Makeda of the World Beat Center Explains Kwanzaa to School Children

MORE THAN 20 YEARS AGO, Makeda “Dread” Cheatom founded the WorldBeat Center (WBC) in Balboa Park and began hosting the 91X Sunday-night Reggae Makossa program. Her goal—fostering a broader appreciation of various cultures—resonates both locally and globally. Dedicated to presenting and preserving African and indigenous cultures, the WBC welcomes visitors of all ages with low-cost classes and presentations in dance, drumming and art, including classes for the developmentally disabled. Its Day of the Drum Global Music and Dance Festival is October 8. The center’s garden is a springboard for school projects in collaboration with local organic farmers and the Ocean Beach People’s Co-op....

Youth have a resounding place at the WBC; they learn public relations skills, stage lighting and video, and they assist in producing shows. A teen group built its own sound studio at the center, which also has radio and TV stations, as well as a recording label.

In 2005, Cheatom founded the Give a Hug Foundation after visiting an orphanage in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica. In addition to the orphanage, beneficiaries include Hurricane Katrina victims, a Burmese preschool in Thailand, refugees in Ghana, a library in Costa Chica, Mexico, and a cultural center in Peru.“Helping others makes me less greedy,” Cheatom says. “People should try it; it’s a good antidote. You’re supported by a sacred energy. We’re taught that happiness is outside, in acquiring. Be still and look at what’s inside.”................from the San Diego Magazine