June 30 marked the 3rd annual Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks, an overall fantastic celebration of African tradition honoring rich ancestry. We kicked the Festival off with a mask-making workshop in the park, where kids and adults alike were able to create and finalize their very own masks to wear during the procession later on in the day. For those participants not making masks, there were countless vendors who were part of the Leimert Park Art Walk lined up on the sidewalks, offering their very best goods to the public.
The awe and beauty began with the procession, as hundreds of volunteers and performers took the streets of Leimert Park, donned in traditional Nigerian costume and intricate, handmade masks. The sound of beating drums echoed throughout the neighborhood, accompanied by chanting and high spirits. The procession was split into four waves: water, earth, sun, and moon, each with their own unique style.
Shortly following the procession came the live performances from Long Beach Drum Group, grass, tall mask, and jewel dancers, Peter-Obliyanko Drum & Dance, Najite Agindotan’s Olokun Imal Masquerade, and the grand finale: Adunni & Nefretiti. It was an evening full of dancing, singing, and drumming, one that all spectators enjoyed and cherished.