Propfit Levi is a unique soul like no other. He’ll be the first to tell you he is not an artist, but a ‘regular old brotha’. Levi’s perspective on life, history and knowledge of self merits your time to learn more about him especially if you’re someone who engages life unapologetically.
By LaMar Anderson | April 1, 2021 | 6:00am
Please tell us your name.
Peace bredren, you can call I and I an Aboriginal bredren. I am from earth. I call I self Propfit; like a prop that is fit a prop; P-r-o-p fit Levi or Leavy. Levi just truly blissfully means the abs. The abdominal region, Leavy. Propfit Levi Aboriginal man.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Are you an artist in Leimert?
Bredren, I am from earth, actually. An artist, I don’t consider myself an artist, but I do express I self through what people call art. But I am not just an artist, more like you and I bredren, I am a regular old brotha, surviving, and living and enjoying I being in this realm and I express myself through what people call art. So, others may consider I an artist.
But I come to the park [Leimert] for melanated energy that is of my own. There are not many chances and opportunities to gather with the energy like this and enjoy with my people, indeed.
Did you grow up in Los Angeles?
Bredren, no. I didn’t grow up in this city at all. I grew up far away in the countryside.
What does Leimert Park mean to you?
Leimert, actually bredren, I found out is a name itself from a bredren who is not one of the melanated beings that are here. So the name itself belongs to another people. But it’s where my people go, so that’s where I’ll go. It just so happens to be this little spot today or so often. It’s nothing special about “Leimert”; it’s just the energy that is here. Say if we picked up went over to the green grass that is over in the neighborhood, then that’s where we’ll go, and then we will be calling that spot something. So it’s not “Leimert”; it’s the people that are here that make Leimert some kind of name. It should be called “The People That Come Every Week”, haha. “The Melanated People That Come Every Week” it should be called something like that, haha.
When you come out, partake, and build within the energy [of Leimert], can you describe your practice? What do you doing and/or consider yourself as being in this moment?
Wow, I have a picture that explains all of that; as I am speaking now, I can’t show you but can tell you. I am here as one of my bredren that is awakened to his “ooooooold” habits or I old ways. So I am an Aboriginal or an original of our kind in my being, or I guess I would say in my presence or my character. Once one sees I, they see an “ooooooold themself”. So I am sticking to my roots per se if I can bring that up to speed.
So when I come here, I represent our old selves. Yeah, I can say that I am someone who sticks to their roots. And when I pop up, I am hoping I can rub off on my brothas and sistas. The ones that are looking back to say -hey, how can I dwell in my old way?
You know we walk around with arrows and spears, we actually -really didn’t do that, that meant something. But I am here to show them exactly what it meant, I have the arrows and the spears, and I can explain them. From head to toe, I dress I self. From I self I design my own from needle and thread just like if we would have from way-way-way-way-way-way-way- back, we would do it ourselves. It was not the machine; it was you. So I create my own, and when I come to the park [Leimert], I want to show them what they call an ancestor. I am not an ancestor. I can explain what an ancestor is or the ancestors.
I show them an old them and get good responses, so they ask me to come back. At a time, I stayed away for a long time, and they said -Levi, won’t you come back to the park? I come to the park for that reason alone.
So you being out in Leimert Park is an expression or manifestation of ourselves throughout history in terms of ancestral practices, rituals, and ways of being?
Perfecto, bredren, exactly right.
What would you say to those thinking about coming to Leimert to be either excited about or want them to know before visiting?
Wow, brotha, LaMar, I would say come to encourage others. Come as Indigenous or Aboriginal as you can. Now Aboriginal, I am going to have to tell you bredren and sistren your really going to have to have the “abs”, eh em, to present yourself as an Aboriginal. Indigenous guy and gal is pretty much the rest of us. But the Aboriginal is original; the indigenous come after the ab guy -alright. So come as indigenous as you can. I like to be real and funny at the same time so we don’t hurt nobody’s feelings.
But when you come to Leimert, come as African or as Black or as nigga or as gully in old time as much as you can. You know what I am saying. Say if it was a seventies party, you’d come as seventies as you can, right, or eighties, you know? This is a place where we have to come with our old selves as indigenous as we can. Come with your dreadlocks, come with your nappy naps. Come with something you made up, you know, something you put together, so we can look at you. That’s our own culture anyway; when you look at our old flicks, and pictures, and paintings, you see us in the woods with our painted up selves.
We didn’t have any clothes on; we painted ourselves, haha. It was awesome like skin types, with some feathers; everybody was different, yet similar—the same with us. Come making your own. You can get a seamstress. I started off with a seamstress, but they cost too much, and I don’t handle that stuff they call money. So I started doing it myself that way I don’t have to spend that so-called money. We do it ourselves, you guys. Come dressed up swift and as beautiful as you can with all the wonderful colors you made up.
And when we see you, that’s how we greet each other. That’s another respect level there. When you come to Leimert, it’s not what you’re coming to look forward to. Your coming to add knowledge to the place, to add what was forgotten to the place. So when other people come, they’re like -whoa, then we can change the narrative, you know. We come in here with our pants sagging and got this new stuff that we didn’t even design for ourselves. Others are looking at us like -look, they’re wearing our style -they don’t have culture, [imitates European accent] -we designed that.
We all are so artistic, if that’s what you want to call ourselves. Design yo’ self and come to Leimert. Who you are is going to express through what we see. If we see you in a t-shirt, some jeans and sneakers, we already know you are coming with the old knowledge. I am saying the “old knowledge” of our forgotten selves. You come with the dreadlocks with the nap nap, and you got the beads this way and that way and got ya, copper. I mean, you don’t have to be all decked out like that. It could be something you made up, colorful, and that will express who you are.
What are you excited about for yourself in this 2021 year?
Brotha, LaMar, you said you’re Pan-African, you say you tired of the separation, you want that unity. That’s what I am excited about, that part, the unity, I think we are all wanting it. That’s what I am truly excited about. Unifying and making it, no more trying, we’re making it happen. That’s my excitement right there; our unity, it’s supposed to be “unheard of”. Others say we can’t get together. It’s hard for us, you know, to do this. I see it happening.
How can we connect and support Propfit Levi?
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