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Individual Participants

AB The Pro (Abdul Aleem Bilal)
Rapper, producer, singer

AB the Pro is an accomplished music producer, rapper, and singer. From Southeast D.C., he is a graduate of Ballou Senior High School in Congress Heights. In 2003, he was inspired to pursue his dream of becoming a producer. He started out working with up-and-coming artists, and he eventually began working with artists such as Raheem Devaughn (Jive Records), Wale (Interscope Records), and Diamond District. AB views music as a means of change and believes his music in particular is capable of impacting listeners on many levels. He says, "It is not easy out here, but you can change your life through music."

Read more about AB The Pro

AJ (Allen Johnson Jr.)
Urban designer

AJ, an urban clothing designer, is from the Marshall Heights neighborhood of Southeast D.C. He began his fashion career in high school, designing T-shirts for students and staff. Drawing upon his business experience and his studies at the Art Institute of Philadelphia in fashion and graphic design, he is currently launching his urban design business AJ N Company.

Baba C (Lorenzo Calender)

The Honorable Baba C, a native Washingtonian, is a griot, master storyteller, historian, and cultural arts specialist. Known as the "Living Library," he has been heard in over fifty countries and featured in numerous newspaper articles. Baba C uses the art of storytelling, weaving pictures with words, to spark the imaginations of both younger and older audiences, transcending ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic barriers. He also inspires students to read, and he imparts life lessons to them, warning his audiences, "You will have a good time, but if you're not careful, you might learn something new!"

Read more about Baba C

BK Adams
Visual artist

Voted artist of the year 2011 by Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA), BK Adams or the "Art Man," as he is known, has a faithful Washington following built from his practice of pop-up public art, where he places sculpture in unexpected places throughout the city. His mantra "100% mynd use" encapsulates his philosophy on art and life, as he demands both himself and everyone else to think and be creative. He insists, "I want to let everybody know, don't be afraid to see what you see, enjoy what you see, there's no right, there's no wrong."

Christylez Bacon
Progressive hip-hop artist and musician

Christylez Bacon is a GRAMMY-nominated progressive hip-hop artist and multi-instrumentalist from Southeast Washington, D.C. Moving among various instruments, such as the West African djembe drum, acoustic guitar, and the human beat-box (oral percussion), he is driven to promote cultural acceptance and unification through music. Ever striving to create new from old in venues ranging from performances at the National Cathedral to recording a folk/hip-hop children's album, he explains, "It's my goal to use this music with hip-hop and mixing it with different people to unite audiences and give us the opportunity of educating each other."

Read more about Christylez Bacon

Charles "Coco" Bayron
Tattoo artist

Coco Bayron is the owner of Nu Flava Ink, a tattoo studio located on Martin Luther King Avenue in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Southeast D.C. Bayron brings his classic style of tattoo art from New York, where he was once a graffiti artist. Growing up in a rough neighborhood, Bayron found refuge in his art and used it publicly to create a drug-free zone where neighborhood children would feel safe. In addition to tattooing, Bayron has airbrushed helmets, cars, motorcycles, rooms, and clothing. He also uses his art to motivate others towards their goals: "I want my art to inspire others to reach their goals and to know that anything is possible when you put your mind to it."

Find out more about Coco Bayron

Head-Roc (Vance Levy)
Hip-hop artist

Head-Roc, known to many as "The Mayor of D.C. hip-hop," has become the voice of the often- forgotten D.C. Black music community. He distinguishes himself from other area artists/musicians through his use of political and socially conscious elements in his music, and he often appears and is involved in political events, such as rallies. Aside from his political views, he explains the creative and social significance of hip-hop as "the necessity and ability to express one's self creatively with whatever resources are readily available within the community and larger environment."

Read more about Head-Roc

Jay Coleman (Joe F. Coleman)
Visual artist

Surrounded by the arts his entire life, painter/portrait artist Jay Coleman has not stopped painting since he picked up his first brush when he was two years old. It was his "aunt," Lois Mailou Jones, who first recognized and then nurtured Coleman's talent and adopted him as her protégé. Coleman, who has lived and worked all throughout D.C., obtained a master’s degree in special education and has dedicated himself to teaching art to children with diasbilites. His art work and dedication to children reflects his generosity or spirit: “If we don’t grow as artists, we should at least grow as people.”

