Saturday, October 20, 2012

Special report: An embarrassing Black Spanish Youth Day in Madrid

Our man in Madrid visited the highly anticipated event, The Black Spanish Youth Day in Madrid on 19 October. On the flyer it was billed as a hip-hop event where young cats could also express their daily struggles. But it turned out differently. The event was poorly organised and a one man show, youth were not found in the vicinity and our reporter was even ordered to sit down (which of course he refused).

By Chico-Rei

 I've just come back from the event and have to say I was very disappointed.

I really like the organiser Abuy Nfubea and his heart is in the right place but he can't orgainse and to be honest I feel it's like an ego trip for him, he loves the sound of his own voice and wanting to me the man who saves black people in Spain, I explained to him once it's a team effort he didn;t like that, The event was embarrassing, it was a youth day but there weren't any youths there, it had English on the flyer alongside Spanish so I was kind of expecting some of the event to be in English as well, so were some Ghanians who showed up, but left after 30 minutes as a whole there wasn't more than 20 people there, most of who began leaving after an hour.

It was just speech after speech from people with no breaks for five hours, I looked around and people had faces like they'd been dragged to church when their favourite TV program was on.

First there were members of parliment, a man from the Spanish Police about stop and search also an author called Reyes Fernandez who wrote about Spains role in the slave trade which alot of people don't know about, she raised some good points about this being taught in school, when it came to question time there wasn't enough people to ask them questions and then when people did ask them questions the organiser abuy cut them off so he could speak I couldn't believe it.

There was no breaks so people could mingle and talk to each other, and then when a video was shown where the speaking was too low and the music too loud, so loud it was distorting which made people cringe.

I spoke to two documentary makers after and they weren't happy both were black and born in Spain but one was has hertiage from Congo and the other Angola what they explained to me was the event should've been in French, Spanish and English because the black people in Spain speak one of these languages they were suprised like I, that they weren't any black people there from the Carib islands or South America, where Madrid is so segrated Dominicans have their neighbourhood, other latinos have their neighbourhood and Africans have their neighbourhood, so they rarely mix, I have friends from all these neighbourhoods and I know they have problems with the police so I know for sure if they knew the could voice their opinons to the police they would be there but I felt like the event being in the day on a Friday didn't help.

After two hours I looked around and people were falling alsleep. The only people still in the room were Abuy's friends. It was hard for me because I didn't understand everything, so I stood at the back and spoke to a girl who translated things for me, there were others speakers one from Colombia and others from Africa but they were speaking to an almost empty room, people started going outside just to talk and stretch their legs.

I was surprised there were no newspapers sellers, (here in madrid Africans sell newpspers but no one buys the newspaper, one Spanish person explained to me the newspaper is very bad so they never buy it in Spain, so really it's begging, the sellers hope to get spare change. Most of them are from Nigeria).

All I could do was shake my head, because alot of funding went into this event and it seemed to me it was for nothing, because things aren't gonna change when there are 20 people there.


  1. Even though I posted my comments about this under the original Black Spanish Youth Day thread it bears repeating: THIS IS TERRIBLE NEWS! Actually, quite embarrassing, too!

    I use the term embarrassing because I think about the HERCULEAN efforts and great successes the much smaller Afro-German community has been able to pull off in bringing their folk together, in comparison. The Afro-German population is scattered all over Germany, many of its members are the children of a white German parent, (it wouldn't surprise me that, possibly, the white parent may express a little discomfort about their son or daughter fomenting or becoming involved in the "Black German Movement",) there are no national Black directories to turn to with a listing of all the Black groups or entities in Deutschland, and they STILL manage to host A-1 conferences, reunions, and festivals to draw attention to their unique condition of being "Afro-Germans", on BOTH sides of the Pond!

    Why, oh, why, couldn't Blacks in Spain muster up and summon THEIR African and Afro-descended forces from the continental African community, the Dominican community, the Afro-Colombian and Afro-Cuban community, for just one day? On the schedule of events page of the sponsoring group's website (Foja) it explicitly said there would be a segment dedicated to Afro-Dominican youth. WHAT HAPPENED? And, speaking of the Black Spanish Youth, WHERE WERE THEY?!

