I am late with this, at least here on the site. I’ve been talking up the 2011 International Year for People of African Descent since late 2010 with friends, on Twitter and on Facebook but haven’t done anything special to commemorate it with Roots Cuisine, for various reasons. Most of them logistical and financial–oh the woeful tales of the small, start up nonprofit, they never cease. I’m here to bear witness, believe me.
However, when I think about 2011 and the work and care and love I put into Roots Cuisine and dedicating most of my energy and a great percentage of my sanity to promoting the foodways and culture of my people, I realize that I have paid homage to Afrodescents all around the globe, just like our mission says. In many cases this year I’ve found the topic, the very idea of the foodways of African Diaspora utterly discounted and ignored much like the people have been throughout history all over the world, wherever there are black people. But still the mark has been made.
What I’ve done with Roots Cuisine hasn’t been flashy or proud but it’s been done with love, out of love and reverence and it is something I will continue to do as long as I move and breathe. Here’s a recap:
- Traveled to Jamaica to continue learning and researching the foodways and related culture of the island and the broader Caribbean
- Traveled to Turkey at the invitation of the U.S. State Department, criss-crossing the country to lecture on African-American foodways and Louisiana foodways (posts still to come)
- Spoke on the Internet radio program “Hot Grease” on the Heritage Radio Network to speak about Juneteenth and to promote RC
- Created a museum exhibit exploring African contributions to agriculture and foodways in the Atlantic World at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in New Orleans**
- Set up new site and organizational features to be launched in the coming months
- Met countless people learned, connected, networked, ate crow, popped my collar, laughed, and cried to develop Roots Cuisine’s regional Diaspora networks
- Forged friends and partnerships that may last a lifetime and shed as many that had grown stale and disadvantageous in others
All in the name of Afrodescendents. Foodways. Justice. Love. Corny? Overboard? Maybe but so very true.
I worked damn hard to make it all happen and boy am I exhausted and boy do I have some tales to tell, woo. But still, I won’t stop. But I will stop proselytizing before I start sounding like this particular Maya Angelou poem, which in the end, I kind of hope I do. (There I go, we go, Roots Cuisine goes…rising. Thanks for your words and wisdom, Madame Angelou!)
There is so much more to come and so much more to do to support of the activities above and to develop new projects. I hope you will join in and support when and how you can, if you like and value what I am trying to do.
Please enjoy these final months of this officially declared International Year for People of African Descent. I cannot tell you that there will be a big event or celebration sponsored by Roots Cuisine but I can tell you that here every year, every day of 2011 and beyond will be dedicated to the global spirit and struggle of Afrodescendents worldwide.
**Expanded and completed virtual exhibit will be displayed at rootscuisine.org in the coming weeks.
Herbal medicine stall in Coronation Market -- Kingston, Jamaica