San Diego Kuumba Festival


Location : San Diego Repertory Theatre [The Lyceum Theatres]

Founded in 1993 by Dajahn Blevins and co-produced by The REP and our African American Council, Kuumbafest is San Diego's longest running and premier celebration of African-American expression, culture, and heritage.  Kuumba (Swahili for “creativity”) Fest brings together community leaders, local performers and celebrities for an annual audience that averages 5,000. From gospel to hip-hop and theater to dance, San Diego’s Kuumba Fest presents a wide showcase of arts that celebrate Black American culture in all its variety. Kuumbafest will offer a three-day festival that includes educational workshops, hip-hop dance and speech competitions, performances of plays, Late Night Live (San Diego’s version of Late Night at the Apollo), and as always, a gospel concert finale. An African Market Place featuring arts and crafts for sale by local vendors will also be presented in the lobby of the Lyceum Theatre.

  • Questions? Call 619.544.1000

2020 San Diego Kuumba Festival - February 28 - 30


Friday, February 28th

Friday Night of Positive Images - Open for shopping, the African Market Place offers exotic, cultural vendors, fashion, art, jewelry, food, live jazz, a community reception, exhibits, family resources, libations and a drum call serve as the pre-show. Pageantry and power backdrops the Awards Ceremony in the Royal court, Parade of the Ancestors speak of Black heritage, closing the night with a moving chore poem play Sarah Elizabeth. The Lynching of a Black woman who was Connected. Written by Ginger Galloway, adapted and directed by Calvin Manson. Tickets: $25

Saturday, February 29th

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

6 PM – Black 2 Connected Poetry Slam & Arts Experiential: through words and expression what it will take to reconnect to the struggle and journey for cultural integrity, survival and sustained prosperity. 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 30th

11 AM – Readers Theatre presentation led by Antonio Johnson connecting to and celebrating the African American experience honoring the work of critically acclaimed August Wilson. 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

Kuumbafest 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.

Kuumbafest 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)