    Look, in thinking about the tenuous state that I see African/African-descended people in globally I try my best to see the "glass being half full" more than the "glass being half empty----with a crack in it", because if I didn't I would become a frustrated nervous wreck. But I've got to say it in exasperation: Mr. Abuy Nfubea let us down! And worse, he let the Black Spanish Youth down, and this hurts!

    1. Just wondering something...

      To what extent was there a poor turnout of people with African descent (who would identify as Afro-Spanish) due to the fact that within the centuries old Spanish racial caste system, African-ness and blackness have always been denigrated and having any type of non-black admixture was enough to make one unofficially non-black and therefore, not self-identify as "black" and even loathe or seek to downplay their blackness? Perhaps then, there is still an environment of, "claim ANYTHING but black!"

      I know this denial and denigration of blackness is pervasive all throughout Latin America and has been carried by their descendants to the United States. NYC has gargantuan Puerto-Rican and Dominican communities. Dominicans tend to have the most African ancestry and from experience, calling one of them black, even the ones with substantial African ancestry clearly displayed in their phenotype, amounts to fighting words. I've encountered too many of them who hate, hide, minimize and deny their African heritage. In the Dominican Republic, the one drop rule is flipped on its head. Anyone with any discernible white blood can be considered non-black or white even. I know that in part, their national identity and self-perception was influenced by their proximity and conflict with their next door neighbors, the largely black Haitians. But Puerto-Ricans and Colombians don't have that history and still seem to suffer from the same type of racial sickness.

      Puerto-Ricans love to rally behind the notion of being Boricua, having descended from the Borinquen/Taino indigenous peoples, when most of them ALSO have substantial African heritage as well...but that is peripheral and never front and center where it belongs, especially considering the HUGE African influence on their cultural heritage. And in Bogota, it appeared to me that every other person had CLEAR African ancestry and yet the folks I encountered NEVER saw themselves as black and far more problematic, diminished their black ancestry. When one turns on the television or looks at advertisements and billboards, one primarily sees blondes with blue eyes and not the people who actually dominate the racial/ethnic landscape. It's ridiculous and quite sad.

      So again, I say all this to say, I wonder to what extent not wanting to be black or even self-identifying as "black" factors into people with African descent being resistant to support a distinctly Afro-Spanish event?

    2. Hi Blk Viking
      I made exactly the same observation when in Colombia and the DR. However, Cuba is completely different. People are proud of their African heritage there, even when they clearly look white but can trace their ancestry back to a black grand mother. I wonder what the communist school system role is in this evolution.
      Brazil is more complicated, somewhere inbetween all these observations. More diverse opinions and attitudes. It really depends who you're talking to and in which context, but also education, background, financial means, etc.

    3. Hey Sibo,

      You're absolutely right! I actually think that Cuba is the lone exception in Latin America as far as a country that completely embraces blackness and their African ancestry. And a lot of that has to do with Fidel Castro. Though the United States has painted him as a mad dictator, he has certainly been a friend to the cause of Blacks everywhere. It started in his youth. He came from a privileged upbringing but he grew up around the children of black Haitian migrants that worked on his family's farm. He only knew black people as PEOPLE and friends.

      When Trujillo, the racist, self-loathing (he was half black) dictator-president of the Dominican Republic who played a large part in the widespread social/cultural/institutional denigration of blackness, murdered thousands of Haitians along the DR's borders, Castro joined a military expedition to stop him. And once Castro began investigating Marxism and its belief in upholding the working class as the foundation of the country, he took to the poor neighborhoods in Cuba and saw that there was no distinction between race and class. The poorest people were blacks while the richest were white. From then on, he began empowering black people and black governments all throughout the diaspora and in Africa. When Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela call you an ally, you know you're doing something right!

