This past Saturday, Movimiento Afrocultural hosted a cultural showcase for the community featuring live dancing, singing, and Capoeira Angola demonstrations.
I arrived four hours early to help set up. Ernesto swept and mopped the floors, Sandra arranged the tables and dusted while I rinsed off all our plastic chairs. Outside in the courtyard, Diego and Javier (Tambore instructors) led a demo workshop. The noise of the tambores caught the attention of passersby and drew them into the event.
The real festivities started at six with Ernesto leading an interactive workshop where we played an African version of Simon-Says. Next Isa, an Afro-Brazilian lead an interactive dance workshop. Isa had us form groups based on which element we identified with the most — earth, freshwater, saltwater, air or fire (I picked air). Using our respective element as inspiration, we danced freely to music that also represented our element. For example, the music to my group sounded like thunder and lightening. Next the Capoeira class gave a demonstration, followed by a live band.
Attending and helping with events is just part of my job, but most days I am in the office working on our new website. Lately I’ve been focused on preparing for the showcase — but my next project is video editing. I hope this gives you some insight on my job.
There’s no one word to sum up my first night out in Buenos Aires. I can try… and words like exciting, laughter, hot and frustrating come to mind. But none truly summarize my mixed emotions.
In true Argentinean fashion, we started our night at 1am. All eight of us girls went to Kika, a popular night club in the Palermo Soho barrio. Palermo Soho is known for its night scene and it was crawling with people when we arrived in our taxi.
Most clubs require a RSVP list in order to enter, we didn’t quite understand this when making our reservations so we used our individual names. This caused some confusion at the door but the manager let us in for free. Score! Unlike in the United States I was never carded. Another score!
Once inside, the air smelled of cigarette smoke, alcohol and sweat. The colorful strobe lights matched with intensely loud music encouraged everyone to let loose and dance. We waited in line to order drinks and this was particularly challenging due to a lot of shoving and several attempts from others to cut in front of us. We finally forged our way to the bar to find that they were out of all the drinks I wanted. I settled for a mixed drink but eventually ditched it because it was not made well.
On the dance floor, we attracted a lot of attention. Our “foreignness” seemed to shine like a disco-ball that night. Every five minutes a different man or group of men would approach us.
“¿De donde eres?” or “Where are you from?” they would ask.
“Los Estados Unidos” or the “United States” we chimed back.
After learning we were American, a whole slew of questions poured from their mouths. Where are you from in the states? How old are you? Are you a student? Where are you studying? Can I have a kiss? All that order…and I am not joking, they would literally ask to kiss us.
The aggressive and bold flirting of Latino men is one the biggest cultural differences I have yet to adjust to. Most men love the fact that I am Black and love my braids even more. Throughout the night men constantly touched my hair as if I were some type of exhibit. Being Black in Buenos Aires makes me exotic and this brings a lot of unwanted attention and stares. One of the other girls even mentioned how all the men were staring. I’m used to being a minority, this is part of my identity. However my experiences in Buenos Aires has only heightened my racial and self awareness.