Read more about Jay Coleman

Melani N. Douglass
Poet and arts educator

Melani N. Douglass is both an artist and an educator. She creates work that engages her viewers, allowing them to change back and forth between the roles of artist/creator and audience member. Once a middle school teacher, Douglass now focuses on her art. Her current work joins mathematical equations, patterns in nature, spirituality, color, and sound. Douglass currently lives and creates in the Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast D.C. She is passionate about her work, stating, "Art allows me to remember in the most original sense of the word.... You don't have to create a body of work from inspiration, you can just use history."

Read more about Melani N. Douglass

Group Participants

African Heritage Dancers and Drummers
Dancers and musicians

Melvin Deal, a native Washingtonian, founded the African Heritage Center in 1973 and is considered by many to be the father of African culture in the Washington Metro area. Located on Good Hope Road in the Anacostia neighborhood of Southeast D.C., the Heritage Center is home to the African Heritage Dancers & Drummers. Under Melvin Deal's founding guidance, The African Heritage Dancers & Drummers has impacted the lives of thousands of at-risk children and youth, earning a reputation of excellence, locally, nationally and internationally. According to Melvin Deal and the African Heritage Dancers & Drummers,''Movement and music allow people a channel for self discovery.... We've come to realize we need to make a whole person before we can make an artist."

  • Melvin Deal, founder and director
  • Yao Hunt, drummer
  • Robert Meyers Jr, drummer
  • Robert Meyers IV, drummer
  • Joseph Ngwa, drummer
  • Anthongy Phillips, drummer
  • Antonio Resper drummer
  • Dwayne Smith, drummer
  • Adrian Sommerville, drummer
  • Vaughn Taylor, drummer
  • Earlene Cooper, dancer
  • Sheena Fogle, dancer
  • Arnette Jones, dancer
  • LaVerne Jones, dancer
  • Lavonda Jones, dancer
  • Veronica Resper, dancer

Albus Cavus
Public arts collective

Albus Cavus, meaning "white cave" in Latin, is a non-profit collective of artists, educators, and visionaries who use art, science, and technology in order to improve public spaces and build healthy communities. The organization began in the early 2000s, when the group premiered an art show out of the basement of a home in Brunswick, New Jersey. Today, the organization supports artistic excellence by providing consulting services, supplies and mentorship to emerging artists. They also push to have citizens more involved in the community through mural art: "Our goal is to create new cities where citizens participate as active designers and builders of public spaces in their neighborhoods." Examples of this can be seen throughout D.C., such as the Sousa's New Marching Band mural on Pennsylvania Avenue in Southeast D.C.

Read more about Albus Cavus

  • Peter Krsko, director
  • Chor Boogie
  • Joshua Cogan
  • Chanel Compton
  • Tim Conlon
  • Brian Conner
  • Alicia Cosnahan
  • Steven Cummings
  • Rick Freeman
  • Kevin Irvi
  • Tendani Mpulubusi
  • Luis Peralta
  • Juan Pineda
  • Michael Pinnix
  • Leon Rainbow
  • Tim Rodgers
  • Roderick Turner
  • Aniekan Udofia
  • Anthony Prelli Williams

The Anacostia Rollers & Friends, Inc.

The Anacostia Rollers & Friends, Inc. are a dance champion skate company that works to improve community relations through dance roller skating. Incorporated since 1995, the company produces skating shows and provides skating lessons for adults and youth. Their productions are held at the Anacostia Park Skating Pavilion in Southeast D.C. The Rollers & Friends, Inc. has been putting on productions for over twenty-four years and has received national recognition, performing for audiences throughout the local region and as far away as Atlanta, Georgia.

Read more about The Anacostia Rollers & Friends, Inc.