    4. Hello BlkViking,

      Your knowledge of historical facts are quite factual however they do not paint an accurate picture as a whole since Castro's actions were not motivated by his love of black people or to benefit black people in any way. I believe that Castro was not and still is not a friend to blacks everywhere because he could care less about blacks that live in democratic countries---If so what has he done for blacks in Europe/US?. His interests in Africa during the 60's & 70's were merely for building alliances with countries & groups that had similar socialist/communist ideologies and agendas (ex: Marxist MPLA government in Angola,Guinea, etc). If this was so then why did he not aid all the other countries who did not share his ideologies?

      The Cuban government of then President Ramon Grau were the ones who planned to overthrow Trujillo (right wing ally of US). Castro did not conceive this plan he merely joined but ended up escaping when the police came to arrest him. So ironic, how in his youth, Castro wanted to overthrow a dictator but he became one himself.

      Nelson Mandela commended Castro for helping Angola fight South Africa while it was under apartheid but as I already stated, Castro helped the Marxist MPLA group in Angola fight them clearly because they were marxists. Another thing, Malcolm X is not seen as a hero even among many black people and civil rights organizations of the time since they opposed his radical, violent, militant and extremist ideologies...understandly so since he said that white people were devils and he called Dr. Martin Luther King a chump. Nothing for black people to be proud of!

      Castro has been holding Cubans (BLACK included) hostage for over 60 years, feeding them near starving diets, and taking away freedoms that they had before he came to power. All you have to do is speak to the elder Cubans (black or not) and they will all tell you the same thing. Things are so bad that some of his own children left Cuba and live in Miami!! Its not only wrong to inaccuratly romanticize a dictator but also to give him the label of "being a friend to blacks everywhere" when black Cubans have been suffering for the past 60 years.

      Latin New Yorker

  2. Afro Europe. Thanks for putting this as a post, like John said I am very hurt because this is the kind of thing white people expect from black people things being unorganised, when you are getting important people from Paraliment and the police you have to deliver.

    What also hurts me is when I walk past a supermarket and see black men begging with newspapers, it's always black men, what's worse is these guys aren't down and outs or on drugs they are healthy young men who can sometimes speak up to four languages, When I have time I sometimes stop and speak to them as the Nigerians know English some have been in Spain for up to five years and are waiting for papers, these are the kind of people that needed to be at the day but I wonder if they knew about it.

    I really thought it would be one of those events which was like a festival, where you have lots of stalls, rappers, poets, speakers, people selling black books for children, African clothes etc, but I was very very wrong.

    I am facebook friends with the writer Runoko Rashidi and he posted this on his page not too long ago which got me thinking maybe Abuy is advertising to the wrong people.

    and at John I'm happily surprised that you know who Chico-Rei is not alot of people outside of Brazil have never heard of him is what a legend he was. Spain needs someone like him now.

    1. John, Chico,

      I both have to thank you again. John thanks for the tip and Chico-Rey thanks report. I really hope they shape up, because it's better to have no activism, than bad activisme.

  3. First of all, I'd like a moment of silence to heartily thank our blog's founder for starting this site........................................................................................................................................................OK. Now we can give him, Afro-Europe, a warm round of applause!!!.................................................................................................................................................Thank you. See, not all of us are "Ugly Americans" who have no manners! I, for one, know when it's my outright DUTY to thank someone who's done a tremendous service, and Afro-Europe, to me, is the best thing going on the Internet concerning the range, scope and genius regarding the African Diaspora. And for that I'm truly grateful to have found this fantastic cyberhome!

    Chico Rei, yes, I know about the "first Chico Rei". :-) I also am amazed and inspired by the courageous feats of the escaped slave, Zumbi, who fought off the Portuguese and established a "quilombo" (community of escaped slaves) that lasted for generations. I have followed the lives of all the Afro-Brazilian lovers of freedom from Chico Rei (the First) :-) down to the movers and shakers of our days: the recently-expired Abdias do Nascimento; the late Lelia Gonzalez, who some say "officially" started the Black Power Movement in Brazil back in the '70's, and too many other Afro-Brazilian icons to mention. The Afro-Brazilian Movement is in full swing! (HEAR THAT, BLACKS IN SPAIN?????! I'm expecting better from you, the next time!)

