By Ricky Richardson, Contributing Writer
Los Angeles – Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, 8th District, and other community members and stakeholders launched Destination Crenshaw with a Ground Breaking Celebration, Saturday, February 29, 2020. This will go down in the history books as taking place on the last day of African American Heritage Month, during a leap year.
Several thousand people from all walks of life was in attendance for this historic and culturally enriching celebration on the corner of Vernon Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, along Leimert Boulevard.
Destination Crenshaw is a 1.3 mile-long outdoor people’s museum under development along Crenshaw Boulevard. The community-inspired project will use the iconic street as a canvas and anchor for public art and streetscape design. Destination Crenshaw will be built for, by, and in contributions of Black Los Angeles to the city and the world.
This is also the future site of Sankofa Park, right in the heart of iconic and thriving African American community, that is Leimert Park Village.
Sankofa Park will serve as a unique location for a community gathering and a place to host a variety of public events featuring a viewing platform that provides spectacular vistas overlooking Crenshaw Boulevard and surrounding areas.
DJ HED was on deck manning the ones and twos, spinning some old and new school tracks to the delight of all in attendance.
Adai Lamar, Program Host, KJLH, 102.3FM, Radio Free, served as Mistress of Ceremony. Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, 8th District gave a brief overview of the project and thanked the community partners, stakeholders, event sponsors SEIU, Wells Fargo and Crenshaw Business Owners, Dawah Bookshop, Dulan’s Soul Food, Crenshaw Yoga & Dance, Hartford Builders, Ken’s Wireless, LA Sentinel Newspaper, Mothers in Action and Vergees’s Palace de Bella Donna.
Rene Fisher-Mims and SHINE MAWUSI and LA Commons Puppeteers lead a procession with Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, 8th District, VIP’s, community partners and stakeholders to the location of the confetti-filled ground breaking celebration.
Entertainment was provided by a stellar line-up of Los Angeles based artists with a global fan base. The musicians consisted of Destination Crenshaw Marching Band,Terrace Martin, Alex Isley, Malaya, Six Sev, LA Commons and Lula Washington Dance Theatre. Issa Rae was a Special Guest at the event.
Several activation booths engaged and informed the crowd: Supervsn Studies x Destination Crenshaw Capsule, Sankofa Super Mall by We Love Leimert, KAOS Network, Greetings from South L.A., Academix Beat Lab and Bootcamp by Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters & 2nd Call.
Community advisory council and a team of architects from Perkins & Will came up with the overarching theme for Destination Crenshaw Project: Grow Where You Are Planted. The theme allows for exploration of the different threads shaping the community’s past, present and future.
Four nodes will anchor key elements of the community’s journey. The “IMPROVISATION” node is a nod to the late great rapper, entrepreneur, and Visionary Nipsey Hussle. This location at Crenshaw Boulevard and Slauson Avenue, celebrates resourcefulness as the positive outcome of struggle.
“FIRST”- 54th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard celebrates first person stories of significant moments and historical first that impacted the personal to the political, from local to international.
“DREAMS”- 50th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard celebrates the realm of daydreamers, the ephemeral, the seemingly impossible, and aspirations free on constraints.
“TOGETHERNESS”- 46th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard celebrates resilience of Black culture born out of togetherness that is both ancestral and an ongoing necessity.
Learn more about this exciting, historic and cultural project at www.destinationcrenshaw.la or stay connected & stay informed, follow Destination Crenshaw on all social media platforms twitter@destinationcrenshaw, instagram@destinationcrenshaw and Facebook Destination Crenshaw to stay informed about community events, arts opportunities, and construction jobs.
Destination Crenshaw Mission: to celebrate and chronicle the 300- year history and culture of Black Los Angeles, while revitalizing the neighborhood and ultimately fostering a new economic center.
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based music reviewer, writer and photographer. Contact him via: firstname.lastname@example.org