Kick-off Festival: July 27, 2013




The July 27th Kick-Off event includes appearances by emerging local vocalist  IhsAn Bilal, Rapper, AB The Producer, Anthony Anderson and the cast of the internet sensation Anacostia The Series, and the East of the River Steel Drum Band.  Special narratives provided by noted author, Dr. Courtney Davis, Jay Coleman, the Honorable Baba-C Griot and Dianne Dale are sure to be fun for children (and adults) of all ages!


Schedule of Events

Main Performance Stage


11AM - The East of the River Boys and Girls Steel Band - Come hear the sweet sounds of the East of the River Boys and Girls Steel Band! This creative musical group made up of youth from east of the Anacostia River, will entertain you with percussion instruments from Trinidad and Tobago. All Ages

12PM - IhsAn Bilal - Classically trained at the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts, this talented vocalist and songwriter will delight audiences with her smooth voice. All Ages.

1PM - Opening Day Ceremony - Mayor Vincent C. Gray and other distinguished guests will be on hand to recognize the arts, culture, and creativity found throughout Ward 8, and to celebrate the revitalization of the St. Elizabeths East Campus!

1:45PM - The African Heritage Drummers and Dancers - Trained by Melvin Deal, who is known in the community as t he Father of African Dancing and Drumming, the members of this group will electrify the stage with pounding beats and vibrant dance. All Ages.

3PM - AB the Producer - One of the DMV's top producers/composers, "AB the Pro" is an accomplished music producer, rapper, and singer hailing from the Southeast quadrant of Washington, DC.


Narrative Stage


11AM - Jay Coleman - Coleman, a portrait and tattoo artist, will discuss his life and inspiration growing up in Ward 8. He will also answer audience questions about his unique artistic style and talents.

12PM - Dianne Dale - Dale will discuss her book, The Village that Shaped US, and her life growing up East of the River. Local luminaries Tendani Mpulubusi and Maurice Shorter will add their perspectives on the history and culture of the community.

1PM - A is For Anacostia Book Reading - Author Courtney Davis will explore the Big Chair and other Anacostia landmarks as she reads from her book. An audience discussion will follow. For ages 2-6.

1:45PM - Cast of Anacostia Web Series - The cast of this new webseries will discuss their roles, and what it's like acting and filming in Anacostia. Join Director and Producer, Anthony Anderson, and cast members Tamieka Chavis, Marion Akpan, and Pasha Diallo for discussion and Q&A. Suitable for ages 13 and up.

3PM - Baba-C - The Honorable Baba-C Griot/Master Storyteller will delight you with his interactive, entertaining narratives. Baba-C appeals to all audiences, transcending generational, cultural, and socioeconomic barriers. All ages.


Kids Corner


11AM - Albus Cavus - Create a small wire sculpture based on Calder's Circus Mobiles. Be creative and show off your unique style! For ages 10+.

2PM - Dr. Courtney Davis - Join Dr. Davis in a workshop based on her book, A is for Anacostia.




11AM - Albus Cavus - A blank mural canvas will be constructed upon which each visitor will be encouraged to leave their creative mark! A community project for everyone! All ages.

1:30PM - East of the River Girls and Boys Steel Band Workshop - Experience the joy of the steel pan! Engage in discussion and play a few notes of your own. All ages.

3PM - Verbal Gymnastics - Poet and playwright John Johnson will host an interactive workshop that incorporates poetry and storytelling. The workshop will allow participants to use their observations of their community and personal experience to create a unique and original piece that will unlock their inner poet and wordsmith! Johnson will also share some of his poetry and tips that will help budding poets.

Artists and Attractions

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    IhsAn Bilal
    IhsAn Bilal was accepted and classically trained at the Duke Ellington School of the Performing Arts. After graduating, she became a lead vocalist for the Black Alley Band. In July 2011, she released her debut album “BIG red BOX” and since then has performed for congressional dignitaries and at professional sporting events. Other noteworthy achievements include opening performances for Faith Evans, Miguel, Kanye West, Stalley, Jadakiss and Hezekiah Walker.  Art, culture and philanthropy continue to motivate this talented vocalist and songwriter.

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    AB The Pro
    One of The District's top producers/composers  AB The Pro is an accomplished music producer, rapper and singer hailing from the Southeast section of Washington, DC who graduated from Ballou Senior High School class of 2006. In 2003, through the efforts of a close friend, AB was lucky enough to watch Kanye West laying tracks at Sony Studios in New York City. This encounter inspired him to step up his game.

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    Cast of 'Anacostia The Series'
    ‘Anacostia’, the series, follows the lives of fictional characters dealing with very real issues. Each resident of ‘Anacostia’ navigates through love, betrayal and deception while dealing with their own agonizing secrets and personal vices.  ‘Anacostia’ takes the harsh realities of a forgotten city and demonstrates the struggles through multi-faceted characters.   Being on the web, the creator and cast has the freedom to tell these stories with unapologetic honesty.

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    Dr. Courtney Davis
    Dr. Courtney Davis has been a practitioner and advocate for children with disabilities and their families for over 15 years. She has a passion for working with students in urban areas to unleash their potential to learn and become change-agents in their own community. These experiences inspired her to create books to encourage children to read. 'A is For Anacosita' is her first picture book.

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    Jay Coleman
    Jay Coleman is a professional artist, portrait artist, tattoo artist, and special educator of children with autism and autism spectrum disorders. His multi-faceted art entity Ausen International Arts provides art services with the mission to empower, inspire, and transition youth through exposure to art and its many sources.