    BlkViking, BlkViking, BlkkViking:
    I'll tell you what Ima do. Imo "clone" you and rush-ship you off to the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru, and ALL the countries in the Spanish-speaking Americas with sizeable Black communities, and "let you loose" on an "unprepared and unexpected", eurocentric and in the case of Puerto Rico, "indigenous-centric," populace. (In Puerto Rico it is much more "acceptable" and even a racial badge of honor to claim Taino native racial ancestry than African, as you have stated). As for the specific case of the Dominican Republic, where I have lived, I'm actually scared to give you a podium there---you'll cause too many heart attacks, strokes and mass faintings! LOL!
    OF COURSE many, many, many Spanish-speaking descendants of Africans and descendants of Africans and Europeans are "uneasy" about expressing their "blackness," as you experienced firsthand in New York,---especially in a group of continental Black ASfricans, but you weren't supposed to "let the cat out of the bag", BlkViking! Shhhhh! Gaaaawd! You're like the little boy who blabbed that the Emperor wasn't wearing any clothes! ROTFL!
    Baby steps, Viking. Baby steps. LOL!

    1. LMAO! You are too funny John! Hell, call me a rabble-rouser, "whistle blower," wig-snatcher, whatever you like, all I know is that I don't have time for racist tomfoolery and shenanigans in 2012 and beyond. I am not the "Mirror Mirror on the Wall," I will not assuage egos and tell folks what they want to hear. It may be quite unpleasant and uncomfortable for them but every time I think about how uncomfortable my ancestors were on the slaves ships via the middle passage and how unpleasant it was for them to be battered, abused, raped, lynched, worked to the bone and then cast aside...the hurt feelings of some bleached skins and relaxed heads seem rather trivial! lol

      And I second applauding Afro-Europe for the creation of this great and much needed space on the net concerning a much neglected portion of the African diaspora.

    2. John, thanks for the credit! As for "Ugly Americans" who have no manners!", it was the web team of Ebony Magazine who kept me going when I had planned to stop, so some of the "ugly Americans" aren't so ugly after all. :). And let's not forget all the positive responses. And last but not least. The comments are also an invaluable resource of information, some people don't even read the postings, they are only interesting what others have to say about a certain topic. So thanks again!

    3. This American (living in the USA) has never thought of herself as being ugly.

      I thank you Afro-Europe for this blog, and thank to all the bloggers who share first hand information that is beautiful in its depth and its reach.

      I want to particularly give a shout out to Blk Viking for his point that "In the Dominican Republic, the one drop rule is flipped on its head. Anyone with any discernible white blood can be considered non-black or white even."
      I'd read about how many people in the Dominican Republic view their racial ancestry, but that description of "flipping the one drop rule on its head" was an especially succient way of describing it.

      Special shout out also to Chico-Rei and John for motivating me to look up information about historical Black people in South American who I admit I had never heard of before, and might not have ever heard of were it not for them and this Afro-Europe blog.

      Thanks again from an African American blogger!

    4. Hello Ms. Azizi Powell!
      To clarify, there is an old expression and even a book called "The Ugly American," which attributes certain nationalistic and ethnocentric stereotypes to them. For example: The belief that the entire planet revolves around the United States. The rude tourist who demands that all whom he/she encounters in a foreign country speak perfectly-understood American English. The belief and accompanying behavior that Americans (especially whites) are racially and culturally superior to all other peoples of the world. I could go on and on, but the origin of the expression and book are yours for further research. "Ugly" does not refer to aesthetic appearance, but to an ugly attitude and actions.

