If you come to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, you’re bound to hear a surprising range of stories. Today I heard comedian Terry Wayne Sanders recount how he met his wife—after he ate at the Pizza Hut where she worked for forty straight days, she invited him over for a homemade meal—and I heard chef and activist Elena Terry (Ho-Chunk Nation) describe an egregious example of cultural appropriation—someone trying to trademark the name and product of huitlachoche, a corn fungus that has been honored as a culinary delicacy by the Maya and across Mesoamerica for centuries.
Whether humorous or aggravating, these stories inspire—joy, curiosity, action. We hope the discussions at the Festival continue off the National Mall, as we bring these stories into our own homes and communities.
In the evening, hear sounds of Puerto Rico and Cuba, New York, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California, at Memorias de agua: An Evening of Film, Dance, and Music. This concert salutes the transformative spirit and enduring African legacy in music and dance from the Caribbean, with a screening of the short film Daughter of the Sea and performances by Bomba Yemayá and Bobí Céspedes.
Elisa Hough is the editor at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, and Daniel Zhang is a media intern for the Folklife Festival.
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