As each year winds down, we reflect on what we've accomplished and look forward to plans and projects to come, but lately I've been thinking about what's left on the cutting room floor - the works that only saw the drawing board.
"These modest proposals achieve a greater clarity because they weren't forced to go through the bother of becoming real....but which end up teaching us who we are, and who we might still become." -Alan Hess, review of Never Built Los Angeles
In 2016, there were aspects of my project entitled Common Culture: Across the Water that never came to fruition. Nevertheless, the afternoon spent documenting two of Leimert Park's most celebrated drum and dance matriarchs was such a beautiful experience, I felt compelled to put some of the footage together and put it out into the world.
Leimert Park is one of the most iconic black neighborhoods in Los Angeles. This area is the birthplace for many influential LA hip-hop icons and is one of those rare places that has sparked (and continues to ignite) multiple creative movements. This clip features footage from an afternoon in Leimert Park with Nzingha Camara + Ballet Kouman Kele, along with Mama Nene's drum class at The World Stage. Throughout history, many of the African drums have been male-dominated so Mama Nene's work of teaching women the drum is subversive in itself, believing that women should not be denied opportunities based on ancient ideologies.
I am honored to have experienced the beauty of Leimert Park since the early 1990s and am humbled to share a piece of it with you.