Coumba Toure, Senegal/ Mali
#NoirliniansStreetStyle from the 2016 Black Feminisms Forum
in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil
This September, Black feminists from across the world met at the first ever Black Feminisms Forum (BFF) in Salvador, Bahia, Brasil. The BFF “‘was a global movement-building process co-created by Black feminist artists, activists, agitators and creators” that was created in order to provide a space for cross movement exchange and strategizing amongst, and deepens solidarity between, Black feminists around the world”‘.
In addition to that, it was also a display of Diasporic fashion and connectivity through clothing. Despite being from all corners of the globe, attendees at the BFF displayed how undeniably linked fashion and culture is in the Diaspora across age, size and gender representation. Check them out in this #NoirliniansStreetStyle post and read a little bit about Bahia, known as the “African Capital of Brasil” where the convening was held…
**some of the names/countries of origin got messed up on my phone so may be omitted,
forgive me for that**
Clothing, culture and its connections to telling our stories are fundamental to the NOIRLINIANS Blog, so I couldn’t just let a good #NoirliniansStreetStyle opportunity like this to pass once I arrived at the BFF!
Tia Oso (US / Nigeria) & Reem (Eritrea by way of Australia)
I was given the opportunity to attend the BFF on behalf of my job at Women With A Vision, Inc, a community-based non-profit, founded in 1989 by a grassroots collective of African-American women in response to the spread of HIV/AIDS in communities of color whose major areas of focus now include Sex Worker Rights, Drug Policy Reform, HIV Positive Women’s Advocacy, and Reproductive Justice outreach.
The BFF was set to take place before the 13th Association of Women In Development (AWID) Forum, a multilingual gathering that takes place every 3-4 years in a different region of the world.
Natalie Jeffers (England)
This year before the AWID forum, for the first time ever, over 200 Black Feminists from across the globe gathered at the Black Feminism’s Forum, a space created by and for Black Feminists to gather and strategize specifically about how global issues impact Black women across the globe.
Maureen Kangere (Uganda)
This year’s forum was hosted in Bahia, Brasil, a significant site of diasporic Blackness in global history due to the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.
D’bi young anitafrika (Jamaica/Toronto)
There are many estimates as to how many Africans were stolen during the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade, but according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, of the 12.5 million Africans who were stolen from their homelands, 10.7 million survived the voyage to new lands in North America, the Caribbean and South America.
Aisha Bain & Jamilla Webb, New Orleans (R)
The Caribbean and South America wound up taking in the largest number of enslaved people, with North America’s total coming out to about 450,000 enslaved people.
Justine leiseiano (Kenya samburu tribe)
Brasil itself was estimated to have taken in 4.86 million Africans (over 30% of the total trade), meaning today it is the country with the largest Black population outside of the African continent.
Durvalina Rodrigues (Brasil)
Bahia particularly, where the convening was held, is known as the “African Capital of Brasil” due to its large Black population.
Angelique Nixon (Trinidad)
According to an essay on the website BlackWomenofBrazil.co,
“Today, the results of that intense traffic of Africans can be witnessed in countless ways in this city that has become a major destination of tourists over the years. And while it’s great to see the interest of millions of tourists every year, the racial history and reality of the experience of African descendants cannot be simply glossed over with an eye-catching website.”
“While Brazil was the last country to end slavery in 1888, the effects of this brutal regime can still be noted in the day of day of black baianos(Bahians) today. A sharp contrast to the image that legendary South African president Nelson Mandela had in mind on his visit in 1991.”
Houleye Kane (Mauritania)
“During the period of the Western slave trade, Brazil was the country that most received African labor to work on its lands. The state that the quota was most concentrated in was Bahia.”
Yasmin Mohamed & Farhia Hajir (Kenya)
“Starting in 18th century, the contingent of African descent was so great that the black influence in various sectors of “social life”, was felt by all who frequented this place. Therefore, Bahia was deemed the “New Guinea” of the New World.”
“This strong African presence made Bahia become the cradle of black culture in Brazil, and one of the principal regions of the world of the preservation and promotion of African culture.”
Nana Darkoa (Ghana)
“The cultural influence of black Bahia is so strong that almost all Afro-cultural manifestations of Brazil are sub-originated from there.”
Amina Doherty (Nigeria/Antigua)
“For example, we have the samba, capoeira, Candomblé, etc. Bahia, in various aspects of its history and culture, had black people as its primary co-adjuvant.”
