Labor Day Parade Takes On African Flavor


September 1 marked the popular Labor Day Parade in Brooklyn, New York. The parade also called the West Indian Parade is an annual celebration held on American Labor Day (the first Monday in September) in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. Thousands of revelers lined the Eastern Highway as paraders filed past in colorful and resplendent costumes. West Indian and some American music add up to the whole ambiance.

As usual, some Caribbean islands including Trinidad and TobagoHaitiBarbadosDominicaSaint LuciaJamaicaSaint Vincent and Grenada as well as GuyanaSuriname and  Belize were heavily presented with Jamaica being arguably the most conspicuous. Pockets of continental Africans were also present at the parade.

This year’s parade had a somewhat covert African presence with a truck decked out in a large Nelson Mandela banner in the fleet. In addition, Nigerian artist Flavour’s remix of the popular tune ‘Ashawo’ could be heard on at least 3 of the trucks; not to mention the ‘kente’ costumes and the occasional red, gold and green flags of different African countries.

There was also an exhibitor from Antigua teaching the history and the techniques for playing the popular African game known as ‘ayo’ in Nigeria and ‘oware’ in Ghana. Apparently it is also called ‘warri’ in Antigua and is played in other Islands nations like Jamaica and Haiti.


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