  • Betty Dodds "The Show Master," CEO, president, producer
  • Frank Mobley "Magnificent Mover," vice president and co-producer
  • James Allen "Big Jim," assistant co-producer
  • Henry Bush
  • Michael Bush, sergeant-in-arms
  • John Butler (Bunnie), assistant co-producer, master of ceremony, vocalist
  • Leslie & Alexis Dockery "The Dockery Sisters," hip-hop dancers
  • Larry Galloway "Shocka Hammer," stage manager
  • Graylin Presbury (DJ Graylin)
  • Amy Reed (Hanadi), belly dancer
  • Erica Smith "Diamond," public relations director
  • Henry Washington "Skate King"
  • Keith Washington, hip hop dancer


This group of anointed gospel singers delivers a melodious sound blending traditional gospel and contemporary music for audiences of believers and nonbelievers alike. Their name is inspired by Matthew 22:14: "Many are called, but few are Chosen." The group consists of worship leaders and psalmists who have ministered in song throughout the country and overseas. Over the years, they have collaborated with national and international artists.

  • Atiya Askia
  • Beverly Askia
  • Tina Dailey
  • Gloria Evans
  • Gregory Hawkins
  • Janinne Hutson- Black
  • Nichelle Johnson
  • Pamela Koonce
  • Darryl Lewis
  • John McCarter

Cold Hearted Go-Go Band

This group of young, talented, and ambitious members brings an energetic style to the D.C. area go-go scene. Listeners are drawn in with the first measure of drum beats, and as the rhythm and vocals become more intense, they can't help but move to the music. Great vocalists and a crisp sound set this group apart as one to watch, and they invite their audience to "Expect the unexpected."

  • A.B. Jones, general manager
  • Aron
  • Gregory Bouwer
  • Emoney
  • Marc Griffith
  • Marques Guster
  • Lil Love
  • Jhon Prince
  • Cardel Prine
  • Mike Shoatz

Da Originalz
Beat Ya Feet Hip-Hop Dance

Founded as a dance company, Da Originalz of Washington D.C. work to build leadership, creativity, and a unique finesse that promotes confidence in youth through Beat Ya Feet Dance. This dance style, which was created by Marvin Gross of Barry Farms in Southeast D.C., is mainly accompanied with go-go music. Today, this dance movement is heavily used by companies like Da Originalz, who organizes frequent dance competitions and produces dance-focused workshops and performing-arts projects that showcase youth talent within areas such as Southeast D.C. as well as throughout the D.C. region. Striving to help youth in particular, they explain: "We foster awareness and support for strong qualities that strengthen our avant-garde services to better impact the level of respect, commitment, self-confidence, organizational, and entrepreneurial skills in today's youth."

Read more about Da Originalz

  • John E. Pearson III,
    founder of Pearson & Company LLC
  • Keiron Brown (Kay-K)
  • Kevin Davis (NOODLEZ)
  • Sha'Quiel Jenkins
  • Robert Lewis Jr. (GoGo Rob)
  • Shawn Murchinson (GET DOWN)
  • Herbert Murray (Herb)
  • Erich Robinson
  • Jerell Silvers (JAY ARUH)
  • Davon Thompson
  • Bernard Trowell (McLovin)

Dancing with a Purpose Ministries
Liturgical dancers

Alive in Christ (AIC), Dancing With A Purpose (DWAP) Ministries, Inc. is located on Horner Place in Southeast D.C. Their goal is to use music and dance to spread their Gospel and to comfort those in need. They explain, "We dance because God has Blessed us with the ability to dance and this is another tool, another means, another vehicle to communicate and reach out to His people."

Read more about Dancing with a Purpose Ministries

  • Lois A. Void, pastor
  • Faye Johnson, minister
  • JoVan Lucas-Wills, minister
  • Alexandra
  • DeQuan
  • DyQuan
  • Jayla
  • Kayla
  • Malachi
  • Nya
  • Sean
  • Shannon

Daughters of Dorcas & Sons Quilters

The Daughters of Dorcas & Sons is a quilting group made up of women and men from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia areas. The group was founded in 1980 by Viola V. Canady, a retired Army seamstress. The name "Daughters of Dorcas" was inspired by a seamstress in the New Testament, who made clothes for the poor; while the words "& Sons" was added after three men joined the organization. This quilting group prides itself on keeping the tradition of quilting alive within the Black community: "We have lost so very much of what our people did. Quilting is what we were about. If you wanted to stay warm, you had to quilt."

