Akon’s Lighting LA takes place this weekend, a collaboration between DisclosureFest, The Space Between and Akon Lighting America. A music and art experience, the event will benefit Akon’s Lighting Africa, plus ACISTE and the DisclosureFest Foundation.
Performers include Snoop Dogg (DJing as Snoopadelic) and Paul Oakenfold. We chatted with Akon and The Space Between’s Joey Nittolo about what we can expect…
L.A. WEEKLY: How did you get involved with DisclosureFest?
AKON: It was our intention to partner with an authentic organization who has been doing the work and making a massive impact. We felt that DisclosureFest aligns with our principles and that it would be a good partnership between the both of us. We admire their work from their mass meditations, social initiatives and large-scale free events for local communities.
Tell us about your work in Africa?
AKON: I grew up without electricity or clean running water. I came up in a village in Senegal. I was enjoying life as is and not realizing how much of impact not having electricity was to me because I didn’t have it. But when I moved to the states and got the experience and was able to really understand what electricity was and how much impact it did have — going back home it felt like something needed to be done. Fast forward 15-20 years, I went to my old neighborhood to visit my grandma and the situation was still the same. I really wanted them to experience what life was with the benefits and advantages of having electricity. So the whole concept of Akon Lighting Africa is to be able to electrify the rural areas of Africa as far out to where the grid doesn’t reach. And the sun is limitless in Africa, that’s our biggest resource. Solar became the main focus to create energy. We ended up being in 16 countries in three years and became the largest solar providers in Africa.
What can we expect from your set on the day?
AKON: We have something special planned but you have to be there to see it.
Joey, tell us about The Space Between — your journey to where we are now. What is the mission statement?
JOEY NITTOLO: We like to think of TSB as an organism that incorporates the power of music, art, community and advocacy for the purpose of expanding consciousness around the globe. The Space Between serves as a medium to create a specific uplifting and transformative effect upon the consciousness of our audience. It is our mission to harness the power of these mediums to affect real change around the world. Our pillars include music events fused with sustainable and humanitarian initiatives, a deeply personal and radically real podcast touching on unconventional topics, and grassroots advocacy projects ranging from mental health awareness to combating homelessness.
How did you have the idea for DisclosureFest?
NITTOLO: DisclosureFest is a beautiful organization that organizes a series of events for local communities throughout the year to expand higher consciousness including mass meditations for thousands of people, music festivals and more. We felt there was a natural synergy between us and wanted to partner with an aligned, established brand of integrity and experience.
How will it differ to a regular music show? Where is the money going?
NITTOLO: We are exploring the human experience through the mediums of art, music, conversation and connection. This two-day urban conscious event welcomes seekers from all walks of life, along with leaders and change-makers across the areas of mental and holistic health and healing, spirituality, solar energy, ocean conservation, prison reform, and inmate rehabilitation. The Enlightened Art Experience that will showcase on Saturday is an art show of mindfulness, therapy and self-exploration. It features artists that span the worlds of street art and mindful art, exploring conscious creation in physical form. Each evening will end in celebration, with musical performances by Snoop Dogg (as DJ Snoopadelic) and Paul Oakenfold, among others. Other activities include guided yoga and meditation and art and wellness workshops for families and children. The music is a highlight but the event is so much more.
Tickets are donation-based and the proceeds from the show will benefit multiple organizations: Akon Lighting Africa, DisclosureFest Foundation’s environmental and social initiatives, The American Center for the Integration of Spiritually Transformative Experiences, and Agape International Spiritual Center.
How did you pick the performers?
NITTOLO: We wanted to bring together a collaboration of musicians from rap to mindful music and really bridge the urban and conscious world in a way that hasn’t been done before. We curated a lineup from different backgrounds and spiritual communities to explore the things that are pressing and happening right now in on our planet. It is a convergence of energies of each of these musicians that are ultimately fusing connections across boundaries to create one global family. We are joining with like-minds and intention to express ourselves — to express how we fell and tap into our heart space. It’s an exciting time to be alive when all of these changes are happening. A lot times people feel off and you want to be switched on — that’s what being lit is. Some people listen to music, practice yoga, meditate or spend time with nature so that you can tap into your heart center and realign. We created this experience to share with another and get lit.
Will this be annual?
Tell us about the tour next year ?
NITTOLO: It’s a 2020 tour that Akon will announce at the event.