About Us

Our Philosophy

The goal is to create an urban performing artist community advocating, teaching, demonstrating collective work and responsibility promoting, self-determination and discipline through creative edutainment artistic experiences and exploration. This community represents all of the performing arts and serves as an alternative means of intervention when traditional forms don’t work. We unite engineers for change, warriors against apathy and parasites on the communities in which we live.

Founded in 1993, Kuumba Fest began as an offshoot of the San Diego Urban Warriors’ gang diversion program. Founder Dajahn Blevins taught arts to at-risk youth as a means of social development, cultural enrichment and self-empowerment. The students presented a sold-out performance at the San Diego Repertory Theatre at the end of the program, and the feedback from the community was so strong, Kuumba Fest was born. Co-produced by the Rep and its African American Council, Kuumba Fest is the county’s longest-running celebration of African-derived culture and commerce.

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 present a wide showcase of arts that celebrate Black American culture in all its variety. Kuumba Fest 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 at Horton Plaza Shopping Center.