WHO: Nigerians in New York
WHAT: 56th Nigerian Independence Celebration
WHEN: September 29th - October 1
WHERE: New York, New York
Hands down! This was our best Nigerian Independence Celebration yet! My oh my…where do we begin? The Organization of Advanced Nigeria (OAN) organize a massive yearly 3-day event to celebrate Nigeria’s Independence Day in New York. It kicks off with a mixer, followed by Cultural Night and finishes off with a Parade. We were blessed with the opportunity to attend the event this year.
We had plans of attending the Welcome Mixer on September 29th, but were honestly too tired to get up when we made it to our hotel. We arrived in the evening and the ride to the hotel was way too strenuous. We got a fresh start to the morning with an interview with the highly entertaining Danish/ Afro-inspired comedian Ellen (popularly recognized as ellenbaby89) and the Instagram fitness sensation Scott Bernard (body_by_burnhard). We chatted about what they’ve been up to and future plans in New York. Stay tuned for the videos on our YouTube channel: dashikidiaries
Since we missed the first night’s festivities, we knew we had to be at the Cultural Night which took place at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center later that evening on September 30th. Now…that was a show! Young ladies and gentlemen competed for the OAN Mr. and Mrs. Nigeria competition. They performed cultural dances, poetry and had an African fashion show segment. Congratulations to Mr. Edo and Miss. Lagos! How dare we forget that the best MC in town; Young Prince kept the night ever so entertaining with his engaging and quite humorous performance.
Now…we were most excited about the Nigerian Independence Parade which kicked off at 10:00AM between 54th Street and 2nd Avenue. Our friends over at Africalabash Entertainment (New York’s #1 Nightlife Producer) hosted us on their float and made it an experience never to be forgotten. Prince Ademola (popularly referred to as the King of African Parties) emceed during the ride down New York streets and DJ Manny O kept us on our feet all the way through with the baddest Afrobeats jams! We were so happy to get somewhat of a tour on the float, since we hadn’t toured around the city much with our busy schedule for the weekend. We got to see the Consulate General of Nigeria in New York for the first time which was filled with our fellow brothers, sisters, cousins, aunties and uncles waiting for us to pass by.
After we got off the float, we made our way to 44th Street where the Nigerian festival was being held at. There were various vendors with food, drinks and Nigerian apparel. Walaahi, it was the closest thing we’ve experienced to Wuse Market and we loved it! Various Nigerian dignitaries were recognized during the festival for their works within the Nigerian and New York community. Nollywood legend, Clarion Chukwura was also acknowledged during the event. Nigerian heartthrob, Ayo Jay was the special guest performer and gave an outstanding show. You know it’s real when the young girls want to jump past the barricades!
Some people may have thought that we would call it a night and head off back to New Orleans, na lie be that! Once again, our friends at Africalabash Entertainment couldn’t let that happen. They organized the annual Green Passport Afterparty with a few other African promoters in the city and made it clear that it was an event not to be missed. How could we disappoint our friends nah? We made our way back to the hotel and quickly switched up our outfits. When we tell you those brothers, sisters and cousins we met earlier at the Consulate of Nigeria were partying with us that night, you wouldn’t believe it. It was a fully packed event! After a few adult beverages in our system and partially losing our minds on the dancefloor, we knew closed out our New York weekend properly.
New York don’t owe us nothing!