  • Annie Strivers, director
  • Barbara Alford
  • Nancy Berry
  • Toni E. Diarra
  • Janice L. Dougherty
  • Maxine Dougherty
  • Alice Dove
  • Alyce Foster
  • Camille Gorham
  • Linda Hamilton-Gilbert
  • Jocelyn Herbert
  • Patsy Huff
  • Pansy Lovelace
  • Maxine Morgan
  • Ruth Stokes
  • Geraldine Whitley

East of the River Boys & Girls Steel Orchestra
Steel pan ensemble

Founded in 1993, this group has trained scores of D.C. youth in this musical form, particularly those east of the Anacostia River in Southeast D.C. It has also worked to build self-confidence and resiliency. It fosters an appreciation for the arts in order to support those at risk of not healthily transitioning into adulthood. In addition to providing training in steel pan music, the program offers tutoring, mentoring, life skills training, and exposes young people to a variety of educational and cultural activities. Former students that have gone on to perform in college and university bands and graduate institutions such as at the University of Mississippi, North Carolina Central University, and more. Many students leave the program with a new and continued appreciation for the steelpan. Though this program is a mixture of methods and techniques, "musical education is the soul of the Steelband program."

  • Gladys Whitmore Bray,
    executive director & master pannist
  • Roger Greenidge, musical director
  • Kevin Anderson
  • Nina Anderson
  • Atiya Artis
  • Meccah Burch
  • Arnézjah Crawford
  • Aisha Dozier
  • Ayana Dozier
  • Ashley Gaskins
  • Horus Plaza
  • Jeffrey Plaza
  • Donté Robinson
  • Geonte Stevenson
  • Shayla Washington

Fayzez U Know
Soul and funk group

This American soul and funk band from Maryland and Virginia combines the drive of the D.C. go-go swing, the showmanship of the Rolling Stones, and the versatility of a Parliament Party. The Faycez-U-Know music group has performed with and backed many local and national recording artists such as Fantasia, Chuck Brown, and Method Man. They warn, "This is an experience to witness live because if you blink you will miss something...and just when you thought that was it, there is more!"

Read more about Fayzez U Know

  • Doc Hughes, manager
  • Kah-el Gross, vocals/writer
  • Halima Peru, vocals/writer
  • Dwayne Lee, guitar
  • Loyde Lucus, guitar
  • Andrew Woolfolk, guitar
  • Craig Clipper (Clip), percussion
  • Quentin McNair, percussion
  • Scott Carter, spoken word & rap
  • Mario Ennis "Rio," drums
  • Doc Hughes, bass
  • Andrew Parker, sound engineer
  • Anthony Talley "Tom Tom," keyboard

Galilee Baptist Church Choir

Located on Minnesota Avenue in Southeast D.C., Galilee Baptist Church was organized in 1954 by nine sisters and brothers. The choir serves as the voice of the church, whose vision is to reach souls for Christ and to minister to the members. With their church and choir always growing, Galilee does not limit themselves. They explain, "We are building by faith—Expanding for the future."

Read more about Galilee Baptist Church Choir

  • Kenneth Chism, minister of music
  • Jackie Baker Martin
  • Lawanda Bennett
  • Jackie Cooper
  • Delores Diggs
  • Leslie Gibson
  • Takia Glover
  • Denise Goodwin
  • Florestine Graham
  • Renard Huckby
  • Darren Jones
  • Marian Jones
  • Melissa Jones
  • William Kelly
  • Adrienne Littlejohn
  • Shelia Moody
  • Rickie Owens-Davis
  • Mozell Padgett
  • Dianne Porter
  • Clearance Posey
  • Mike Posey
  • William Posey
  • Justin Powell
  • Shirley Simmons
  • Tammy Thompson
  • Markia Wade

Iverson Mall Line Dancers

This group of approximately fifty senior citizens are based in Iverson Mall in Temple Hills. Formed in 1995 as a complement for a walking program designed to improve the health and well-being of seniors, they perform at local community events. They are role models for active and creative living. One member reports, "They tell me I don't dance like a senior, that I dance like a teenager. I tell them 'I don't know how a senior is supposed to dance.' "

