Quade Covers: The Thread
“A Virtual community event that’ll keep you inspired, entertained, and prepared for the possibilities ahead.”
More than 2,000 people gathered online for the virtual conference The Thread: Conversations Beyond The Return: Volume Three with the mission of “unpacking the potential for Pan-Africanism in a post Year-of Return moment.”
Presented by Tastemakers Africa and hosted by Cherae Robinson, this conference marked the third installment in this historic traveling series. Speakers shared how Covid-19 has impacted both the world and the leaders, movers, and doers in Africa and the diaspora, along with updates from a variety of fields. Below are some of our favorite highlights from this fascinating event.
On the Creating New Ways of Existing panel, Swady Maartin, Jidenna Mobisson, Mark Blake, and Aala turned their focus to the impact of food and its place in our culture and ancestry. Discussing packaged foods and sugary drinks, they shared the importance of viewing these items, not as food, but as imitation food. While they are often a part of a family’s tradition, they can cause real physical harm.
Food has a spiritual quality as well, the panel discussed. By connecting new knowledge that we acquire of food with personal narratives we can undo the damage that passes from generation to generation. Lastly, no one should think they can make these changes on their own. Especially in the time of Covid-19, the systemic racism involved in poor nutrition for the community must be addressed.
On Travel Africa | When + How Can We Return Again, Akwasi Agyeman, Tiffanie Anderson, Naledi Khabo, and Bheki Dube discussed the current difficulties in African tourism and travel. For many in the community, traveling to rich cities such as London, Dubai, or New York is in fact cheaper than visiting the African countries. With a lack of reliable railways and airlines, international travel on the continent can sometimes be impossible.
The panel posed may important questions: Can Africa learn from Asian countries such as The Philippines and implement a highly cost-effective air travel system? And how can African countries empower themselves to prevent a recolonization of the continent, even by African Americans?
Speaking for Advocating for Ourselves | Race, Class, and Justice in the COVID-19 Era, panelists Rokhaya Diallo, Irungu Houghton, Aseante Renee, and Candi Castleberry, presented a powerful talk on the inequality on display during the pandemic. Communities of color have seen disproportionate harm, not only from the virus but from misinformation, propaganda, and police brutality. Increased police presence has led to increased tragedies caused at the hands of law enforcement.
The pandemic has also reinforced how sensationalistic the media is, calling attention only to the worst issues of Africa. More Black Media is needed to spread the truth of Black people around the world.
Finally, on From Within | Art in Turbulent Times, panelists Zohra Opoku, Stanley Squirewell, Meryanne Loum-Martin, James Bartlett, and Pierre Christophe Gam discussed how Covid-19 is changing the world of art and how the community must adapt to the upcoming reality. Museums have opened to the public for virtual viewings but should remain open to all folks going forward.
African art must also escape the commodification of art championed in the West and move towards using art to understand our own agency. Finally, more unique aspects of the Diasporic community need to be presented through art, not only those experiences which can be understood through a universal paradigm.