Through the wonders of Facebook, I was introduced to Jorge Gonzelez, Director of WorldBeat Cultural Center.
He was a great resource on my journey through Mexico. Here’s a short interview with Jorge:
Established in 1985, the WorldBeat Center (WBC) is a non-profit 501(c)3 cultural arts organization. Through cultural education and programming, the WorldBeat Center is known as the premier cultural center dedicated to the African and Indigenous Diaspora. Recent years have brought an increased international relationship with Latin American, the Caribbean and Africa, particularly with cooperative education, technology, economics and diplomacy. The WorldBeat Center is far reaching, touching people from all backgrounds and lifestyles. WBC’s lives the slogan by Uniting the world through music , art, dance, culture, and technology.
Tell me about your position at Worldbeat center. What are some of the current projects of the Afro mexican Studies Dept and what are your goals as director?
I established the Afro-Mexican dept. at the WorldBeat Center in 2004. Over the years, as a director, I’ve helped coordinate youth outreach programs with black and latino students in the San Diego School District. I usually give an hour presentation pertaining to the black legacy in Mexico accompanied with a multi-media presentation. Moreover, as editor of our tv show titled WorldBeat Live, I produced and dedicated one of our shows to the black root in Latin America; specifically it consisted of the Son Jarocho movement that has bloomed in California since 80′s and we footage of Cesar Moreno’s talk at the From Yanga to the Present exhibit in Oakland, CA.
Some our goals, in the near future, are:
- To host and promote a multi-media exhibit dedicated to the black social movement in Costa Chica, Oaxaca and everyday experience of blackness; thus pertaining to my academic research and our kin relationship with organizers
- Host the 1st Binational Son Jarocho Encouner in Ensenada
- Establish a library (books, music, photos, etc.) dedicated to the black diaspora in Latin America.
The goal behind our projects is not only to educate those interested on contemporary Afro-Latino politics but help fundraise and support art related projects. Subsequently, send economic remittances and help establish a sister relationship with civil associations such as Mexico Negro and AFRICA.
I’ve also worked closely with the black NGO Afromexicana located in Pasadena, CA.
How has the work of the World Beat Center grown over the years?
Over the years, we have hosted several events dedicated to the black presence in Mexico; more so now with out new cultural center in Ensenada, B.C., Mexico. Some main events have been: 1) Producing a three day workshop and concert with one of the best son jarocho group in Veracruz Los Cojolites. Also, we have promoted and are working closely to establish a son jarocho dept. with Son del Centro (Santa Ana, CA) and Las Cafeteras (East Los Angeles, CA). Recently we had both groups performing in an event in Ensenada titled “From Son Jarocho to Hip-Hop.” As a result, new investigations have been done pertaining to black culture in southern Veracruz.
Do you have advice for students interested in African Diaspora and Latino studies?
My main advice to students interested in the black diaspora within Latino Studies is to study abroad or simply visit any country of interest and become familiarized with a black NGO depending on country of interest.
How can people support your non-profit?
People can support our Afro-Mexican dept. by donating money to our non-profit dept. or any content (books, music, videos, etc.) related to the topic or Afro-Latino studies in general. Also they can donate their time at the WBC thus helping with research, grant writing, and help produce events.
For more information they can e-mail me email@example.com (directed to Jorge Gonzalez Afro-Mexican Director)
Check out the latest episode of World Beat Live TV: