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The Kennedy Center Announces New Episodes of ARTS ACROSS AMERICA

Featuring Fabian Almazan, Lyla June, Yasha Lelonek, Lido Pimenta, and Samora Pinderhughes.

The Kennedy Center announces additional artists for its free digital series, Arts Across America, which continues this spring with a focus on cultural leadership and art as a catalyst for public healing, decolonization, and genuine global change. Upcoming episodes will explore contributions from the Black Trans theater community, sacrifice zones and the environment, the fight for women's rights in the Latinx community, the prison and detention center system, the importance of Indigenous food and health, and much more.

Hosted by sage artistic minds including singer and emcee Maimouna Youssef aka Mumu Fresh, best-selling author Jason Reynolds, and playwright, actor, and model Sejahari Saulter-Villegas, each installment features performances and conversations aiming to heal our country, communities, and selves.

This new iteration of the popular series launched with Infinity Song on March 6 and Emily Johnson on March 20. Newly announced artists include Yasha Lelonek (April 3), Fabian Almazan (April 17), Lido Pimenta (May 1), Samora Pinderhughes (May 15), and Lyla June (May 29). New episodes air every other Saturday at 6 p.m. EST and can be viewed on Facebook Live, YouTube, and the Kennedy Center website.

April 3

Art and Trans Liberation with Yasha Lelonek, hosted by Maimouna Youssef and Sejahari Saulter-Villegas

Yasha Lelonek is an actress, director, and multimedia visual artist. Originally from Queens Village, New York and raised in suburban Atlanta, she is now based in New York City. She is the director and star of the multimedia film short Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair, creator of the painted-photograph "Happy Birthday Gia Love," author of the choreopoem FIEBRE, and a senior Drama student at New York University's Tisch School of The Arts.

April 17

Sustainability within the Music Industry with Fabian Almazan, hosted by Jason Reynolds

Cuban-American pianist, composer, and environmentalist, Fabian Almazan found his musical roots as a child in Havana. As a performer and band leader, Almazan has developed a personal voice through the electric manipulation of the acoustic piano in live and studio settings. Most recently, Almazan's electro-acoustic piano approach was featured in director Kasi Lemmon's latest film, Harriet. He is the founder and director of Biophilia Records and has worked diligently towards ensuring a continued dialogue of awareness concerning music and environmental justice.

May 1

Latina/Women's Rights with Lido Pimienta, hosted by Maimouna Youssef and Sejahari Saulter-Villegas

Lido Pimienta's multi-textural, mind-bending voice and music project what Canada's The Globe and Mail called her "bold, brash, polarizing" persona, which constantly confronts the powers that be. But it also reveals an embrace of the Afro and Indigenous traditions that is at once defiant, delicate and sweetly nostalgic. Pimienta's new album Miss Colombia takes her ecstatic hybridity to a new level, building on the "nu" intersection of electronica and cumbia established by her first two albums, Color, released in 2010, and the 2016 Polaris Prize-winning Canadian album of the year, La Papessa. The latter was the first 100% independently released, non-English or French album to win the $50,000 prize. Produced with Matt Smith, a/k/a Prince Nifty, Miss Colombia has the effect of expanding the narrative about her dual Colombian/Canadian identity to her family's mixed roots in the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous Wayuu communities, while establishing an ambitious new sonic palette that brings her closer to home.

May 15

Prison Abolition with Samora Pinderhughes, hosted by Jason Reynolds

Samora Pinderhughes is a composer/pianist/vocalist known for striking intimacy and carefully crafted, radically honest lyrics alongside high-level musicianship. He is also known for his use of music to examine sociopolitical issues and fight for change. Samora is the first-ever Art for Justice + Soros Justice Fellow, and a recipient of Chamber Music America's 2020 Visionary Award. He has also been designated as a Creative Capital awardee, a Joe's Pub / Public Theater NYC Artist-in-Residence, and a Sundance Composers Lab fellow. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School and is currently earning his PhD at Harvard University. His newest project, The Healing Project, is an interview-based multidisciplinary work focusing on experiences of incarceration, detention, and policing, and will debut in 2021 at Carnegie Hall; it is produced by his mentor Anna Deavere Smith as well as Vijay Iyer and Glenn Ligon. Samora has collaborated with numerous artists including Herbie Hancock, Sara Bareilles, Daveed Diggs, Titus Kaphar, and Lalah Hathaway. He works frequently with Common on compositions for music & film, and is a featured member on the new albums August Greene and Let Love with Common, Robert Glasper, and Karriem Riggins. He has performed his compositions in venues including Carnegie Hall, MoMA, the Sundance Film Festival, and the Kennedy Center. He has toured internationally with artists including Branford Marsalis, Christian Scott, Jose James, and Emily King. Samora scored the award-winning documentary Whose Streets? and the Field of Vision film Concussion Protocol, as well as writing songs for films and TV shows including Little Voice, The Tale, All About Nina, and Burning Sands. He is a member of Blackout for Human Rights, the arts & social justice collective founded by Ryan Coogler and Ava DuVernay, and was musical director for their #MLKNow and #JusticeForFlint events.

May 29

Lyla June, hosted by Jason Reynolds

Lyla June is an Indigenous musician, scholar, and community organizer of Diné (Navajo), Tsétsêhéstâhese (Cheyenne), and European lineages. Her dynamic, multi-genre presentation style has engaged audiences across the globe towards personal, collective, and ecological healing. She blends studies in Human Ecology at Stanford, graduate work in Indigenous Pedagogy, and the traditional worldview she grew up with to inform her music, perspectives, and solutions. She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree, focusing on Indigenous food systems revitalization.


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