San Diego Kuumba Festival


Location : San Diego Repertory Theatre [The Lyceum Theatres]


San Diego has a rich and vibrant African American culture.  In order to survive and prosper, the Black community has always used its creativity for motivation, collective work, encouraging responsibility and self-empowerment.  Artistic exposure plays a vital role in the African American communities’ journey for expression, healing and self-determination.  San Diego Urban Warriors Inc. and the African American Advisory Council of the San Diego Repertory Theatre have utilized arts for over 28 years with ongoing edu-tainment, programs in behavior guidance, health education and cultural enrichment which incorporates prevention, intervention and ongoing creative support. Each year, the City of San Diego is invited to embrace and celebrate San Diego’s diverse and provocative Black heritage and culture at the Kuumba Festival which is celebrated the last week of February.  Kuumba Festival celebrates the positive lifestyle changes made over the year, provides cultural resources in the African Market Place, positive powerful healing images and spiritual celebrations for the entire family.

Tickets are "Pay What You Can" at the price that feels right for you. Our suggested price is $15 per day. If you plan on enjoying most of the festival’s offerings and you can afford to pay more, we greatly appreciate it. Your purchase directly supports the artists that make Kuumba Fest possible. 

Click here to get your access to this year's Kuumba Festival! 

29th Annual Kuumba Festival: February 26 - 28, 2021

Questions? Call 619.544.1000

Friday, February 26th
Friday Night of Positive Images
6:30 PM – Annual Royal Court Community Honorees: Dr. Wilma Wooten, Dr. Shirley Weber, Jacqueline Jackson, and Mrs. Ardell Matthews. The Ceremony: Vows to lead the struggle for self-determination. For those who believe we can still do something positive in this country. To honor the ancestors, and the footprints of dignity and example created with sacrifice and a frequency that would not be diminished.
Saturday, February 27th
12:30 PM – Kuumba Kids “African American Person Chant.” Saturday School and the Community Black Book Resource Nook with Dajahn Blevins.
1 PM – Effective Black Media Virtual Panel Discussion hosted by Ahmed K. Dents: How Black Media Aids in Ushering Black Art into the Future feat. Chida Rebecca and Cheryl Morrow.
2 PM – Taste of Soul San Diego with Deshonda Roberts: San Diego’s Ujamaa discussion listing top black owned and operated restaurants and cooks in San Diego.                
3 PM – Dance showcase & obesity prevention performances coordinated by Stay Entertainment: Fitness showcase with Shanna Franklin
4 PM – Excerpts of “R New Home” Life in the Zoo, a play by Earl Hamilton Jr., performed by Community Actors Theatre
6 PM – Preserving Black Art Museums virtual panel discussion with Leah Goodwin & Yevette Moore: Focus on archiving and preserving black history, art, and culture
7 PM – The “Parade of History” Great Kings & Queens bring the Black museum history to life
Sunday, February 28th
2 PM – US Postal Service unveiling of the new heritage stamp with Wendy Dorsey.
2:30 PM – “Preaching the Blues” with Maisha S. Akbar: Foregrounds the importance of black feminist artist in lynching culture and interdisciplinary scholarship.
4 PM – Virtual Gospel Artist New Release Showcase presented by Mandate Records


Artistic Director – Daj’ahn A. Blevins 
Festival Stage Manager (Associate in Training) Jonzi Wynton Jones
Chief Financial Officer – Denise Web
Website & Marketing Consultant – Charde Spe’s
African Market Place Activities & Workshop Coordinator – Deshonda Roberts
Healthy Active Fit Resources Coordinator – Nasara Gargona
Administrative Assistant & Volunteer Coordinator – Cheryl Sapp
Royal Court Awards – Cassandra Crawford 
Parade of the Ancestors – Dajahn Blevins
Fri Play Director – Daj’ahn A. Blevins 
Kuumba Kidz Youth Presentation – Dajahn A. Blevins 
Dance & Step Healthy Youth Movement  – Shanna Franklin 
Panel Discussions - Ahmed Dents
Production Assistant Coordinator – Jonzi Wynton Jones
Technical Support - Reggie Hailey

