The Afro, a hairstyle first popularized in the late ’60s by African-Americans as a symbol of Black Pride. Wearing an Afro was more than just a fashion statement; it was an expression of nonconformity, power and soul.

Although better than a few decades ago, today total freedom and equality are still decades away, but the Afro is worn by people of every nationality. It’s like dancing: everyone can do it, but not everyone can do it with soul.

Afro Funké, however, is a whole different ballgame altogether. “All together” is how this should be stated because that’s what Afro Funké brings to Zanzibar every Thursday: all people, all together with music and more.

Jeremy Sole’s Musaics of KCRW’S “Branches” has been hosting Afro Funké for over four years now, along with Roots Rock Reggae star Rocky Dawuni and photographer Cary Sullivan, all coming together from different backgrounds to give an equally impressive range of live performances, record release parties, fashion events, arts, crafts and guest DJs.

The weekly sounds of Afro-Latin house, Afro beat, samba, disco, Indian, Brazilian, dub, Cumbia, to name a few, are strictly for those who like their funk deep-rooted. Most DJs know about beats, but Afro Funké is about more than just beats. It’s about beats, rhythms, percussion, timing and the soul that naturally comes within all of the above.

From world beat drumming to the funky drummer himself, these DJs play the grooves that get into your head and lead your feet to the dance floor, which is filled with some of Los Angeles’ best dancers. Don’t be intimidated, though, this dance floor is for everyone. Dancing here is for everyone.

Maybe that’s what the “e” at the end of Afro Funké stands for. Or perhaps it’s for epiphany, or everlasting or eternal, because once you enter and discover Afro Funké, the music takes you to another place, a place where you never want to leave. Where freedom and equality coexist for everyone, even if it’s only for a few short beautiful hours every Thursday night.

Zanzibar is located at 1301 5th Street in Santa Monica. For more information, call (310) 451-2221 or visit