While throngs of people rushed from their homes to the malls or other retail outlets to exchange gifts and to seek additional bargains after Christmas, hundreds gathered in Leimert Park Village for the annual Kwanzaa celebrations. The Kwanzaa Heritage Foundation presented “It’s Kwanzaa Time, Come Celebrate!" This year’s theme was Be Strong, Be Smart, and Be Healthy.
The festival was held on Saturday, December 26, and Sunday, December 27, 2009 from 10:00 a.m-6:00p.m. at the Leimert Park Village Vision Lot.
Family fun was guaranteed for the weekend with live music, drum circle, International Food Court, Kwanzaa Heritage Marketplace, Health Pavilion and a Children’s Village with Face painting, arts and crafts and a petting zoo.
I attended day one of the celebration. High caliber entertainment was showcased for the audience. I liked the fact that organizers always give the youth of the community a platform to showcase their talents.
I missed a couple of the opening acts. Fortunate enough to see and hear Ms. Mariah Wilson, a talented actress, singer and songwriter who performed “Girlfriends,” and “Girls Hang Out.” You can probably recall seeing her in Dreamgirls. She played Magic in the multi-award winning movie.
Three members of the Dorsey Drill Team Drummers added to the enjoyment of the celebration.
Beautiful vocalist MAIA performed an original tune for the occasion “Happy Kwanzaa” to the delight of all in attendance.
Vocalist Janelle a local favorite treated the crowd to a couple of original tunes accompanied by her husband on keyboards. Her remarkable set consisted of “Jasire Lullaby,” “Freedom,” “I Got Work to Do” by the Average White Band and “I Would Rather Be With You” an old school song.
Several youth and adults participated in the Candle Lighting Ceremony. The ceremony was preceded by some exciting African drumming and dancing.
My day concluded at the celebration with listening to Dr. Bill Releford speaking about health in keeping with the theme of the Kwanzaa celebration.
The Kwanzaa Celebration continued until the early evening on Saturday, December 26 and continued all day on Sunday, December 27, 2009.