  • Mildred Johnson,
    dance program coordinator
  • Daisy Arrington
  • Laura I. Brown
  • Yvonne Contee
  • Thelma Evans
  • Lillian Green
  • Rita Harrison
  • Esther Hodges
  • Dorothy Hughley
  • Jean Jackson
  • Ernesteen Johnson
  • Gertrude W. Johnson
  • Dwight R. Jones
  • Dorothy Lee Swinson
  • Helen Lee
  • Peggy Maske
  • Brenda Matthews
  • Janice Meadows
  • Phyllis W. Settles
  • Benjamin Stevenson
  • Constance Stevenson
  • Bertley B. Thomas
  • Marydot Thomas
  • Elaine E. Tucker
  • Amelia Yarbrough

Junkyard Band
Go-go musicians

The Junkyard Band was founded by a group of children in the Barry Farms neighborhood of Southeast D.C. Lacking resources and unable to afford instruments, this group used found objects such as buckets, hubcaps, and cans to create their original sound. Now using musical instruments, the band is widely known for their go-go sound. One of their most popular songs is "Sardines."

Read more about Junkyard Band

Metro Mambo
Latin musicians

Jim Byers, a radio personality from WPFW 89.3 FM's Latin Flavor, is the host of the Metro Mambo program at the Anacostia Community Museum. Metro Mambo explores the roots of Latino dance and music, highlighting its percussive parallels with African-American genres such as R&B and go-go.

  • Verny Varela, director and vocalist
  • Nayla Angola, dancer and vocals
  • Johnny Aquipa, trumpet
  • Jim Byers
  • Ralph Eskenazi, timbal
  • Harold Harriston
  • Manuel Hernandez, bass
  • Jorge Martinez, piano
  • Antonio Orta, sax
  • Percy Recavaran, trombone
  • Gary Sociyas, bongo
  • Adan Tafur, conga

Smooth & EZ
Hand dancers

The mission of the Smooth & EZ Hand Dance Institute, directed by Lawrence Bradford, is to "enhance local and national awareness of Hand Dance through instruction, promotion, and preservation." Hand dancing is a unique Washington, D.C., tradition that developed in the 1950s as an offspring of the Lindy Hop. It follows a basic swing dance structure with "smooth footwork and hand-turns" (Manriquez, The History of D.C. Hand-Dance, 2010), and dance partners keep their hands in contact through every movement. While very structured, hand dancing allows for a great deal of partner improvisation and it can be danced to a variety of speeds ranging from 90 to 140 beats per minute. In 1999 it was officially recognized by the city council as the official dance of Washington, D.C. Smooth & EZ is performing for a second year in a row at the Folklife Festival.

Read more about Smooth & EZ

  • Lawrence Bradford, director
  • Calvin Beidleman
  • Veronica Best
  • Jackey Brayboy
  • William Coleman
  • Milton English
  • Marion Ennis Jr.
  • Francina Ferguson
  • Lisa Hamilton
  • Victor Howard
  • Gabrielle James
  • Gregory L Owens Sr.
  • Lisa Lawson
  • Greg Meads
  • Charles Moulden
  • Jonathan V. Newton
  • Nilajah Nyasuma
  • Betty Parker
  • Vanessa Quinn
  • Renee Reed
  • Carolyn Rhone
  • Patricia Russo
  • Helen (Vicky) Swann Davidson
  • Linda Taylor
  • Angela Tindle
  • Cynthia Trmeheart
  • Charlene Wade
  • Melvin Walker
  • Gerald Woodfork
  • Gloria Woodfork

Taratibu Steppers
Gumboot dancers

This dance company of the Taratibu Youth Association provides a creative environment for young performing artists with a strong interest in African and African-American culture and history. With its strongest roots in Taratibu, the company combines contemporary military drill movements with traditional African dance. It also integrates vocals, including traditional Negro spirituals, contemporary gospel, and songs in Kiswahili and Zulu.

Read more about this organization

  • Arla Scott, director
  • Naima Hylton, co-director
  • Ylynne Brown, team manager
  • Victoria Mitchell, captain
  • Daiya Ajose
  • Jahkiyah Anderson
  • Sarih Anderson
  • Ahneenah Butler
  • Moriah Johnson
  • Trinity McNeill
  • Micah Meadows
  • Taeja Moffitt
  • Markia Morton
  • Kelanji Mushala
  • Kupewa Mushala
  • Alea Shipp
  • Leyah Smith
  • Ayana Wallace

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