The Ford Foundation and Philanthropy New York presented a sold-out screening of “Kumu Hina” with a special musical performance by Hawaiian music stars Kealiʻi Reichel and Shawn Pimental.

Kealiʻi Reichel commenced the program with a chant. Joined by Shawn Pimental, he performed Koali and E O Mai. Kumu Hina danced E O Mai (as pictured.) I am used to Kealiʻi having a much bigger production complete with a full band and troupe of dancers. It was refreshing to see this “unplugged” duo of acoustic guitars in an intimate setting. The music and hula were sweet.

The film “Kumu Hina” tells the powerful story of Hina Wong-Kalu, a native Hawaiian transgender teacher, cultural practitioner, and community leader. The film is honest, inspirational, and touching. The screening was followed by a discussion, moderated by Roberta Uno, with filmmakers Dean Hamer and Joe Wilson and Kumu Hina herself. Amidst an excellent Q&A, the audience was introduced to Kumu Hina’s “A Pledge of Aloha.”hawaiian in new york

New York musicians, Claudia Goddard, Jason Poole, Kristabelle Munson, and yours truly led the singing Hawaiʻi Aloha. I cannot imagine a warmer conclusion to a cold, flurry-filled New York evening. Congratulations to all on a wonderful event.

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