News

Documentary About The African Roots Of Tango Hits Select U.S. Theaters

Dom Pedro's Tango Negro explores the major, yet oft-unrecognized role that African culture played in the birth of the ballroom dance style.


Still from 'Tango Negro'

Dom Pedro's documentary Tango Negro: The African Roots of Tango shines a light on the major, yet oft-unrecognized impact that African culture has on the popular ballroom dance style and music.

As Shadow & Act reports, the film "details the dance’s early cultural significance as a depiction of the social life of captured African slaves and provides an expansive compilation of musical performances and interviews from tango enthusiasts and historians alike."

Tango Negro will begin a one-week theatrical run this Friday, August 14, in New York City (MIST Harlem) and Chicago (Facets Cinematheque). The film will also be screened at the 9th Annual African Diaspora International Film Festival on Aug. 23 in Washington, DC.

Pedro, an Angolan filmmaker, was first inspired to make the documentary more than two decades ago, after watching Cameroon beat Argentina in the 1990 World Cup. The match led him to question why Argentina and Chile had so few Black players, unlike the other Latin American teams.

Ultimately, it was acclaimed Argentinian pianist Juan Carlos Caceres and his interest in the origins of drums in tango that prompted Pedro to explore the depth of the art form's sub-Saharan African musical influence, "a presence that has crossed oceans and endured the tides of forced bondage," reads a description for the film.

"The tango is made up of three sadnesses, three memories," Caceres says in the film. "The immigrants' sadness. The gaucho's sadness, people who lived in the country. And finally the Blacks' sadness, who didn't come here as immigrants, but who were brought here, leaving their lives in Africa." In addition to being interviewed, the late musician also served as the film's composer.

For more information on upcoming Tango Negro screenings, visit the film's website here.

Photo by Meztli Yoalli Rodríguez

Dying Lagoons Reveal Mexico’s Environmental Racism

In the heart of a traditionally Black and Indigenous use area in Southwest Mexico, decades of environmental destruction now threatens the existence of these communities.

On an early morning in September 2017, in a little fishing village in the Pacific coast of Oaxaca, called Zapotalito, thousands of dead fish floated on the surface of the Chacahua-Pastoría lagoons. A 7.1-magnitude earthquake, which rattled Mexico City on September 19, was felt as far down as Zapotalito, and the very next morning, its Black, Indigenous and poor Mestizo residents, who depend on the area's handful of lagoons for food and commerce, woke up to an awful smell and that terrible scene of floating fish.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Watch Focalistic & Vigro Deep’s New Music Video For ‘Ke Star’

The 'Lockdown Level 1 anthem' has come to life through fire visuals.