Yamikani Msosa Ottawa (Ontario,Canada) & Kimalee Phillip, (Ottawa/Toronto/Grenada)
“Even in the multiple uprisings that occurred there. Even today, Bahia is considered the “terra da negritude (land of blackness).”
Abyan Mama (Santa Cruz) & Jennifer Gatsi (Namibia)
“The place where music, art, dance, food, clothes, ornaments, speech, conception of time, and all that connects the way of being of its people, is influenced by the strong and striking black presence.”
Ide Sadou Nafissatou (Niger)
“Bahia, without a doubt, is one of the principal focuses of resistance and preservation of original worship and/or African tradition. Deserving, as such, from the bloco afro Ilê Aiyê in a past Carnival the name “nação africana (African nation)”
Flavia Souza (Brasil)
Even today, Salvador, the capital of this state, is a city of absolute black majority. Having the highest populational concentration of black men and women outside of Africa estimated at 82% of afro-descendentes.
Jade Maina & Myra Sidika (Kenya)
“Also Salvador, for its strong religious influence, was, and still is, considered the “Roma Negra (Black Rome)” or “Meca Negra Black Mecca” of the African Diaspora. It is considered the city of all rhythms and charms.”
Wanelisa Xaba (South Africa)
“However, all of this charm for the “land of blackness” is over when we replace the historical-cultural with a political-economic view.”
“Looking from this critical approach, the political and economic conditions of blacks, we see that Bahia cannot be considered a “nação” (africana) (African nation)) in its broadest sense.”
Wangari Kinoti (Kenya) & Stephanie leitch (Trinidad and Tobago)
“The historical political-economic exclusion of blacks in Bahia, and its consequent and continuous social degradation, makes the “land of blackness” becomes a nightmare for black people themselves.”
Ntokozo Yingwana (South Africa)
“A land that, due to the concentration of political and economic power in the hands of whites, is more like an “African nation” experienced by racist terror of apartheid.”
Irene Patrick-Ogbogu (Nigeria) & stella nkhonya (Malawi)
“Where the conditions of housing, education and health access, urban violence, unemployment, illiteracy, infant mortality rate, and many other indicators relating to social conditions, are so unequal between whites and blacks, the expectation life of black people, in a region where they are the majority, are similar to the countries of the African continent.”
“Still, as a consequence of the exclusion of black spheres of political and economic power, there is in Bahia an intellectually oppressed black race, because the mental oppression by whites stifles the emergence of any mind or making of revolutionary consciousness of blackness.”
“The theft of culture, as an example, for those who are mostly in power, only allows the local black community to have access to the crumbs given by the executioners of black people.”
Marbre Stahly-Butts (Brooklyn USA) & Deirdre Smith Shabaaz (Oakland, CA USA)
“So the status quo remains the same between whites and blacks, with the latter remaining in the support base of society.”
Makayla Gilliam (Price, Baltimore USA)
“As such, for Bahia to become a true “African nation” where the black presence is marked in all its aspects, it is a must to have a greater black participation in the spheres of political and economic power of this state, in proportion to their numbers in the population.”
Ie, in order that Bahia become a “nação Africana”, a true “terra da negritude”, it is necessary that 82% of spheres of government (executive, legislative and judicial) are occupied by representatives of black people.
“That 82% of the political-economic power of the region is concentrated and partitioned among that 82% of the black population. That the means of information and communication are legitimately in the custody of that portion of the population.”
“And that social institutions (schools, churches, universities, etc) be blackened, proportionally, for the good of the local population.”
Dean (Atlanta, GA)
“That, finally, all areas of human life are represented, when not appropriated, proportionally among black men and women.”
“It is treading these paths, in my view, that we legitimize Bahia as “land of blackness.” Is weaving and realizing these goals that, finally, we may in the future, treat Bahia as a true “African nation”’
“Only when all aspects of social life, including political and economic, are filled with blackness or Africanness, can we say that there is “An African Nation Called Bahia”.
Sonya Renee Taylor (Oakland, CA)
“So, any political project that will enable the improvement of black people of Bahia should aim to materialize these objectives. Because true democracy is constituted with the embodiment of representative democracy. “‘
-Essay by José Raimundo dos Santos Silva for BlackWomenOfBrazil.co
Noirlinians is a love story by two wandering Daughters of the African diaspora