September 24, 2016

The National Museum of African American History and Culture opens with an interactive stepping exhibit led by Step Afrika!

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Step Afrika! Educating the masses about the cultural art of stepping

Written by Glenn H. Burkins for Q City Metro, published March 3, 2017

While 2016 won’t be remembered so fondly by a broad swath of the African American populous, for C. Brian Williams, it was, in some ways, a banner year. In February, the Step Afrika! founder watched as his dance company performed at the White House, and featured performers in the final Black History Month reception under the Obama administration.


He ended 2016 by visiting the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture, where Step Afrika! is featured in an interactive display that teaches visitors about the cultural art of stepping.


“I like to joke around that Step Afrika! is performing and teaching people every minute of the day now,” he tells Qcitymetro. “It’s one of the most popular exhibits. Its attracts a lot of young people, as you can imagine, because it is interactive.”

“I think Step Afrika! will constantly be in a position of explaining this tradition to a broader audience, You know, we take this tradition all over the world.” he said. “I always felt when I started Step Afrika! that I was a little bit ahead of the curve in terms of researching and honoring a tradition that wasn’t really recognized as such. So it is something of a validation for it to finally get that kind of crossover.”


As for Step Afrika!’s inclusion in the new Smithsonian museum dedicated to African American history and culture, Williams says he is more honored than surprised.


The fact is that, when we started doing this work, I recognized stepping and this tradition as something that was very unique, not only to American culture but to world culture,” he said. “I’m just glad that everybody’s got the memo now.”



Be A Part of Our History

Founded in 1994 by C. Brian Williams, Step Afrika! is the first professional company dedicated to the tradition of stepping. Under Mr. Williams’ leadership, stepping has evolved into one of America’s cultural exports, touring more than 60 countries across the globe. To share your Step Afrika! story, visit Step Afrika!'s 30th Anniversary Timeline is made possible by the generous funding of Bloomberg Philanthropies, with additional support from the Mellon Foundation and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities.

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