28th Annual Kuumba Festival: February 28 - March 1, 2020

Friday, February 28th  Night of Positive Images

5 PM – C M Johnson Panel Discussion on 1619 National Celebration of Black Women and their contributions. Admission: Free

5:30 PM – Central San Diego Black Chamber Of Commerce Happy Hour Round Table Discussion: “Can Black People Thrive In San Diego?” Admission: Free

6 PM – Open for shopping, The African Market Place, cultural vendors, fashion, art, jewelry, light foods and live jazz in the lobby. The Feed Radio Show Podcast with Ahmed Dents and Brandee J host the Community Reception. Admission: Free

7 PM – Drum call and libations, regal pageantry awards ceremony in the Royal Court, Parade of Ancestors, chore poem play "Sarah Elizabeth." "The Lynching of a Black woman." Written by Ginger Galloway, adapted and directed by Calvin Manson. Tickets: $25



Saturday, February 29th — Day & Night of Positive Challenges

11 AM – Reopening of the African Market Place with the addition of the youth village, educational workshops, panel discussions and book fair. Admission: Free

11:15 AM –  Freedom Farmers book presentation and discussion on agricultural resistance and the Black Freedom Movement with Diane Moss and guest. Admission: Free
12 PM – Healthy Active Fit Time on the Horton Park Square Resources for healthy lifestyles through 45 minutes of connecting to cardio Kuumba Style. Admission: Free

1 PM – Annual youth presentation of Kuumba Kidz who learn African culture, history and heritage and share in the Youth Production. Tickets for Kuumba Kidz: $5

2 PM – Extemporaneous Speech Competition – Youth & adult participants pull topics from the box and have two minutes to speak on their selected topic, with a $45 prize for each winner. Admission: Free

2:30 PM – Workshop on Healthy Foods – Cooking and healthy living demonstration and teach back. Admission: Free

3 PM – Step & Dance – Black 2 Connected fitness and movement competition and showcase connecting dance and movement to healthy fit lifestyles and tools to address childhood obesity and increased discipline. Tickets: $12

5 PM – Taste of Soul – Contest in the spirit of Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) Kuumba Fest host a friendly competition of SD top chefs, cooks and restaurants promoting the best Black owned and operated eateries. Tickets: $7

5:15 PM – “Is she the right one?” Open interactive discussion and group mentoring experience, sharing for life planning and standard setting for the young Black urban community. Admission: Free

5:30 PM – San Diego Black Media Panel & Mixer, Social Networking hosted by Ahmed Dents and Brandee J on the Underground Stage and in the lobby. Admission: Free

6 PM – “Natural Hair” The Movie hosted by Makena Hayes-Gargonnu. Film and Panel discussion on the politics, economics, and cultural power and impact on wearing their natural hair. Tickets: $10

8 PM – YBNB VIP Showcase of positive images and vibration of local black owned businesses, and organizations that serve the community showcasing their products, brand and services. Admission: Free

9 PM – Late Nite Live, Tribute to the Apollo Theatre – Interactive audience showcasing of San Diego’s top and most self- determined artist, performers and entertainers. Youth and Adult segments and $600 in prizes. Tickets: $15


Sunday, March 1st — Day & Night of Spiritual Celebrating

11 AM – Dreams On A Dime: Readers Theatre presentation led by playwright Sharnell Blevins connecting to and celebrating the African American experience of race gender and ageism, honoring the work of Black artists. Don’t miss this treat! Tickets:$10

12 PM – Reopening of the African Market Place. Admission: Free

2 PM – Panel Discussion: The Plight of the Black Family – Interactive panel of Black men sharing, discussing and answering questions based on their feelings and experience on what it will take to save the Black Family. Admission: Free

4 PM – Gospel Celebration – Hand clapping, foot stomping traditional spiritually moving music, singing and rendering up praises for the positive vibrations and energy of empowerment from a higher power. Tickets: $10

6:30 PM – Black is the Color of my True Love – A romantic drama about a couple whose divorce causes the ancestors to take them on a journey of reconnecting can the ancestors help confront the pain and restore the American Black family. Tickets: $15

8:30 PM – Comedy Show/After Hours Event for the whole Kuumba Fest family and community to come together closing out Kuumba Fest 2020, gathering with celebration, laughter and healing featuring: J. Anhur-Shi, Kayshawn, P. Howard, N. Robinson, W. Ford, B. Young. Have a drink & laugh till you’re free to connect for a better day. Tickets: $15

Kuumba Fest 2019: February 8 - 10 at The Lyceum

Schedule of Events

Friday, February 8

6pm - 10pm

Admission: $20/$25 for the full lineup of events on Feb 8.  Click here for tickets.

