AfroBeatJournal welcomes you to its second edition. We cannot begin this issue without giving thanks to our cohort and colleague, the artist, poet, and writer, Jacqueline Bishop, who served as the guest editor for this issue. Jacqueline, “you walked good.” And thank you to all the writers, poets, and artists, who so patiently waited for this issue to unfold.
The music and life of Randy Weston is our inspiration for this issue in its fusing, melding, and creation of new sonic energy that crosses space and time. A main feature of this issue is the videotaped interview between the imitable Weston and Williard Jenkins. You must also read Jason Squinobal’s article on Weston where he situates him in the trajectory of the major Jazz musicians of our time and Oyebade Dosunmu’s article that extends to the “motherland” as Weston states, and allows for this relational dialogue between the “octogenarians” and ourselves. In the interview, Weston speaks of his Jamaican roots and his father’s immigrant journey through Afro-Latin spaces before reaching the U.S. Weston’s life is constructed on that journey, emboldened by Garveyite sentiment, his acculturation as an “African in America,” and his own travels to Africa.
Weston says “We are standing on the shoulders of our ancestors” and the connection to roots in the work of our artists is informed by that same sensibility. Yet, it is also a connection to land, to an innate sense of the relatable oneness in human conditions, and longings for redemption in all our darker spaces. Our poets, informed by either an Island sensibility, where water, sun, and sand gird the world, or a continental one, where land doesn’t end, revision these connections in all their fullness and tatters, as they open up womanspace to gives us a glimpse of its glory and ordinariness. Our prose writers cross a diverse spectrum as only the best writers (and we have the best) across the Caribbean chain can.
We round out this issue with other compilations in our multimedia section. Sérgio Soares takes us down the road of the Orishas with his series “Pau Ferro” (Wood Iron) that gives homage to these tutelary deities. Opal Adisa Palmer brings us to the crisis zone in her poetic/photo montage of Haiti post the earthquake and the resiliency of the people in the face of apocalyptic conditions. And, Robin Farquason, both in his interview with Jacqueline Bishop and his photographs, captures the past and the ever hopeful present. Welcome again, and please read our call for papers because we are going to “Black Brazil” in our next issue.
“IT’S ALL AFRICAN RHYTHMS!”