      Anyway, glad that you learned about the rich and expansive contributions that Blacks have given in the past and present conformations of Latin American life. This contribution of Afro-Latinos continues as we speak, but their voice is often muted by the louder general "Latino" title that overshadows everything of Spanish-language background, even of undeniably African roots. IE so-called "Salsa" music, which is unmistakably a derivative of African-Cuban and other African-Latino genres.

      Here is a short list of websites in English that will keep you abreast of the latest in Afro-Latino thought, culture and politics. I hope you enjoy!

    5. Also and and there are documentaries on youtube called Black in Latin America.

      Thanks John I knew a few of these especially the Black woman of Brazil but I didn't know the rest

    6. Thanks, John

      Yes, I knew about the "ugly American" stereotype. I just wanted to have a bit of fun with play on words while also making the point that every American (UnitedStater isn't the same.)

      Thanks for the list of links. I appreciate them & plan to visit them.

      Also, you and others here might be interested in visiting my cultural blog:

      Pancocojams showcases the music, dances, and customs of African Americans and of other people of Black descent throughout the world.

      I showcase many types of music & dance, but I'm particularly interested in African American Blues, early Jazz, work songs, Gospel, fraternity & sorority cheers, and playground rhymes & cheers.

      By "customs" I mean things like suck teeth, high fives, the use & meaning of African American English slang, and Black hair issues & styles)

  4. LOL I experienced this kind of desapointements in Belgium and in France in the past but things have evolved since and there are more and more very interesting events that goes straight to the point. So I don't worry about how things will evolve in Spain for the black community. There are other organisations out there, at least one panafrican from what I know, so that Afroespanola group is not the only weapon for us out there.

    Thank you Chico-Rei for your report.

  5. "If at First You Don't Succeed, Try, Try, Again!"
    Obviously, Mr. Abuy Nfubea has his heart in the right place. On the heels of that, uh, um, "not-well-attended affair" last week, Mr. Nfubea is putting his efforts into yet another event to enlighten, unite, and mentally liberate the Black community in Spain.

    He, along with other Black organizations in Spain, is sponsoring, under the title of "Malcolm X University, From Black Power to President Obama", a promising (by the sound of it) afrocentric workshop in a bookstore in Madrid.

    This is a 3-day event to be held at the Enclave de Libros bookstore in Madrid (Calle de Relatores, 16-91)
    Telephone: 913 69 46 49
    The focus of the teach-in will be the origins of "Black Power" and how this movement can be put in place within the Afro communities in Spain for their upliftment. There will be several books (in Spanish) used during the course and the cost for books and the entire workshop is 75 euros.
    The dates are: Wednesday November 28, 2012; 7-9:30 PM;
    Thursday November 29, 2012; 7-9:30 PM;
    (No class Friday)
    Saturday December 1, 2012; 10:00 AM-3:00 PM.
    For general information (in Spanish) go to their website: (12 Octubre entry)
    For specific questions e-mail them @:

    I'm hoping that HUNDREDS of Africans and African-descendants crowd the bookstore out for this event.......

    1. wow I respect the fact that Abuy never gives up, but this guy crazy. Spain is in a recession right now and he charging 75 euros for an event when the people he aiming for are Africans struggling more than the orignal Spanish person WTF, I can't see white Spanish people going there either to listen to, how they can uplifet black people, people didn't come when it was free, why they gonna come now I for one am not going.

    2. Well I guess you've called it, Chico Rei. The Revolution Will NOT be Commercialized!

      I was looking at an upcoming Black Consciousness conference in Barcelona (sponsored by another organization; not Dr. Nfubea's) in December and it looks like it may be more "successful"----more than 20 people may show up. (The December conference, I think, is free). I'll post details the closer we get to December.

  6. Chico Rei & Ms. Azizi Powell:
    THANKS A LOT for the extra websites you shared! And you already know by the frequency that I post @ this blog I'll be a "permanent resident" @ your cyberhome over at Pancocojams", Ms. Azizi! LOL! Isn't sharing all this info about the African folk of the earth, wonderful?!

    1. "Isn't sharing all this info about the African folk of the earth, wonderful?!"

