internal Medicine residency at Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Oakland California where he served as Chief Resident. Dr. McCampbell returned to Howard University to do a fellowship in Family Practice and direct the Family Practice Residency Program. He also served as Major in the United States Army Medical Corps at Kimbrough Army Hospital, Fort Meade, MD. Dr. McCampbell had a private practice in Family Medicine in East Orange, New Jersey for many years. Most recently, Dr. McCampbell has been a primary care physician at the VA Primary Care Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He is Board Certified in Family Medicine; Eunice Peterson M.D. is a board-certified attending Psychiatrist with the Greenville Health System and the Greenville Mental Health Center . Dr. Peterson is also the Program Director for the Greenville Health System/ University of South Carolina Psychiatry Residency Program. Dr. Peterson currently serves as the Chair of the Program Planning Committee for the Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health. Dr. Peterson is a proud graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. She completed her psychiatry residency as well as her child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship with the University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt program. Dr. Peterson has the honor of being selected as the first AACAP( American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)/SAMHSA ( Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)/CMHS ( Center for Mental Health Services) Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellow in 2010. She has been awarded an Achievement of Excellence for creating the Inaugural System of Care Seminar at the University of Maryland, the Ceiba-Geigy Award for Outstanding Community Service, the World Peace Scholarship and the Dr. Witney Rose Memorial Award for promotion of cultural diversity. Dr. Peterson has an abiding interest in advocacy, elimination of health care disparities, and mental health promotion.; Panel Moderator, Barbara Peterson, RN, Owner, CEO, Nurse Manager at ESB Home and Health Care Services, (New Jersey) and COO of Aces Braces Orthodontists (Brooklyn).
Watersports Excursions @ 2:00 pm (Optional)
KWAF has arranged for two optional water-sports excursions of your choice:
Sunset Wastersports 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 $140, 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.
Reception and Keynote Address with Actor Malik Yoba "The Artist's Role in the Theatre of Public Affairs" @ San Carlos (6 pm)
The Board of Directors of KWAF is proud to announce Actor Malik Yoba as our 2017 Keynote Speaker and Ambassador. Dr. James Peterson will interview Mailk and engage in Q&A following his Keynote remarks. Malik is an actor and occasional singer. He is known for his starring role as NYPD Detective J. C. Williams on the Fox police drama New York Undercover and as Yul Brenner in Cool Runnings. He also appeared as former FBI Special Agent Bill Harken on the Syfy drama series Alphas, as Jim Hudson in Revolution as well as Vernon Turner in Empire. Currently, he stars in the role of FBI Deputy Director Jason Atwood in the ABC political drama Designated Survivor. He was born Abdul-Malik Kashie Yoba in the Bronx and raised as a Sunni Muslim in East Harlem. In 1983, Yoba began working at the Negro Ensemble Theatre in concessions, as an usher, and in other roles. He joined the City Kids Foundation, an arts-education focused youth leadership organization, in 1986. In 1991, he landed a starring role in the Disney film Cool Runnings. In 1994, while making an appearance in an episode of Law & Order, Yoba auditioned for a new Fox television police drama called New York Undercover, receiving the lead role of NYPD Detective J. C. Williams. He and his co-star Michael DeLorenzo made history as the first cop-drama featuring actors of color in both leading roles. Yoba went on to star in several television series. In 2011, he began teaching a course entitled “The Working Actor” at Long Island University’s Brooklyn campus. In 2014, he joined the cast of the Fox series Empire, starring alongside actor Terrence Howard. In 1994, The New York Times named Yoba one of 30 young artists under the age of 30 who would change American culture in the next thrity years. Yoba was honored with three NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series in 1996, 1997, and 1998 for his work on New York Undercover.
Movie Screening of "Carib Gold"and Talk Back with Malik Yoba and Corey Malcom @ San Carlos (8:30)
We are screening the 1956 B-Movie "Carib Gold" that was shot in Key West with a majority Black cast that featured Cicely Tyson (her 1st movie), Ethel Waters, Geoffrey Holder. I was thinking about screening the movie during the festival
The movie is about a group of Florida Shrimpers who work together to recover a sunken treasurer and then all hell breaks loose. The movie was restored by SMU in 2010 after being lost for 50 years. The screening will be followed by a Talk Back with Actor Malik Yoba and Key West Historian Corey Malcolm. The Movie is 62 minutes.
Welcoming Reception @ The Little Jazz Room Club 821 Duval Street (8-9pm)
Key West has its individual brand of jazz blues, known as Conchtown rhythm. This mix of New Orleans jazz and calypso features a noted impresario, Coffee Butler, a native Key Wester who is billed as "the southernmost Louis Armstrong". This 90 year-old legend, rarely performs. You are in for a treat.
National Hampton Alumni Association South East Regional Conference (8:00 - 12:00 pm) - PRIVATE EVENT
"Revitalizing The Dream & Preparing For The Future: Back To Basics": The National Hampton Alumni Association will be having its biennial South East Regional Conference in conjunction with KWAF. The conference will feature workshops on fundraising and student recruitment. Our National Hampton Alumni Association President will be attending with members of her cabinet. KWAF will donate a percentage of each HU Alumni registration to Hampton University. Please contact Yvonne Saxon, President of the South East Region for more details - . This is a PRIVATE EVENT.
Sunday - June, 23rd
Roots Reggae Brunch & Live Island Radio Broadcast @ The Island Dog - 505 Front Street (11am to 3pm)
Join us as we have brunch listening to the vibes of Roots Reggae. Island Radio's weekly Roots Reggae Show will be live broadcasting and interviewing KWAF attendees while we enjoy the vibes and the food. Key West isn’t just a location. It’s an all-inclusive state of mind. Ditch the drama and dress code of your world let the sounds of Key West deliver your mind to a place where the water is warmer, the drinks are colder, and the sunset is more brilliant than any other in the world. Closer to Cuba than Miami; Key West’s music is as diverse as the pedigree of its street performers. Soak up the island sounds of Roots Reggae.
To register for the festival please use this Registration Link