Daegu festival to celebrate Black History Month

Daegu festival to celebrate Black History Month
Sam Okyere.

The city of Daegu will host its second annual Black History Month Festival this month, featuring TV personality Sam Okyere as the guest of honour and cohost.

Jemarley McFarlane, cochair of the event, explained the theme of this year's festival, "This is black."

"Simply put, 'This is Black' refers to a collection of experiences that transcend racial lines to look beyond human experiences. It encompasses complexities of the black experience and history, and challenges people to consider what defines and represents what it means to be black," he said.

The theme will be addressed in a seminar series in the morning session of the festival, where speakers will hold discussions on various aspects of black history, including the history of black people in Korea.

This will be followed by a concert in the afternoon where everything from hip-hop music and dancing to spoken poetry will be performed.

The theme follows on from the success of last year's event which McFarlane says motivated the group to try to expand the festival.

He said the festival was set up by Jet Cessant and his friends, who were disappointed with attitudes and behaviour toward racial minorities in Korea.

"Together, their vision was to highlight the positive images of black people through films and performances as a way to deconstruct stereotypes ... about racial minorities in Korea and in the world," he said.

"Their success in putting together last year's event has inspired us to continue to build this cultural exchange to encourage mutual understanding between Korean society and racial minorities living in Korea."

Despite the past success of the festival, the job is far from done.

"While exposure to racial minorities is a step in the right direction, there is still much misunderstanding that exists in Korea today. Our event welcomes Koreans to engage with foreigners, especially racial minorities, to understand and embrace difference," McFarlane said.

"We hope this festival will grow from a one-day festival into a weekend or weeklong festival. As for now, we are content with our resources and will continue to work on growing our programming throughout Korea."

The festival will be held on Feb. 28 at Debec Stage in Daegu from 2 p.m. For more information visit the festival's Facebook page.

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