Johnson-Harrell calls for statewide recognition of nation’s oldest pan-African dance ensemble in new bill

HARRISBURG, Sept. 30 – To commemorate Kùlú Mèlé, the oldest continually-performing African dance and drum ensemble in the nation, state Rep. Movita Johnson-Harrell, D-Phila, introduced legislation that would designate Oct. 18 as Kùlú Mèlé Day in Pennsylvania.

Since its inception in 1969, according to Johnson-Harrell, Kùlú Mèlé has been influential to the Black Arts Movement in Philadelphia and incorporates the cultures and aesthetic values of the African diaspora, specifically intertwining West African traditions with African American creativity.

“Kùlú Mèlé has remained true to its values and has continually dedicated itself to serving the community by presenting and preserving the culture, dance and music of Africa and its diaspora,” Johnson-Harrell said. “It has also performed in other countries, gaining international visibility. I am proud to introduce this legislation that would give Kùlú Mèlé special recognition in its home state.”