The 4th annual Leimert Park Village African Art and Music Festival held over labor day weekend in Los Angeles, CA was a brilliant cultural extravaganza. Located in the same neighborhood as successful black businesses, including Eso Won Books and the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, the free festival brought out hundreds of beautiful people.
Activities included: spoken word artists and poets whose works ranged in topics from the 2012 presidential election to the perils of being black in America. Budding comedians, singers and musicians entertained the crowd while most the attendees walked around enjoying activities such as face painting, hair style offs and henna tattoos.
Various vendors filled the festival with goods from traditional African garments to unique hand made jewelry and even furniture. Complimentary watermelon was served all day while food tents catered to every diet from vegan to carnivore but the best part of the festival was the out pour of love.
This jamboree differed from other music festivals in the sense that the line up that we were all excited to see, was each other. There were so many smiles, hey, how are yous? and genuine respect for the black culture that it felt like a family reunion filled with strangers.
The fashion was an eclectic blend of cutting edge, casual and traditional and festival goers ranged from children to young professionals to elders. The most talked about accessory though was of course, the ravishing hair styles. Men, women and children donned do’s from dreads to floor length braids to intricate twists, and afros abundant.
This was a outstanding, well organized event and bonding experience for all shades of brown. I look forward to seeing this intimate gathering grow year by year, one day even, becoming larger than Chicago’s Bud Billi-ken Parade.