AFROFEM TOUR MADRID NOVEMBER 2019

 

November saw us take over the Matadero in Madrid where Mwasi was welcomed by Afrofeministas, Mapa 12N, Migrantes Transgresores, Kwanzaa et Sindicato de Manteros. Together we held Quilombo Nimba’ Fest, a collective experiences focusing on the specificities of Queer and Migrant Black identities, rooted in Black feminism with a Spanish and trans-european context.

In addition to a rich programme filled with workshops, conferences and discussion, we hit the street for the annual March Against Racism where hot the streets to protest state violence against Black people in Spain and in solidarity with the diaspora. Our performers had us singing, dancing, crying, laughing and turning up at our party Don’t Hit A La Negra, and of course, in true Mwasi tradition, we made time to eat and talk together over delicious food.

Above: Blue, orange, pink and yellow papers are stuck to a wooden door. On the papers are inscribed drawings or texts such as “Tambien Algunxs Vinimos solxs y ahora estamos acompanadxs”: As we came alone and now we are accompanied.

On November 15, Mwasi met the Afrofeministas, Mapa 12N, Migrantes Transgresores, Kwanzaa and Sindicato de Manteros collectives at Matadero, a cultural center located south of Madrid near the Manzanares river for the Quilombo Nimba festival. The festival is built by and for black and queer sororities from the mainland and diasporas. It was a space for the union of bodies and minds which aimed to deepen and enrich our practices of resistance and care in a context of strengthening of the far right during the general elections of 10 November in Spain.

On Friday, we were running a workshop to explore our perceptions of black and queer aesthetics. What are the different identification processes for Fem, Butch labels? How do they evolve from one generation and from one person to another?

The evening ended with a multitude of performances, including that of Ahmed the Sudanese, performer and Artemisa Senmedo, anti-racist poet, member of the Afrogalegas collective. Multi-format artists who use both performance poetry, dance, percussion and song to create a narrative around Afroqueer identities.

Above: Sudanese Ahmed wears a golden ring that represents the pheonix on her left ring finger. Her two hands cupped her face and from there, we noticed her deep black pupils magnified by a silvery eyelid. Lids on which fall a hair of short, tight curls that skillfully contrasts with her lips painted in dark fuchsia.

The next day, we met again at 10 am to participate in the “Body in Movements” class given by Marina Santo, a dance teacher trained in contemporary dance. The specificity of the course lies in the approach of Marina Santo, whose goal was to establish a relationship between black bodies as opposed to the violence that we experience everywhere else.

Above: Bekah, photograpahe and teacher in Madrid: @bexphotosphere is wearing a vermilion sleeveless top and an orange fabric headband is holding her short, curly hair back. On her shoulders rests Mélissa Rodrigues, educator and anti-racist activist, member of the Nucléo Antirracista de Oporto collective and the Rampa association. Dressed in a dark blue t-shirt, she closes her eyes as Bekah gazes intently at their meeting hands.

After quenching our thirst, we gathered around Remei Sipi Mayo, writer, editor, curator and gender expert, to discuss issues specific to resistance in the diaspora.

For the rest of the afternoon, the stake lay in our experience of Afro-Diasporic sexual dissent. An ode to black trans bodies that preceded a panel discussion around the workings of white supremacy, patriarchy and capitalism.

Above: A close-up of the audience, black people of different skin tones looking in the directions of the speakers.

The talented actress and director Silvia Albert Sopale concluded this second day with her play, No es pais para negras. A satyr on the forms racism takes throughout the lives of black women, at school, at work, on the streets and with their families. For 2h30, the power of Silvia Albert Sopale’s performance catalyzed all the energy we had exchanged in 48 hours and gave us the strength necessary to participate in the anti-racist march the next day.

At 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon, we met for the last time at the Matadero for a workshop which located the different struggles of black women in Europe with special attention paid to Portugal and Switzerland.

Above: Ana-Laura holds a black and white photo of the National Liberation Army corps with Amilcar Cabral in its center, weapon in hand, bonnet on head and sunglasses on nose. Each member of the army wears a similar outfit and weapon.
Signs in one hand, umbrellas in the other, we then joined the thousands of demonstrators in the processions of the annual anti-racist march. The distraught looks of passers-by mingled with the brilliance of our voices in the Madrid rain. The evening continued with a ball titled Dont hit a la Negra; A celebration of Afroqueer identities that Afro-San artist Megane Mercury has been able to express with authenticity.Megane Mercury

Above: a whole lotta queer black love. The room is immersed in an electric blue and dark atmosphere. In the foreground, the two participants hold hands while waiting for the scores of the judges. A perfectly fitted black suit with a gray satin paper bow for the person on the right, a red long-sleeved dress surrounded by a black satchel. In his right hand, rests his chin, in the eyes, shows an unbounded intensity.
Above: Yos, the party and festival organizer wears a sparkling pink and blue durag. She puts her arm around the shoulder of Umu, another organizer and DJ for the night. the neon lights that light up the space are reflected in his glasses, and his dark green velor durag is reflected in the depths of his melanin and on the sleeve of Yos’s military jacket.

The sound of the weekend : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqmLPeL8aj4

Three days whose intensity is matched only by the richness of the exchanges.

Above: #afroqueermagic in a read sweater, golden hoops, all shades of blackness and all types of hairstyles from pink and orange box braids to an an afro. All three of people are gazing in the same direction, with a mixture of peace and anger in the eye.
Above: Three members of the Sindicato de Manteros pose in profile. The pink and blue hues are reflected in their eyes, pensive, amused or concentrated, who knows? The silver chain of the person in the foreground rests on a black t-shirt. The thin dreadlocks are neatly tied at the top of the head. The other two people have their heads shaved between 2 and 4mm and both wear clothes in shades of gray. In the background, the room in which the workshops take place, lightly lit by beams of warm white light.