Black Style

As I am posting this, I am in an office at the UF Hillel, for the 40 Tour, staring at a poster that says, “Black Kids: Spring Tour 2008”. Anyway, the photo on the left is of “Black Style” is by Avishai Mekonen and captures the group of three young Ethiopians living in Israel becoming celebrities in their small community of Binyamina as they use hip-hop to try to express with their own desires to be free of judgment and oppression. It’s a familiar trope in the hip-hop cannon, but coming from the unique perspective of a Jewish African diaspora community rapidly assimilating (and not only giving up injera) into Israeli culture. If you want to check out some of their music, and learn more about the distance between the elders and the youth culture of this community, artist Avishai Mekonen (a Six Points Fellow) is presenting a photo and video show at the JCC in Manhattan. In one of the videos you can hear the US premiere of the music of Black Style. The Ethiopian Jewish community has an oral history tradition that counts seven generations of an individual’s family at key moments in life. It has been practiced mainly by Kessim (rabbis) and elders for centuries in Ethiopia, and now in Israel, where many members of the Ethiopian Jewish community now live and where much of their culture, including this oral history ritual, is being lost with the death of the elders. Beejhy Barhany, director of the BINA cultural foundation, and artist Avishai Mekonen will offer a view of this ancient ritual from within the community in order to preserve it for future generations and to introduce the Ethiopian-Jewish culture to a larger audience. Enjoy Ethiopian food and music. Families are welcome. Co-sponsored with BINA, The Beta Israel of North America Cultural Foundation.

JCC in Manhattan
334 Amsterdam Ave (at 76th)


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