Bomba as we know, was born of resistance – black resistance against slavery in Puerto
Rico. Today, while many know bomba to be an Afro Boricua form of cultural expression,
it continues to play a key role in resistance movements on the island. When Puerto
Ricans rose up to demand the resignation of Governor Rosello last year, bomba was
one of the ways Puerto Ricans expressed themselves. More recently, as protests
spread over the brutal killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police, a rally was held in
Loiza that included bomba.
Movimiento Cultural was proud to honor this tradition, performing during a Black Lives
Matter rally in New Haven that attracted an estimated 5,000 protesters. Lucy Gellman
of The Arts Paper described the bombazo as follows:
Under a tent on the sidewalk, the congas became a heartbeat. Just feet
away, dozens of people moved back, an asphalt batey suddenly visible at
the center of Union Avenue. Hands clapped. Hips rocked. Shoulders
unclenched for flexing arms. The drums, now singing, slid into a rhythm
New Haven hadn’t heard for months. Revolution was coming… as members
of Movimiento Cultural Afro-Continental (MCAC) educated thousands in the
history and echoing, pulsing footprint of Bomba.
This was the first of Movimiento Cultural’s performances since the pandemic hit last
March. We were moved to act during a moment when everyone should be speaking out against racism and injustice. But we hope that this won’t be our last performance of the year. As cities make efforts to reopen, we will seek ways to continue to celebrate our culture in ways that also protect our health and the safety of our communities.