Leimert Park Day of the Ancestor Festival of the Mask began 8 years ago with the aim to create a multigenerational event where people could come together to honor ancestors, share information and culture from West Africa and the Diaspora. Inspired by ancestor veneration traditions like Yoruba Egungun Masquerades and unmet community needs in South LA, Leimert Park’s Day of Ancestors: Festival of Masks (FOM) was envisioned by master percussionist Najite Agindotan in partnership with legendary filmmaker Ben Caldwell and LA Commons who produced the first festival in 2011.
The Festival begins with two months of community workshops every Saturday until June 29th to prepare masks, costumes, choreographed dances, and drum rhythms.
The Festival culminates the last Sunday in June with a Blessing and then a Procession featuring Drumming, Dance, Masks, and Giant Puppets followed by Performances of Drumming, Dance, Mask Dance, Queen Mothers, and local cultural performance groups.
Taking to the streets during the procession symbolizes taking back our streets while the libation and blessing ceremony heal the community. Elders Mama Rene Fisher, founder of women’s drum ensemble SHINE MUWASI, Nzingha Camara, master African dance teacher and Choreographer and filmmaker Ben Caldwell currently partner with LA Commons to produce the festival.