6pm: Opening of African Marketplace | Live Jazz band and fine arts reception
7pm: Black National Anthem & Welcome by the AAAC | Pagentry and Power of the Royal Court | Parade of Light Honoree Ceremony | Honoring the Ancestors Parade of History | Intermission - Best Traditional Dressed; Competition and raffle drawings | Play: "Tomorrow Never Came" by Pam Woods Garcia and directed by Dajahn Blevins

Saturday, February 9
10am - 11pm
Admission: Varies per event, see schedule.

10am - 3pm (Free): Youth Village Upstairs in Park | Amp Opening African Marketplace | Vendors & Healthy, Active, Fit Workshops.
Located in the conference room and Underground Stage
10:30am - 12:30pm (Free): Workshops
Located in the conference room and Underground Stage
1pm - 1:45pm (Admission: $5 - Click here for tickets): Kuumba Kidz Production 
Located on the Underground Stage
2pm - 4pm (Admission: $10 - Click here for tickets): Movie Screening of Liyanna | Spoken Word, African Drum and Dance Show interactive presentation. 
Located on the Lyceum Stage
3pm-5pm (Free): Y&B Business Reception on the Underground Stage
5pm-6pm (Admission: $7): Taste of Soul (Best Tasting Food Contest) 
Located in the lobby
6pm (Admission $25 - Click here for tickets): The Scholarship Show, Tribute to Excellence in Black Drama and Music.  Musical Tribute to an artist of excellence, the great Nina Simone.  A portion of the proceeds from this show go to raise funds for seven scholarships for students going to HBUC.  
Located on the Lyceum Stage.
9pm-11pm (Admission: $15/$20 - Click here for tickets): Late Nite Live - Tribute to Harle's Apollo Theater.  Amature night.  A portion of the proceeds will provide scholarships for students attending community colleges connected to HBUC and the BB2M Reading & Empowerment Project).  
Located on the Lyceum Stage.

Sunday, February 10
Admission: Varies per event, see schedule.

12pm (Free): Reopening of the African Marketplace and Panel Discussion 
Located on the Underground Stage.
1pm - 2:45pm (Free): Presentation of The Grind for Healthier Lifestyles 
Located on the Underground Stage.
3pm - 5pm (Admission: $15/$12 - Click here for tickets): Dramatic Play: In the Midst of It All (God Is Still There) written and directed by Dr. Maridian Broadus.  
Located on the Lyceum Stage.
5pm - 5:45pm (Free): Workshop of Healthy Resources for Improved Eyesight.  
Located in the conference room.
6pm-8pm (Admission $15/$10 - Click here for tickets): Black 2 Excellence Dance/Movement Extravaganza.  
Located on the Lyceum Stage.
8pm - 9pm (Free): Closing Reception, Music, Socializing, Networking.  African Marketplace.  
Located in the lobby.

Kuumba Fest 2018
February 22 - 25, 2018

Schedule of Events

Thursday 2/22:
3PM - Challenge for Change Through Afrofuturism
Friday 2/23:
7PM - Night of Positive Images
Saturday 2/24
11AM - Film Screening & Interactive Afrofuturism Discussion 
1PM - Play "Organics: the Making of a Woman"
2PM - Kuumba Kidz Presents
3PM - Black 2 Position Step & Dance Showcase
6PM - Hilarious Play "Behind the Robe..."
9PM - Late Nite Live @ The Lyceum
Sunday 2/25
3PM - Controversial Play "He Hears Me"
6PM - Trust & Respect (Gospel, Jazz, & Blues)