Nigerian NYC is centered in Crown Heights and East New York, Brooklyn; Concord-Fox Hills, Staten Island; and Unionburg-Newark Heights, New Jersey. You can find Nigerian products in the West African section of 115th St in Harlem, in and around the Malcolm Shabazz Harlem Market.
Nigeria has over 250 ethnic groups. Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba are the largest. Over 500 languages are spoken.
Yoruba traditions dominate African Diaspora culture in the Americas, but Yoruba in the Americas is a little different from Yoruba in Mother Africa. Yoruba traditions in the Americas absorbed Catholicism and the Dahomey and Kongo traditions that also rooted in the Americas. American Yoruba traditions are oriented to the European calendar instead of the Nigerian one. We are different branches of the same tree.
Yoruba traditions such as B’rer Rabbit and the Crossroads (Eleguá), have entered American pop culture. Interestingly, those are two sides of the same coin. The traditions are very beautiful. ¡Ashé!
Nigerian NYC News
RED CARPET RECEPTION
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
Monday, November 7, 2022
🇺🇸 🇧🇴 🇨🇴 🇩🇴 🇪🇹 ✡️ 🇲🇽 🇳🇬 🇱🇨
Wednesday-Tuesday, October 12-18, 2022
DAVID GEFFEN HALL
Thursday, September 7, 2023
Sunday, September 24, 2023
CARNEGIE HALL CITYWIDE
Friday, September 9, 2022
Friday-Sunday, September 9-11, 2022
Hudson Yards, Manhattan
Christie’s 21st Century Evening Sale art auction featuring contemporary artists such as Basquiat, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, and Toyin Ojih Odutola; is on view at Christie’s New York in Rockefeller Center from Saturday, November 12-17. The auction is Thursday, November 17, 2022 at 8pm. 🇫🇷 🇭🇹 🇳🇬 🇵🇷
Tunji Adeniyi-Jones: Emergent Properties, oil paintings and prints on West African traditions by the British-born, Nigerian artist, opens with a reception at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery in Tribeca, Manhattan on Thursday, October 20, 2022 from 6-8pm. Ends November 23. nicellebeauchene.com 🇳🇬
Chidinma Nnoli: When will my feet catch fire?, an exhibition of paintings and sculpture by Nigerian artist, is a Marianne Boesky Gallery in Chelsea, Manhattan, Thursday, September 8 – October 8, 2022. marianneboeskygallery.com 🇳🇬
Burna Boy brings his “One Night in Space” show of Nigerian Afrobeats to Madison Square Garden in Chelsea on Thu, Apr 28 at 8pm (7pm doors). From $109. 🇳🇬
Chioma Ebinama : Tipota shows the Nigerian American artist’s Afrocentric watercolors on paper at Fortnight Institute in the East Village, Fri, Apr 29 – May 29. fortnight.institute 🇳🇬
Amayo (Antibalas) plays Kung Fu influenced Afrobeats (really) at SOB’s in Hudson Square, Manhattan on Sat, Mar 5 at 7pm. $22. 🇳🇬
Greater New York 2021 opens at MoMA PS1 in Long Island City, Queens on Thu, Oct 7. Ends Apr 18, 2022. 🇵🇷|🇲🇽|🇦🇷|🇪🇬🇳🇬|🇺🇸
Nigerian Culture is Influential in the Americas
Nigeria is a border state at the southeastern end of West Africa and the northern end of coastal Central Africa. It has the world’s largest African population. It’s incredibly diverse with over 250 ethnic groups and over 500 languages.
It is not all Yoruba, but the heart of Yorubaland is in Western Nigeria. Yoruba culture is the dominant African Diaspora culture in the Americas. Cuban Rumba, Changüi and Son; Puerto Rican Salsa and Bomba; Haitian Méringue and Dominican Merengue; Brazilian Samba; and Peruvian Festejo have Yoruba roots. It’s probably in Colombian Cumbia too, but we can’t find any references.
Yoruba stories are beautifully drawn. They have the soft teaching quality of “Aesop’s Fables” or Zen stories. Yoruba culture also enters American culture. B’rer Rabbit is an American version of the Yoruba orisha Eshu. Many comic book superheroes are based on Yoruba orishas.
A common mistake is to think that Yoruba Culture is one thing. It’s many things and is slightly different in each place where it rooted. For example, Yoruba New Year is June in Nigeria, but January in Cuba. In Cuba, we celebrate Yemayá on September 7, but in Brazil we celebrate her on February 2. Like humans, human culture adapts to the place.
The Cross River Region is called Carabalí in the Diaspora. You hear references to Carabalí in Cuban Son and Puerto Rican Salsa. The Afro-Cuban men’s fraternity Abakúa (like freemasons) is from Carabalí.
King Sunny Adé’s Jùjú Music and Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat are Nigerian. Afrobeats (with an “s”) or AfroPop derives from these artists and their peers.
The Benin Bronzes (from Benin City in what is now Nigeria) are beautiful works of art from the 1200s-1500s that have no peers in any culture or time. They are so lifelike and expressive. The English stole most of them (thieves), but the Met Museum has some.
Nigeria is a very influential place.
Yoruba is One Nigerian Cultural Group
Nigerian Yoruba culture dominates the African Americas. Yoruba griot traditions (traveling storytellers) have even entered American folk culture. It’s so dominant that it’s easy to assume that Yoruba culture represents Africa. Yet Yorubaland is a tiny part of the African continent.
The Yoruba traditions Americans know best are Cuban and Caribbean. They are based on the Indigenous African traditions, but are not the same. They are blended with American traditions.
And Yoruba is not the only culture of Nigeria. Over 500 languages are spoken there. It’s an incredibly rich and diverse country.
Nigerian NYC is much bigger than what we have on these pages. It’s challenging to categorize African culture. There is the Indigenous culture of Nigeria and the culture of the Nigerian diaspora in the Caribbean, the Americas and Europe.
So when a Cuban drummer like Pedrito Martínez plays an Nigerian rhythm in New York City, is it American, Cuban or Nigerian? It’s a mix of all of the above. Anyway, we are working on it.