Reimagine, in partnership with leaders from the historic Leimert Park neighborhood in South Los Angeles, presents Loss, Life & Love, a three-day festival that will support attendees in exploring mortality, grieving loss, and celebrating strength.
From Thursday, Sept. 22 through Saturday, Sept. 24, there will be in-person and virtual events—at locations like Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center; the World Stage Performance Gallery; and Leimert Plaza Park.
All events will draw on the arts, healthcare, and spirituality to shine a light on taboo conversations often hidden in the shadows.
Neighborhood luminaries are eager to destigmatize public dialogue on what it means to process loss. Speakers will include Kaya Dantzler of We Love Leimert; author and wellness coach Angela Jackson; and Ben Caldwell of KAOS Network, who is affectionately considered the “mayor” of Leimert Park.
The festival’s eclectic programming features talks, live music, and an art installation. This community celebration aims to help participants integrate the hardest parts of life in healthy, impactful, and expansive ways. For all three days of the festival, participants both locally and nationally can join the events virtually at letsreimagine.org/losslifelovefestival.
Attendees will be able to join live for free, or online with a pay-what-you-can ticket, which will include access to all events from Thursday through Saturday, and serves as a donation used to make the in-person experience free-of-charge.
“This festival comes to Los Angeles as a breath of fresh air,” explains Jackson. “After two years of covid, loss became normalized and life was diminished. I’m honored to be a part of the team that is building the much-needed forum to discuss how we feel, cope and use love to heal forward as a community.”
The three-day hybrid festival begins online Thursday, Sept. 22, with an opening night showcase filled with inspiring keynote talks and performances from local and national health care leaders, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) experts, musicians, and comedians.
Friday will focus on a series of virtual workshops hosted by neighborhood leaders from Leimert Park, who will share their collective wisdom and diverse perspectives on loss and strength with a national online audience.
The three day experience culminates on Saturday, starting at noon, with an afternoon street festival, which will be free for all to attend in-person and also made available through Reimagine’s website via Zoom as part of the virtual program. This final day will see a mix of musicians, comedians, speakers, art exhibits, and workshops in several key venues around Leimert Village. The festival culminates with an in-person street celebration, from noon until 6 p.m.
Of particular note is the live concert on the People Street Stage, where an all-star cast of musicians will join forces to highlight how Leimert Park’s Black musical history intersects with threads of loss and resilience. These themes will be explored through a chronological tour of four distinct musical genres: gospel, jazz, soul/funk, and hip hop.
The festival centerpiece will consist of a community art installation, where attendees can actively participate in a ritual by honoring someone they’ve lost. This monument will be created to pay homage to the artists, business owners, and community members from the past and present, whose contributions transformed Leimert Park into the center of African Diasporic culture and commerce in Los Angeles. The memorial will be designed by Rene Fisher Mims, a master African drummer of Muwasi Women’s Drum Circle and founder of the S.H.I.N.E. (Sisters Healing, Inspiring, Nurturing and Empowering).
“Our goal, with the incredible Leimert Park community at the center, is to engage a neighborhood audience, a citywide audience, and a national audience to channel our losses into love and our grief into growth,” said Brad Wolfe, Reimagine founder and executive director.
“Reimagine has connected deeply with community leaders and elders from Leimert Park to host this outdoor experience for all of L.A., in addition to an online experience for the whole country. The hope is that we can all come together to explore the inextricable relationship between loss, life and love. When there’s so much pain, we shouldn’t turn away from it. We should acknowledge it and explore ways to transform it into impact, action, and beauty.”
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