By Ricky Richardson | Contributing Writer
(Los Angeles, Ca.) – A large group of beautiful African Queens from all over the diaspora descended upon the monthly Leimert Park Art Walks to join the exiting celebration of Black Women for International Day of Women of African Descent, Sunday, July 31, 2022.
In 1992, Black women from 32 different Latin American and Caribbean countries united in the Dominican Republic to fight racism and sexism they face. The day became known as La Dia Internacional de la Mujer Afrodescendiente, or the International Afro-Latin American and Afro Caribbean Women Day. Now every year on July 25th, the world unites to celebrate Black women.
The Leimert Park celebration feature live music performances, poetry, panels, workshops, free wellness swag bags, film showcase, food and an aroma/fragrant garden and more.
The International Day of Women of African Descent is on the fast tract/path to becoming a premiere, signature event in Leimert Park. This is a welcome addition to add to the mix of the cultural hub of the African American community.
The weather Gods looked down favorably upon this event. It was a nice pleasant day, with a slight breeze.
The program got underway with opening remarks by Nikki Campbell, acknowledging the land that was first occupied the Native Americans.
Back by popular demand, Khalil returned as Master of Ceremony and participated in the Libation Ceremony with Nikki Campbell and Amir Whitaker.
Markaky presented an excellent overview, grounding, history and importance of burning sage and frankincense before the program.
Several poets were onsite to share original poetry. Dr. Amina Humphrey recited “Feat Black Womxn”.
Barbara Fant shared a couple of poems from her book Mouths of Garden. Tauheedah Shakur recited “Leave my Home Alone (about Gentrification) followed by a relevant and humorous “What Are You Mix With.” Amir Whitaker recited a heartfelt and powerful poem about his Grandmother.
The 2nd Annual International Day of Women of African Descent presented awards to three amazing women as well as group pf women for their lasting contributions for and in the community.
2022 Recognition Award presented to Gina Belafonte for your outstanding work for Black freedom, healing, unity and consciousness. We commend your work as an artivist and for leading Sankofa.org, a social justice organization using culture and entertainment in advancing justice, peace, equity and equality.
2022 Recognition Award presented to The Women of Black Lives Matter-LA. For your outstanding work for Black freedom, healing, unity, and consciousness. We commend you on building a grassroot movement for Black liberation and recognize the role phenomenal Black women in leadership. Sheila Battes was onsite to accepted the Award.
2022 Recognition Award presented to Queen Nzingha Camara for your outstanding work for Black freedom, healing, unity and consciousness. We commend your work in sharing ancient African culture and bridging the gap with future generations in Los Angeles, Your love and work as a dancer and educator has changed the world.
2022 Recognition Award presented to Mama Rene Fisher-Mims (Sister’s Healing, Inspiring, Nurturing, and Empowering in the Hands of God). For your outstanding work for Black freedom, healing, unity, and consciousness. We commend your work for establishing S.H.I.N.E. MUWASI to share West African drum culture with women in the community. Your love and work as a vocalist and master percussionist have changed the world. The awards were presented by Ben Caldwell.
It is an ongoing struggle. The work to acknowledge and offer full enfranchisement to Afro-descent women continues today.
The International Day of Woman of African Descent welcomed the 2022 Mandela Washington Fellows during a historic stop in Los Angeles, and in Leimert Park Village. The Mandela Washington Fellows was established by former President Barack Obama. Dr. Tadios Belay, an Ethiopian refugee and President of U.S. Africa Institute, started this organization to create a strategic bridge between Africa and the United States through education and exchange programs. https://yali.state.gov/mwf and http://www.usainstitute.org for more information.
The celebration featured a variety of performances representing the diaspora. Nadia Calmet, Afro-Peruvian danced, teamed up with Barbara Fant and percussionist Marco, for a song entitled “Negra” by Victoria Santa Cruz.
Nikki Campbell and Grupo Congo Istmeño De Panama dazzled the crowd with Afro Panamanian drumming, singing and dancing.
S.H.I.N.E MUWASI gave Blessing/Libation to honor our ancestors, as well as to acknowledge and remember the cultural icons of Leimert Park and to share seeds of wisdom/knowledge for future generations to nurture and grow. S.H.I.N.E. MUWASI thrilled the captivated crowd with energy-fueled traditional drumming and dancing of West Africa.
Kati Hernandez and Kimbabula (Lisa Lopez and Shana Christopher) performance was simply amazing, to close out the first part of the celebration.
Part 2 of the International Day of Women of African Descent featured a Black Women Film! Showcase and Panel, with films and panel participants Alile Sharon Larkin, Tasha Wiggins Hunter, Angela Jordan, Reva Santo and a special performance by Indigo Smith.