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2021 Festival of Masks PROGRAM



Thiossane: Looking Back, Moving Forward

SUNDAY, JUNE 27, 2021, 12PM PT

Welcome to the 11th Annual Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks at the Leimert Park Art Walk. This year at Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks, experience Thiossane, the Senegalese way of taking cues from the past to live well in the present.

Leimert Park's Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks is an annual celebration of our ancestors and an invocation for the South Central LA community. Founded in 2010 by artists Najite Agindotan and Ben Caldwell in collaboration with LA Commons, Festival of Masks is a multicultural, multigenerational, and multimedia arts event that champions the vast identities of the African diaspora.

Thank you for joining us as we continue the Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks online to celebrate the rich traditions of the African Diaspora and connect you with Black creatives from across the globe, as we prepare for and transition toward the reopening and reconnection ahead. 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.

We welcome your participation! Share with us how you have been connecting to the culture this year and how your ancestors help you to live well in the present.

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 YouTube and LA Commons Facebook

Some recordings shared as part of this event are archival, others were created for the Festival 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

Ranika Adachi

Ben Caldwell

Rene Fisher-Mims

Lynzie Glover

Tasha Hunter

Karen Mack

Toran X. Moore

Pastor Kelvin Sauls

Cultural Advisor: Malik Sow


Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

Thiossane (cha-sahn):

Looking Back, Moving Forward

DJ: X-Ro

Host: Bruce Lemon, Jr.


Baba Imodoye Shabazz

with Anbiya Smith

Karen Mack, LA Commons

Ancestral Poem by S. Pearl Sharp

THIOSSANE: Leimert Park Village: Honoring Our Ancestors and Looking to Our Future

S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi

Rene Fisher-Mims

Imani Ife

Danniella Ddanceah

Lynn Jackson

Jennifer Knight

Kamilah Marshall

Christy Ramirez

Megashia Jackson

Djembe Jan

Sis Wendy

Queen Beverly Brewster

Queen Nzingha Camara

Queen Nzingha Ejukwa

Queen Sharon Givens

Queen Egyptia Lewis


Marcell Damascus

Youssou Tell

Ambrose Clark

Ramona Stephens

ImpuKaMut Williams

Akerele Sekou Batiste Williams

Stephanie Batiste Williams

Fode Sissoko

Kevin Wharton Price ATC

Khady Kand

Akil West, SF

Courtney Tell

Ladee Dred

Lady V

Luna and Luna

@Wilburn Sister’s Design Wardrobe

And Leimert Park Community Members

Traveling to Africa - Nigeria - Yoruba Culture

Olokun Cultural Group


Najite Agindotan

Efetobore Agindotan

Metebrafor Agindotan

Kiemute Agindotan

Imani Afi

Danniella Danceah

Caleb Herron


Aaron C. Mason

Daunte Fyall

Kiemute Agindotan

Nagode Simpson

Ayana Herron

Community Libations -Calling the Ancestors

Ranika Adachi

Pastor Kelvin Sauls and Malik Sow


Maxx Percussion

Magatte Fall

Kara Mack

Solo Soro

Malik Sow

Sekani Thomas

Nigel Zuniga

Ancestor Masks and Sankofa Procession


Noni Olabisi

SANKOFA Youth Leaders

Aisha Cooper

Amara McDuffie

Camrynn Williams

Clarence McDuffie III

Jenny Lopes

Justin Baker

Marquell Eason

Maya Williams

Monaye Eason

Nichole Jones

Paradyse Oakley

Parys Oakley

Sarah Quitman

Sean Baker

Shamya Black

Zoë Giovanna Landry

Past into Future

Tasha Hunter

Lula Washington Dance Theater

If you’re waiting for the sky to split

by Triniti Daniel Robinson

Erin Wimberly, We Love Leimert



Drums: Greg Paul

Percussion: Ahmad Dubose

Bass: Marlon Spears

Keys: Brian Hargrove

Saxophone: David Otis

Trumpet: Emile Martinez

Sousaphone: Corbin Joness

DJ: X-Ro


2021 Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

Workshop Artists

Ranika Adachi

Maria Elena Cruz

Malik Sow

Noni Olabisi

Rene Fisher Mims

Youth Mentor

Lynzie Glover

Technical Support

Erin Wimberly

Laini Wimberly

Juneteenth Workshop Associates

Amani Holbert

Brittney Price

2021 Diaspora Dialogues

Diaspora Dialogue: Senegal

Malik Sow and Magatte Fall

Moderated by Karen Mack

Diaspora Dialogue: Visual Arts and Dogon Cosmology

Aziz Diagne and Abdullah Latif Tounkara

Moderated by Brittney Price

Diaspora Dialogue: Proudly Black!

Sonny Moore and Melanesia Hunter

2021 Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

at the Leimert Park Art Walk

Digital Event Design and Production

Toran X. Moore, Producer/Production Manager

Travone Evans, Editor/Videographer/Broadcast Lead

Lynzie Glover, Editor/Videographer/Production Associate

Marcus A. Hughes, Editor/Livestream Manager

Obi Oti, Production Assistant

Sierra Narciese, Production Assistant Monece Starling, Production Assistant

Terrika Stallworth, Production Assistant

Erin Wimberly, Digital Technician

Laini Wimberly, Engagement

Photography: Halline Overby, Marcus A. Hughes

Graphic Design: Brittney Price and Julie Ray


LA Commons Staff

Maeve Atkinson, Development and Campaign Coordinator

Afrika Bakenra, Operations Specialist

Sandi Garcia, Program and Communications Coordinator

Susie Garcia, Operations Coordinator

Karen Mack, Executive Director

Toran X. Moore, Production Manager

Beth Peterson, Community Arts Programs Director

Leslie Tamaribuchi, Director, Strategy and Operations


Many thanks to our partners! This work is ours together, to be continued!

The World Stage

Community Build

The Right Way Foundation

We Love Leimert

KAOS Network

Lula Washington Dance Theater

African American Cultural Center of Long Beach

Aziz Gallery

Motherland Drum


The Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

was made possible with the support of

L.A. Care Health Plan

California Arts Council

City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs

County of Los Angeles, Department of Arts and Culture

Herb Alpert Foundation

and individual supporters like you.

Make a gift today

to support

cultural connection


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