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2020 Festival of Masks PROGRAM





Welcome to the Tenth Annual Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks at the Leimert Park Art Walk. In this time of pandemic, we focus on the wisdom of our ancestors - on the continent of Africa and across the diaspora - to guide us in creating our future. You have joined an international assembly of artists from Los Angeles, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, Curaçao and Zambia and come together with the people of Leimert Park and beyond to uncover the power of Black joy as resistance.

Traditionally, Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks is the artistic culmination of months of work to explore art and ideas and connect to the African diaspora through a procession and festival on the streets of Leimert Park Village, the cultural heart of Black Los Angeles. Artists and culture bearers lead workshops inviting people of all ages to spend time communing with their ancestors, making masks and giant puppets and learning movement, rhythm and song. Festival day is a joyful spectacle and spiritual experience that uplifts individual expression and collective creativity and brings the community together across generations, in a celebration of multiplicity and unity.

This year, we presented a series of online experiences to create these cultural connections. Online Festival of Masks Cultural Arts Workshop participants included local youth (Sankofa Leaders) and community members near and far. Through a series of Diaspora Dialogues, we brought together artists and culture-bearers across oceans to engage in intimate conversation, sharing creative practices and wisdom that speak to this time.

Upholding the values that have been at the heart of Day of the Ancestors, we honor the ancestors by supporting local artists and culture bearers in opportunities for exchange with artists from across the Diaspora; and by involving local youth as apprentices, learning from these creators with a focus on the cultural traditions powering the practice. We recognize our young people as visionaries, and support them in developing skills and resilience to create the future.

At this 2020 festival, we welcome your participation! Appreciate the artistry and wisdom of Diaspora Dialogue participants, hear the stories behind the ancestor masks created by Sankofa Leaders, join virtual tours of Leimert Park black-owned businesses produced by rising cultural organizers We Love Leimert.

We invite you to join in the blessing and libation ceremony, invoking community reflection and healing. And envision together with us a procession through our streets, symbolizing the people's power and capacity to take ownership over our communities, address challenges, and create change.


Follow @lacommons on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter

Share your ancestor stories, mask pictures, community love, cultural inspiration and tag:

Click UNDERLINED links in the program below for bios, interviews and more!

Videos of African Diasporic Arts Workshops and Diaspora Dialogues available on LA Commons Facebook

Some recordings shared as part of this event are archival, others were created for the Festival at locations from Leimert Park to Lusaka, under diverse conditions. As festival organizers, we urge everyone to honor your ancestors, love your community and wear a mask.


Headquartered in Leimert Park, LA Commons, a project of Community Partners, works in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles facilitating issue-driven public art projects that inspire creativity in everyone. We engage communities in artistic and cultural expressions that tell their unique stories and serve as a basis for dialogue, interaction, understanding and organizing for a more just and equitable Los Angeles.


Leimert Park Village has a long history of being the center of African American arts and culture. Held on the last Sunday of each month, Leimert Park Artwalk invites the public to share a day of art exhibitions, music, fashion, food, drumming, spoken word, and local shopping. Throughout the day, cultural spaces, artist studios, and storefronts in the village also have offerings ranging from free computer seminars and specialty vendors to film screenings, youth theater performances, and live bands.

Festival of Masks Leadership Circle

Ben Caldwell

Nzingha Camara

Kaya Dantzler

Rene Fisher-Mims

Tasha Hunter

Ronieka Pinkney

Pastor Kelvin Sauls


Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

A Celebration of Black Joy

DJ: Adé Neff

Co-hosts: Tasha Hunter & Bruce Lemon


Baba Imodoye Shabazz

Karen Mack, LA Commons

Olokun Cultural Group

We Love Leimert: Local Business Feature

KAOS Network

Nappily Naturals


Pastor Kelvin Sauls

Queen Mothers: Mama I Can’t Breathe

S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi: #SayHerName

Libation and Harambee

Digital Procession and Workshops

We Love Leimert: Homie Time

with Verbs, Kaya, Mel and Sondria

We Love Leimert: Local Business Feature

Hot and Cool Cafe


Sankofa Leaders

Bee Wheeler, Paradys Oakley, Sean Baker

Sankofa Leaders

Noni Olabisi, Nichole Jones, Parys Oakley

Diaspora Dialogue Brazil

Rene Fisher-Mims, SHINE Muwasi

Diaspora Dialogue South Africa

Dr. Don Mattera and Teddy Mattera

Sankofa Leaders

Adoniah Freeman, Amara McDuffie, Clarence McDuffie

Diaspora Dialogue Curaçao

We Love Leimert: Local Business Feature

Ride On! Bike Shop

Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center

Diaspora Dialogue Nigeria

Jimetta Rose, Jimetta Rose & The Voices of Creation

Diaspora Dialogue Zambia

NSIKU performed by Wezi

Jimetta Rose & The Voices of Creation


Festival of Masks Diaspora Dialogue Artists and Partners:


Dr. Giavanni Washington (Viver Brasil), Moderator

Paula Santos, Translator

South Africa

Dr. Don Mattera and Teddy Mattera

Ben Caldwell

Pastor Kelvin Sauls, Moderator


Melanesia Hunter, Moderator


Karen Mack, Moderator


Jimetta Rose (Jimetta Rose & The Voices of Creation)

Metebrafor Agindotan, Moderator

Special thanks:

Najite Agindotan

Kaya Dantzler

Wajenda Chambeshi

King Drew University

Linda Yudin (Viver Brasil)


Olokun Cultural Group

Nagode Simpson

Metebrafor Agindotan

Onome Agindotan

Daniella Kyle

Kiemute Agindotan


Queen Mothers: Mama I Can’t Breathe

Nzingha Camara

Rene Fisher-Mims

Sharon Givens

Barbara Williams

Nzingha Ejukwa

Beverly Brewster

Stephanie Haynes

Teresa Smith

Jennifer Knight

Makeda Jackson

Spoken Word Poetress/V. Kali

Priest/Baba Imodoye

Master Drummers:

