Story by Tim Livingston
Andre Elombe Badila. Remember the name.
Badila, a Hudson resident who passed away last week, was laid to rest on Monday. A visual artist and performer. A co-founder of the First National Ballet of the Congo. A co-founder (with his wife Pamela) of the Diata Diata International Folkloric Theatre. The man was all of this and much more. Most importantly he was a husband, father, inspiration, role-model and community leader.
I am sure even if you have never met him you will remember his name due to the legacy he has left behind with his children. The father to a large family consisting of musicians, artists, singers, rappers, boxers, chefs, landscape artists, poets, farmers… dreamers, visionaries, motivators, community leaders, brothers, sisters, parents, role-models and doers… his influence and spirit will live on with this amazing family, each in their own right so inspirational and so beloved by the community.
Last Saturday night the family shared with that community a march and sunset service in honor of his life. With full police escort the Badilas – along with a large contingent coming from all walks of life in the area – lined up at the 7th Street Park in Hudson and wound down Warren Street to the river from where they said goodbye to Elombe with a beautiful ceremony consisting of drumming, singing and remembrance. It was perhaps the most emotional and heartfelt experience I have ever had the honor of witnessing.
The large procession temporarily shut down the main avenue in Hudson as merchants, the fire department (with full color-guard), residents and tourists lined the streets while the family – dressed in traditional African attire – and their friends paraded, drummed, clapped and sang until reaching their final destination in time to witness a brilliant sunset that so matched the fire and passion of the Badila family.
You will hear of this family for years to come and in doing so please remember where they all came from… Andre Elombe Badila.