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Kuumba Fest Celebrates San Diego’s Black Community

This undated photo shows Kuumba Fest's parade of living history.

Credit: Courtesy of Kuumba Fest

Above: This undated photo shows Kuumba Fest's parade of living history.

Kuumba Fest Celebrates San Diego's Black Community


Dajahn Blevins, founder Kuumba Fest


On the outside, Kuumba Fest looks like an arts event that celebrates African American culture. The three-day event has everything from original plays and dance performances to live music and a panel about the state of black cultural arts.

But founder Dajahn Blevins explains there's much more going on than entertainment.

"It's edu-tainment," he said.

When he first came up with Kuumba Fest, Blevins' goal was to help at-risk teens in southeastern San Diego. He created "Education Now and Babies Later," an arts group that operated as part of San Diego Urban Warriors' gang diversion program.

Blevins wanted to use theater and the performing arts to inspire teens.

So, sprinkled in with the arts, are also events like the "Night of Positive Images," which includes a living-history parade, an African market and a celebration of faith.

"People who haven't been before think it's just an arts event," Blevins said. "But when they get there, they realize that they're also getting information about how to eat better, how to find a job, how to be part of a community."

Kuumba Fest celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with the theme "Black to Power." Blevins spoke to Midday Edition Tuesday about the event's history and how it's helped African American youth over the years.


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