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Artist Spotlight: Rene Fisher Mims

Rene Fisher Mims

Rene Fisher-Mims is one of the lead artist organizers and co-founders of the Festival of Masks. She is a dancer, vocalist, hair stylist, master percussionist and founder/ director of S.H.I.N.E Muwasi, a women's drum circle. S.H.I.N.E. is an acronym for Sister's Healing, Inspiring, Nurturing, and Empowering in the Hands of God. Mama Nene teaches drum workshops every Thursday evening at The World Stage in Leimert Park Village.

Artist Q&A

How are you and your community being impacted by the COVID 19 time period? My community that I live in, Watts, is underserved so we had to fight to necessities like food and cleaning supplies for me, my neighbors and especially the unhoused members of our community. The community has come together to support each other which is a beautiful experience and I am really inspired by the youth and their activism to make things better. They are doing what has been done, learning from the wisdom of their elders to make an impact on their world. With the reference of the history we have had as a people, they are rising up purposefully and achieving great success.

How do we address racism/racial violence as a pandemic? We cannot address it honestly until we take off the veils and that is going to be a hard place to get to. It’s difficult to release when we are so used to it being normal. But, these new kids, they are so tolerant, so again it is up to us to be available to give counsel and to let them lead. It’s Sankofa time, go back and collect the rich guidance from the past. This intergenerational revolution will have to sustain for things to change.

What are ways artists and/or community members are responding in a positive way to crisis? Music is a weapon of the world and it needs to rise above, no more time for focus for genres like gangster rap. The message has to be moving us forward - the message is in the arts - visual, spoken, music, dance, all. It’s like a sermon - the vibration that emits from the arts is medicine - it will heal, it will supply us with the messages we need to hear at this time.

What is one cultural teaching you would like to share to help people through this time and in visioning for the future? Sankofa, the energetic, symbolic wisdom from the Adinkra people, that implores us to “go back and get it” in order to move forward. That bird with a backward faces head on a forward facing body, should be the symbol for the protests. Young people learning from their elders about how to achieve real change. A second would be art equals love and love never dies.

Join Rene in conversation with Viviam Caroline on

Sunday, June 28, 2020 at 2:00pm PST:

Diaspora Dialogue: Brazil | Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

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