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16th Annual Reading Festival

Urban Voices

Are you ready to be moved in time, through time, and back to the beginning of time by Urban Voices through dance, music, poetry, and real-life stories of Where We Are Coming From? It’s the 16th Annual Reading Festival presented by the Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council – Saturday, February 11, 2023, at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  This year, the festival will be a two-day event with the first day, Friday, February 10th reserved for students. For the second day, which is open to the public, the festival begins at 2:00 pm with music by the Tallawah Mento Band, poetry by Nicaraguan Poet Francisco Larios, real-life stories of the urban roots of contemporary Jamaican culture by Sydney Roberts, and spoken word, hip-hop and dance with the First Wave Touring Ensemble from the Urban Arts Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison.    

Our keynote presenter is Jamaican-born Professor Chris Walker, professor of dance at University of Wisconsin-Madison and a former dancer with the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica (NDTC). For the company’s 60th anniversary repertoire, Walker choreographed the tribute to Reggae matriarch Rita Marley. His lecture-demonstration - Poetry in Motion- will focus on African Diaspora culture and traditions. Francisco Larios has three poetry collections to his credit. He lectures at Miami-Dade College and has read internationally. Community activist Sydney Roberts, is the head of Jamaica Awareness. He grew up in West Kingston, Jamaica, and has been immersed in the beginning of Jamaica’s cultural development from the early 1960s. A panel discussion on aspects of Caribbean culture will follow the presentations. MC for the event is Sophia Nicholson.

This free community event is presented by the Louise Bennett-Coverley Heritage Council. Funding is provided in part by the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Council. Sponsors include Friends of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center and the Jamaica Tourist Board.

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