For Immediate Release

Press contact: Stella Adelman, 415-826-4441 or

Press photos: Available online at and by request




Afro Urban Society in association with Dance Mission Theater presents

Bakanal de Afrique: What Had Happened Was…

An Afro-Urban Musical


November 10, 7PM / The Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oak

November 16 & 17, 8PM / Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF


Tickets: $30

Tickets and info:




(September 2018) Get all wrapped up in a hot blooded frenzy of dance, storytelling, video, afrobeats, soca, hip-hop, blues, dancehall, rumba, soukous, and electrifying visuals! A trail of personal stories will guide as we swivel along a timeline of Afro Urban culture from its birthplace on the cities of Africa, to the beats on the streets of Black America and the world. Ain't no mountain high enough as we raise the roof and raise the questions "Where did we come from?" "Where are we going?" When will we arrive?!" Created by Nkeiruka Oruche and directed by Tossie Long, other collaborators include Regina Calloway (Oakland), Thamsanqa Hlatywayo (South Africa/Oakland), Wow Boyz (Nigeria/Houston) and Lydia 'LydRock' Rockson (Ghana / Houston).


As described by Oruche, “What Had Happened Was… asks the question: How do we give roots to the diaspora spread overseas who may never return? The lost. The dreamer. The worker. How do we communicate across languages forgotten, forced or adopted? Connecting the dust here to the concrete there.”


What Had Happened Was… is an Afro Urban musical presented as part of Bakanal de Afrique (BdA), an Afro Urban Festival that includes workshops, film screenings, and exhibits, in addition to performances (see Event Shortlist).


Lighting design is by Harry Rubeck in collaboration with the participants of Afro Urban Society and Dance Mission’s Stage Lighting Fellowship for people of African Descent.


This work is supported in part by Creative Work Fund, MAP Fund, Rainin Foundation, Alliance for California Traditional Arts, California Arts Council, City of Oakland, Akonadi Foundation, Dancer’s Group, and East Bay Community Foundation.





Bakanal de Afrique (BdA), is an Afro Urban festival. The gifted child of Afro Urban Society, BdA brings us together across cultures, and showcases new, emerging and underground urban art, culture and people through performance, workshops, visual media and conversations. The festival features multiple days of events in collaboration with artists and various organizational partners.

Afro Urban Society is a network of artists and culture workers dedicated to celebrating the unique expressions of Urban Africans through programs, performances and productions.


Dance Mission Theater is an inter-cultural community dance center and theater located in the heart of San Francisco’s Mission District. Rooted in intersectional feminism, Dance Mission is dedicated to supporting the voices of POC, womxn, youth, and immigrant artists.


Nkeiruka Oruche, Director & Producer

An Igbo-Nigerian-American cultural producer and multidisciplinary performer, Nkeiruka 'Nkei' Oruche specializes in the expressions of urban culture of the African Diaspora and its intersections with personal identity, public health and sociopolitical action. Since 2002, Nkeiruka has played a crucial role in ushering African culture unto the global stage from working as Editor-in-Chief of, a digital magazine, and as co-founder of One3snapshot, an urban African art collective. In 2016, she directed “Til’ Dance Do Us Part,” a tongue-in-cheek dance-theater piece narrating urban African life stages, love and coming of age, and incorporating a soundtrack of Afrobeats, Azonto, Turf, Second-Line, and Dancehall, delivered against a sociohistorical narrative of colonialism, racism and Black empowerment.


Tossie Long, Co-Director

San Francisco native with the incarnations of Mississippi, Tossie Long is a multifaceted 2018 GRAMMY-nominated vocalist, actor, performer, and visual manipulator who uses art, culture, and explorations in intimacy as her tools of magic to shift the world. Tossie’s voice and presence has graced the albums and stages of TuNeYaRdS, The Sh8peShifter, Pancho Morris, Alphabet Rockers!, Oakland Symphony, San Francisco Jazz Festival, Stern Grove Festival, Harlem Museum, The Stone NYC, Fox Theater, and YBCA to name a few. She is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Afro Urban Society’s Bakanal de Afrique, an Afro Urban festival that celebrates the unique expressions of urban Africans through performance and community activism.

11/2 | 1st Friday Art Exhibit & Mixer | Studio Grand, Oak
11/10: | “What Had Happened Was…”, An Afro Urban Musical | The Flight Deck, Oak
11/16 | Bakanal at the OMCA | Oakland Museum of CA

11/16 | “What Had Happened Was…”, An Afro Urban Musical | Dance Mission, SF
11/17 | Afro Dance Workshop | Dance Mission, SF

11/17 | “What Had Happened Was…”, An Afro Urban Musical | Dance Mission, SF

11/18 | Afro Dance Workshops | Malonga Casquelourd Center, Oak

11/18 | Writing & Discussion Session for People of African Descent | Solespace, Oak

11/20 | ReelBlackFilms Documentary Night | New Parkway, Oak

11/24 | SUYA x BDA Closing Party w/ Wowo Boyz | East Side Alliance, Oak 


Dance Theater, Music, Performance



Bakanal de Afrique: What Had Happened Was…

An Afro Urban Musical


When and where:  

November 10, 7PM / The Flight Deck, 1540 Broadway, Oak

November 16 & 17, 8PM / Dance Mission Theater, 3316 24th St, SF



$30 at 


More Information: or 415-826-4441


Media Contact:

Stella Adelman, 415-826-4441 or

Please contact for interviews and additional press photos.