Imani and Hanif Riley: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

*Los Angeles – The spirit filled KwanZaa Gwaride opened the year of the KwanZaa Era, the Year of Ujima, on Tuesday, December 26, 2017/ WakwanZaa 1, 52 KE (KwanZaa Era).

The celebration started at the corner of Adams and Crenshaw at 11:00am. The KwanZaa Gwaride rode down “The Shaw” to Leimert Park.

This year’s theme “Coping with Racism.” The procession kicks off the Kwanzaa festival by honoring the Ancestors. The KwanZaa Gwaride featured classic cars, classic custom bicycles, Drill teams and community organizations.

KwanZaa Gwaride honored the late Dr. Anyim Palmer, Founder of the Marcus Garvey Schools and a Founding participant in the very first KwanZaa Gwaride in 1977. Brother RW Akile is continuing the legacy of the KwanZaa Gwaride.

RW Akile: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Community members gathered in Leimert Park for the festival following the KwanZaa Gwaride. The program opened with Libation, Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing, performed by Sara Baldwin.

The program continued with some West African drumming performed by Baramboup, Imani and Hanif Riley. The festival continued unto the evening with a Candle Lighting Ceremony.

Sara Baldwin: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Baramboup, Imani and Hanif Riley: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The KwanZaa Gwaride is the first of several weeklong Kwanzaa celebrations throughout Greater Los Angeles. Kwanzaa is celebrated during the week between Christmas and the New Year (December 26-January 1).

Kwanzaa is based on Nguzo Saba, seven principles: Umoja (Unity; Kujichagulia (Self-Determination); Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility); Ujamaa (Co-operative economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity); and Imani (Faith).

Kwanzaa was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of African Studies. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday honoring African American history and culture.

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]