      My response is YES!!

    2. I meant to add Thanks to John!

      And speaking of a Youth festival in Spain or anywhere else, check out this post about a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA Hip-Hop dance group that I had the pleasure of seeing perform last night in my adopted hometown of Pittsburgh,PA:

      I added a video of a Guinea, West African traditional dance performance to show the similarities between the acrobatic movements of that group and the Philadelphia group.

      That Guinean dance company and the Philadelphia based Hip-Hop dance company IllStyle And Peace Productions are the type of groups that should have been part of that Afro-Spanish youth conference. But given the lack of funding, having those particular groups perform in Spain would have been just a dream.

  7. @ Ms. Azizi Powell:
    Overwhelmed. "Through". "Full". Totally satisfied. ALL of the sensations I've named is what I'm feeling.

    I just returned from your African-flavored cyberhome, Pancocojams, and saw the clip of the fellas from Lil Style and Peace performing both indoors and out, and "I was right there with them". :-)

    A "gift," so to speak, that comes so, so naturally to me, is my ability to dance; specifically and most enthusiastically to the cadence of ALL African and neo-African rhythms. If there is even an itsy, bitsy tinge of a stacatto drum beat that echoes with the rhythmic pulse of Mother Africa, my body, seemingly, has a "mind of its own" and I start dancing! It's as if the Ancestral Spirits are invoked by the beats of these sounds and I must, even against my willpower, dance with and for them. (I've had a few embarrassing experiences because of this, too). LOL!

    But anyway, YOU ARE RIGHT! THIS is who and the type of youth group should've been @ the Afro-Spanish Youth Day festival October 19th past. And I can A-S-S-U-R-E you that there are S-E-V-E-R-A-L magnificent Black dancers who freely perform in Retiro Park in Madrid, in the annual Columbus Day Parade, and other gatherings and street fiestas. I've seen clips of Djembe dancers and drummers from Senegal, folkloric dancers from Equatorial Guinea, and the best Afro-Cuban Rumba dancers and drummers this side of Havana----all in the cities of Madrid, Barcelona and even Valencia. So there's no excuse....
    Lemme stop. That's water under the bridge, right? (Or is it "over" the bridge?)

    Anyway, with the Internet, super-fast continuous globalization, and the deep desire to connect with each other, the African peoples of the world are coming together to share, compare and be aware of each other's culture and daily reality. And this particular noble endeavor,---Afro-Europe blog, and YOUR MIGHTY Pancocojams, are some of the tools to accomplish this.

    Having said all this I am convinced that:
    THE AFRO-SPANISH COMMUNITY WILL NOT BE LEFT OUT! Cultural and political globalization leaves NO ONE out! And that includes all the Afro-peoples of our beloved Earth!

    1. Amen!



      More power to the people!

      And thanks, John, for you support & advocacy!

  8. VIII Annual Pan African Seminar in Spain

    Saturday January 19, 2013
    5:00 PM
    Valencia, Spain
    Consell de la Comunitat Valenciana
    Carrer Llanterna 26
    46001 Valencia

    Discussion Topics:
    Black Slavery
    Decolonizing Your Mind
    Historical Knowledge and Memory in Democratic Spain, 1972-2013

    Alanna Lockward, Dominican writer based in Berlin, Germany
    Dowoti Desir- Durban Watch Group, Brooklyn, New York
    Ixia Mendoza-Decolonization Platform at Barcelona University
    Diebel Seck-Secretary General of the Barcelona Pan Africanist Federation, africologist, historian, and director of the Black Souls Study Center in Barcelona
    Abuy Nfubea-President of the Spanish Pan Africanist Federation, leader and coordinator of most Pan African conferences and seminars in Spain, tireless fighter for the advancement of Blacks in Spain of all ethnic backgrounds
    Kenny Ken-Member of the Black Spanish Youth organization, FOJA, that is sponsoring this seminar.

    More information:

    1. #Africologist under the website's address is a typo.


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