Baba Malik Sow

Kenyatta Poole

Jaijai Johnson

Kwesi Williams

Masked Dancer/Queen Lolo

Stiltwalker/Kehinde Johnson

Videography/Editor/Chester Whitmore

Music/H.E.R. ‘I Can’t Breathe’

Choreographer/Nzingha Camara

Costumes & Props/Nzingha Camara, Sharon Givens and Kehinde Johnson


S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi: #SayHerName




Imani Ife

Bevely Brewster

Danniella Ddanceah

Lynn Jackson

Mekeda Jackson

Cherl Denson

Jennifer Knight

Christy Ramiez

Mekeda Kumasi

Cora Player

Rene Fisher-Mims


Valerie Parker

Nzingha Camara

Sharon Giveins

Beverly Brewster

Janice Rankalawan


Teresa Smith

Kamilah Marshall

Empress Ariella


Alisha McDonald

Ramona Stephens

Reggae Moms

Jahzara Garbutt /gard

Zola McDonald /gard

Za'Yn McDonald /gard

Umbrella Men


King Tay



Festival of Masks Workshops

Lead Artists

Maria Elena Cruz

Barron Lightner

Noni Olabisi

Youth Mentors

Lynzie Glover

KaLynn Youngblood

Technical Support:

LewaNana Pinkney

Sydney Wharton

Erin Wimberly

Workshop Participants: * Sankofa Leaders Adoniah Freeman* Alejandra Herrera Alexandria Patience Alexis Grossman Allie C Amanda Gracis Amara McDuffie* Amir Pinkney * Amir Whitaker Andrew Lewis Arceli Burgos Barbara Williams Bee (Brittany) Wheeler * Billy Harris Bryant Miramontes Bullot Robert Zakirov-Schecht Camilla Sky CarolynJohnson * Chikako Yamuchi Christina Dominguez Clarence McDuffie III * Connie Martin Trevino Daisy Jiménez-Luna David Rockello Deborah Wei Delia Echevers Drew Stever Dushi Amour El Banu Eleora Salvador * Elizabeth Thomas Eloise Perrochet Erin Jones Esther Waltz Farida Corkery-Smith Fazeel Chauhan Feliz McInnis Georgina Nicholas-Jago Geraldine Wong Ginnia Hargins Giovanni Valentine * Gloria Graves Holly Lynn Purser Imani Aanu Isabel Portillo Jabari Harris * Jeanette Mack Taylor Jeanette Parham Jolene Perkins Jon Ho Jonnissa Jackson Juanita Feurer Judi Redman Justa Copa Kaelyn Badu Karen White Karen Bagnard Kariso Simon-Hart Katrina Bailey Kevin Phạm Laura Echevers Laura Jo ( Patrick) Lauren Quarles Lilit Sevadjian Lillian Orta Lisa Beebe Liz Varela Lucy montes Maria Ramos Mary Montgomery-Baldridge Melissa guerrero Melody Capote Millo Huertas Mitzi Morin Nancy Hart Nichole Jones * Noah Jenkins * Omiyemi Artisiam Green Paradyse Oakley * Parys Oakley * Patricia Williams Rianna Lara Godfrey * Richlene Frost Sabrina Ross Sarah Mital Sean Baker * Stanley Harris Susan Awad Sylvia Stinson Taliba Rosemary-Carr Tasha Hunter Tessa Adler The Nunez Chateau Traci Green Valeria Meza Vince Hughes Yvonne West


We Love Leimert

⛲️ Leimert Park ⛲️, the heart of Black culture in LA, collectively bridging

generational gaps & cultivating connection thru art + community.

Local Business Features

Hosted by Yohaun Walker and Miriha Austin with Kaya Dantzler

Sika, Sika Dwimfo and Milan Wilkinson

Homie Time with Verbs

Verbs, Kaya Dantzler, Melanesia Hunter, Sondria

Digital Organizers: Miriha Austin, Six Sev, JayP


Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

A Celebration of Black Joy

Digital Event Design and Production

Toran X. Moore, Producer/Production Manager

Tasha Hunter, Artistic Lead

Travone Evans, Editor/Videographer/Broadcast Lead

Lynzie Glover, Editor/Videographer/Production

Digital Experience Design and Facilitation by

Calling Up Justice: Claudia Alick, Dani Bae, Sabina Unni, Karinna Ithier

Digital Event Production:

Erin Wimberly

LewaNana Pinkney

Sydney Wharton


LA Commons Staff

Afrika Bakenra, Office Coordinator

Beth Peterson, Director of Community Arts Programs

Karen Mack, Executive Director

Leslie Tamaribuchi, Director, Strategy and Operations

Maeve Atkinson, Development and Marketing Intern

Miranda Ynez, Community Arts Organizer

Rich Johnson, Special Project Manager

Sandi Garcia, Youth Mentor

Toran X. Moore, Production Manager


Many Thanks to:

The World Stage

Sole Folks

Brittani Bakewell

Joseph Cochran

Special Thanks to all those who contributed so greatly over the years - to be continued:

Lula Washington Dance Theater


Marie Kellier

Viver Brasil

Peter and Roxanne Abilagu

Tory Reese

La Ballet Dambara

Damaris, Dennis, Minkah and Ambiya Smith

Al Smith

Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center

Esowan Books

Community Build

Leimert Park Stakeholders

And all youth arts alumni and community participants


The Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

was made possible with the support of

The Dwight Stuart Youth Fund

Herb Alpert Foundation

and individual supporters like you.

Make a gift today

to support

cultural connection

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