Streets closed off. Traffic rerouted. A section of Downtown Brooklyn carved out, allowing anyone and everyone to face the surrounding music and dance.

An earthquake of drums filled the corners of every intersection. The hearts of attendees were seduced and entranced into beating as one cohesive organ, and were caught in the riptide of a massive crescendo. A tidal wave of scents rushed in, demanding your attention and desire. Here, the oil for funnel cakes danced and popped over the fire; there, a mist of sweet succulence sprayed out when a cleaver chopped through a sugar cane; and way out over there, the charred ears of corn were peeled off, raining ashes on the crowded pavement.

When the Sun finished its shift and made its commute down west, the festival suffered no shortage of light. Fabrics and textures of every color imaginable cloaked the bodies of both young and old. Families on an inner-city adventure, couples indelibly wrapped in each other's arms, little children drawing on the sidewalks-- all shining bright with clothes like flames and smiles like stars.

What started as a celebration of one land, has become a celebration of all lands and peoples. Coupled with the driving beats of Africa, where the joyous sounds of Haiti, the relaxation of the West Indies, and the vivacity of Cuba.

All were welcome. Because we all-- whether Black, Hispanic, or even White-- blossomed forth from one beautiful garden.

We're all seeds of Africa.

Words by Rich Etienne