On Saturday, August 30, the 4th Annual LA Skins Music Fest takes place at the Barnsdall Art Park Gallery Theater in Los Angeles. The event, which features successful Native American musicians, will also include a youth talent show for the third year in a row. "People can expect a great show that highlights contemporary Native music—rock, pop, funk, R&B—and showcases burgeoning Native youth exploring the performing arts," says Ian Skorodin, Choctaw, founder of the LA Skins Fest. "It takes place all evening and is, of course, free." This year's show will feature Mia Sable (MiaSable.com), whose hit song, It's Easy, is the theme song of The Bravo Channel's show Southern Charm. Also on the bill is the hip hop artist and restaurateur, Tha Native (ThaNative.com); First Nations Experience (FNX) television hostess Shayna Jackson; and Native rockers Headlite View (Facebook.)
The Music Fest is an offshoot of the larger LA Skins Fest, which has been shining the spotlight on Native filmmakers, directors, writers and musicians since its founding in 2007. Skorodin describes the idea as "a community based series of festivals, screenings, concerts, youth workshops and professional development." Last summer's show featured talented garage-rockers Well Hung Heart (wellhungheart.com); soulful blues-jazz artist Raye (reverbnation.com/rayemusic); Shane B. and Fred Benz (reverbnation.com/label/rezliferekordz), a hip hop duo from Shiprock, New Mexico; and hard rock band Galaxy of Tar (Facebook).
A key component of The LA Skins Fest is that it's in the community, and for the community. There are "no admission fees, no parking fees and all after parties are open to our community," Skorodin says. "The Indian community of LA is comprised of blue collar working families. We are not affluent enough to afford movie tickets, parking and dinner for a large family. The LA Skins Fest gives our community a real place to go to without thought of money, fees and paying." The The LA Skins Fest is designed to encourage Native Americans to excel in multimedia and Native youth to attend college.
The organization is led by Skorodin and five other board members selected based on their affiliation with indigenous communities; their leadership roles in the community; and their work in multimedia, film and television. The current incarnation grew out of Barcid Productions. The Barcid Foundation was formed in 2004 "to provide vocational [and] educational opportunities to the Native community." The LA Skins Fest mainly focuses on "the Native population of Southern California, but [includes] every demographic through our mainstream media sponsors."