Khamall Jahi wants to create a sustainable and secure space where culture is protected.
The Citadel Event Space and Lounge at 1761 Parsons Ave. is still under construction, but Jahi hopes to build a âcommunity relicâ for the South Side.
Jahi, his brother, Ras Jahlani Ben-Levi, and his mother have teamed up to manage the space, which will include an event and a small office in one.
The family acquired the old church last summer and, after some DIY renovations, are now ready to open it to the public.
Jahi recently returned to Columbus after seven years in California. He said he wanted to bring some of his West Coast experiences to Columbus, but he also wanted to stay informed about what the community wants and needs.
“I want to mix up some of what I experienced during my absence
with some of the things that I feel like people like here, and some of what I think they might even need here, âhe said.
The space has hosted local music groups like jazz-hop group The Liquid Crystal Project and smaller events like movie screenings and weekly yoga classes, as well as the hip-hop and R&B dance party of the years. 2000 Orange Soda.
Ben-Levi received a grant from the Greater Columbus Arts Council earlier this year, and with that funding, the brothers are planning a festival and grand opening this weekend.
The festival, which takes place on October 23, will be a combination of music and live performances, live art and vendors.
Ben-Levi notes that the festival will feature artists The Flex Crew, N’Shia Iman, Binta, Meaca Moore, Conquest, Tony Phillips, Luh Bear, Turich Benjy and Ben-Levi’s own band Jxlani and The Sour Boys. The lineup is a mix of genres including hip-hop, R&B and reggae.
âI wanted to diversify,â he says. “I didn’t want to just do hip hop and other genres that Columbus is used to.”
Jahi said the goal is for the Citadel to be a sustainable community space. Over the next few months, they are planning community programs and other celebrations.
Jahi and Ben-Levi both grew up on the South Side. Returning to Columbus, reconnecting with this community is what Jahi needed.
âThat’s why I came back. It feels more like home than anywhere else, âhe said. “I feel like I have all these myths and reasons I was afraid to come back to Columbus, but it has evolved and changed in incredible ways, from the arts to the black community to consciousness in general. . “
The South Side is made up of âreally strongâ people from all walks of life, Jahi said, so having a space in their neighborhood meant a lot, especially because that is changing too.
âTo be among this community and to add to this narrative, it is very important for us to see all the changes and be a part of that change,â he said. “Being among my old neighborhood while the city changes feels good.”
For more information, visit thecitadel614.com.