BROOKLYN, NYWaWaWa Diaspora Centre in collaboration with the Brooklyn Public Library  is presenting Brooklyn to Benin: Ancestral Memories Part (II) on Dec. 19 at the central branch. The film screening is the second in a series of educational and mixed-media events exploring the historical, cultural and spiritual connections between the African diaspora and Benin, West Africa from a Haitian-American perspective.

“Today many members of the African diaspora are seeking knowledge of their ancestry through DNA testing and are further researching family, local, national and international archives, in their quest to learn more about their genealogical heritage,” Cathleen Marie Antoine and Régine Romain said in a statement. The Haitian-American women are the executive producers and directors of the films Brooklyn to Benin: A Vodou Pilgrimage and African Odyssey: Ancestral Memories.

“Others, do not feel the need to take a DNA test, because within their family narrative, the various African nations of origin are remembered.”

The two short narrative documentary films share the journey of two women of Haitian descent who cross time and space to travel to Benin, formerly the Kingdom of Dahomey, where many Africans were stolen and sold into captivity. Their sojourns are individual, but are connected to Haiti and to the “healing and reconciliation” necessary for all who descend from the tragic TransAtlantic Slave Trade history.

“Brooklyn to Benin is my personal pilgrimage into Vodou and its artistic and cultural survival throughout the Diaspora,” said Romain, who directed and produced the film. “The intention of this deep and intense exploration is to promote understanding and appreciation for religious/spiritual freedom while broadening my artistic range and practice in performance, photography, research, and writing and storytelling.”

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