Shirlene Green Newball
Photos: Jukka Luoma
The Afro-Finns community gathered in Helsinki for the 2 nd AfroFinns Achievement Awards, which took place at the Forum Theatre last week on Saturday.
The grand open of the AfroFinns Achievement Awards (AAA) 2019 was lead with a video of several remarkable black figures quotes and pictures such as Maya Angelou, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Martin Luther King Jr. Harriet Tubman, Marcus Garvey, and others.
The AfroFinns Achievement Awards was held to acclaim the contribution of the Afro community in Finland by celebrating their achievement, acting as a motivation, and reaffirming that we know and see your work as part of a larger society.
This event was organized by AfroFinns, which is a non-profit association for Finns and everyone with an African heritage living in Finland. It promotes diversity, inclusion, supporting cultural development, education programs, and encouraging civic engagement in the community. “Our mission is to elevate, encourage and support more self-reliance within the community”, said Elvis Fuamba, secretary of the association.
During the night the performances on stage didn´t stop, it was a mix of music, talk, stories, and others. Artists that sparkle the night were from Berlin, the United States of America, and Finland.
This year AAA 2019 ceremony had over 40 nominees for 13 categories. The selection process has three stages. First, the community members suggest a list of names for various categories. Second, the AfroFinns yield a list of nominations with a maximum of 5 people by category. Third, three parts compose the winning selection: 20 % from the public vote, 40% from an independent judge (this year it was from Think Africa), and the last 40% from the AfroFinns judge committee.
It was a great night of music, dance, and chat with new people in the heart of Helsinki. Just in case you miss it, here is the complete list of all the winning and the nominated.
Winner: Zawde Berhanu
Winner: Sofy Kap
Blaq boy Jnr
Winner: Sara Bejedi
Sierra Leone Football team Helsinki
Winner: Dorina Owindi
Winner: Paco Ndiaye
Addis Ethiophian kitchen
The Nomad Food & Wine is a restaurant of a food journey where flavors from Africa, Italy, and the Nordic are combined for a new and unique taste. Paco Ndiaye, chef and owner said, “ the feeling of winning as been incredible and unexpected. It was an honor for me because it means that I am doing something good. As immigrant, we always need to try to give a good example, integrate the cultures, set a high standard in everything we are doing, and try to fly high like everyone else, so no excuses”.
Ally of Africa
Winner: Afrojazz Club
Winner: Theresa Bilola
Elizabeht Agbor Eta
Creative Artist in Performing Arts
Winner: Geoffrey Erista
Creative Artist in Visual Arts
Winner: Dennis Owusu
Winner: Good Hair Day Helsinki
African Fashion Week Helsinki
Another winner of the night was Good Hair Day, which is an anti-racist movement working toward the wellbeing of the Afro-Finnish community. It started in 2016 as an urban day event to expand the perception of beauty, discuss the politics of the Afro, celebrate, and share knowledge of Afro hair. Currently, it has grown because they don’t only organize the annual event, but also support other events, hold workshops and talks for the community about different topics.
Good Hair Day Helsinki, Community Leader Award.
“We as a collective are honored and happy to receive the Award for the Community Leader of the year. It is wonderful to be celebrated in our community, we are looking forward to much more collaboration with other active AfroFinns in Finland”, expressed the group.
Winner: Obiwest Utchaychukwu
Winner: Deejay Nestar
African Fashion week Helsinki
Winner: Awax Kuier
The ending of the event was amazing and inspired by hearing the words of Zawde Berhanu Life Time Achievement 2019 who was the first African to study at a university in Finnish. He is now 95 years old.