Honoring Big Chief Victor Harris

A Tom Dent Congo Square Lecture

Curated by Big Queen Theresa Crushshon, Golden Feather Hunters

When

Friday, March 22nd

Lecture– Doors open at 6:00 pm; Begins at 6:30pm;

90min. program

Where

The George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center

1225 N. Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA 70116

Free Admission


The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation presents the 2024 Tom Dent Congo Square Lecture Series. This year’s lecture celebrates the legacy of Big Chief Victor Harris, affectionately known as Big Chief of “Fi Yi Yi” Spirit of the Mandingo Warriors. After 48 years of masking, Big Chief Harris has decided to pass the torch to his son, Victor Harris, Jr., marking a significant chapter in the history of the Black Masking Indian Tribe.


Panelists:

  • Big Chief Victor Harris, Fi Yi Yi Spirit of the Mandingo Warriors
  • Victor Harris, Jr., 2nd Chief of Fi Yi Yi Spirit of the Mandingo Warriors
  • Big Chief Tyrone “Pie” Stevenson of the Monogram Hunters
  • Jeremy Stevenson of the Monogram Hunters
  • Skulls and Bones Second Chief Zohar Israel
  • Solomon Mason, Master Percussionist and Stilt Dancer
  • Big Queen Rukiya Brown, Creole Wild West

Discussion:

A discussion moderated by Big Queen Theresa Crushshon of the Golden Feather Hunters will delve into the rich oral traditions stemming from
Africa, exploring how masking traditions are passed down and preserved through family lineage. As we focus on Big Chief Victor Harris’ journey, we will highlight the significance of the Mandingo Warriors and their unique contributions to the Black Masking Indian community. Key discussion points include:

  • Legacy and Continuity: Examining the passing of the tradition from Big Chief Victor Harris to his son, Victor Harris, Jr., and understanding the importance of preserving cultural practices through family lineage.
  • African-Centered Masking: Exploring the African-centered elements within the Harris suits, emphasizing the organic and ancestral roots embedded in the artistic expression of the Black Masking Indian Tribe.
  • Inter-Generational Perspectives: Insightful discussions with speakers, including Big Chief Tyrone “Pie” Stevenson, Jeremy Stevenson, Second Chief Zohar Israel, Solomon Mason, Big Queen Rukiya Brown Creole Wild West and moderator Big Queen Theresa Crushshon Golden Feather Hunters, providing diverse perspectives on the significance of passing down cultural traditions.

*Time will be allowed for questions from the audience following the lecture.


The Tom Dent Congo Square Lecture is a program produced and presented by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, the nonprofit that owns the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival presented by Shell. The Foundation uses the proceeds from Jazz Fest, and other raised funds, for year-round programs in education, economic development and cultural enrichment. For more on what we do, please visit www.jazzandheritage.org.