Seasonal Special Happenings

Eat, Drink, and Support a Hometown Filmmaker

When: Fri., March 18 2011

Producer-director Najaa Young may call L.A. home these days, but she grew up on Cleveland's East Side in a family that practiced Ifa, the traditional Nigerian religion. At the time, it seemed tough. "When you can't explain to the other kids why you aren't a Christian, it tends to make you a pariah," she recalls. But like many childhood experiences, it became a source of inspiration, eventually spurring her to collect the stories of other African Americans who have embraced the culture and religion of their forebears. The resulting project — the documentary American Africans — has taken Young from coast to coast interviewing scores of artists, academics, educators, and shamans, including a modern Yoruba king in South Carolina. Now she is back in Cleveland, completing additional interviews and hosting a fund raiser to ensure the project's summer completion. You can show your support by attending this evening's happy hour in the downtown YMCA. A suggested $25 donation will snag you apps, live entertainment from Cleveland vocalist and film contributor Barbara J. Barrett, and the chance to see the film's fascinating extended trailer. It all happens from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in the Y's Butler Room at 2200 Prospect Ave. Free parking is available. For more information, go to — Cicora

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