HISTORY.

For four decades, CCCADI has worked toward the cultural and socio-economic equity of African Diaspora communities in New York City and around the world. We have witnessed our work generate deeper understanding of - and appreciation for-  the complex tapestry and diversity of African Diaspora arts and culture.

CCCADI’s work has always been at the vanguard, in line with the living tradition of Diasporic peoples as cultural innovators.The Center is widely acknowledged for popularizing the term and activating a movement for “cultural equity” and for promoting the use of the “Diaspora” in relation to African descendants. CCCADI has produced watershed moments in the presentation of innovative works – performances, exhibitions, conferences and scholarship – that highlight the uniquely African aesthetics evident in our global culture.

Throughout our history we have acted as an incubator and springboard for artistic and intellectual brilliance, community-building initiatives and cutting-edge academic research as the fuel for creative and artistic productions.

 

Memorable moments include:

  • Presenting stellar artists such as Celia Cruz, Max Roach, Amiri Baraka, Tito Puente, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Hugh Masekela and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. CCCADI was the first presenter to place rap music on stage at Lincoln Center, in 1989, with Queen Latifah, The Roots, A Tribe Called Quest and MC Lyte.

  • Organizing international gatherings, such as the Orisha Tradition World Conference in Nigeria (1981), Brazil (1983) and NYC (1986), which convened global academics, spiritual leaders and practitioners of Yoruba sacred religious traditions for the first time in history.

  • Curating many groundbreaking shows, such as Transforming the Crown: African, Asian and Caribbean Artists in Britain, 1966-1996 (1996), which amassed more than 100 works into an exhibition that was simultaneously on-view at CCCADI, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and The Bronx Museum of the Arts. The landmark exhibition became a model for institutional collaboration.

  • Launching the “Mi Querido Barrio” (My Beloved Community) augmented/virtual reality project and mobile app that engages local artists and youth in digitally landmarking East Harlem’s rich history and cultural legacy. MQB successfully attracted funding from New York Community Trust; accolades from the National Trust for Historic Preservation; and was featured in the New York Times. Participating youth gained valuable skills to engage in the digital economy while advancing their artistic self-expression.

 

CCCADI was located for 25 years in a brownstone on West 58th Street. In 2016, the organization will relocate to a state-of-the-art community cultural arts center located on East 125th Street.