By Ricky Richardson | Contributing Writer
(Los Angeles, Ca.) – A lot of community love was in the air as it hovered over the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza upper parking lot. The occasion was the 9th iteration of outdoor community arts festivals in celebration of the Getty Center’s 25th Anniversary, Saturday and Sunday, August 13-14, 2022, at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, Southeast Upper Deck.
Throughout the summer, across Los Angeles, the Getty Center’s 25th Anniversary celebrations featured festival that consisted of community arts workshops, live music, food trucks, and much more that engages the whole family.
These two-day festivals featured curated experiences reflective of each community including interactive workshops, live music and performances, an artisan marketplace, food trucks, giveaways, photo booth, and more. Getty was on-site with an immersive digital experience of its collections, hands-on library, gift shop, and resources for Getty’s job, volunteer and internship opportunities.
A large diverse, multicultural crowd from various ethnic communities, that make Los Angeles a vibrant, thriving melting pot, participated in the non-ticketed public festivals held in various neighborhoods.
The ninth stop of the celebration allowed attendees to immerse themselves in the rich culture, art, and history of LA’s Black Arts District at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza with program direction by Crenshaw Creative®, powered by Getty 25 and produced by CARS. Attendees heard stories of elders, participated in hands-on workshops, and discovered a rapidly growing community of artists.
Crenshaw Remembers (How to Love) a free arts and wellness family festival celebrated the memories of the Crenshaw District while providing its memory keepers the tools to heal from within.
Artists, advisors, builders, and cultural strategist joined forces to form Crenshaw Creative® and partnered with the Getty for Crenshaw Remembers in celebration of the Getty Center’s 25th Anniversary.
Some of the Crenshaw District favorite musical acts were on the line-up. These stellar musicians help to cement the area as a cultural hub of the African American community.
DJ Nameless was on deck of the ones and twos, playing a soulful soundtrack that had the party people dancing in the parking lot throughout the afternoon.
Medusa and Verbs, are two respected and highly regarded hip-hop artists in their own right. They served as Master of Ceremonies for the festival both days. Medusa gifted the crowd with some freestyle lyrics on both days of the festivities. Congresswomen Diane E. Watson (Retired) was also in attendance to enjoy both days of the festival.
S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi blessed the Earth and the four directions, and led the crowd in honoring our ancestors and our beloved relatives, friends and icons from the community who have transitioned. The group cranked it up to entertain the crowd with a high-octane drumming and dancing of West Africa.
Shelley Bruce performed several relevant and timely spoken word pieces “I’m Not a Ghost,” “Life Study #44,” and “Light Seed.”
Lula Washington Youth Dance Ensemble enthralled the crowd as they brilliantly performed dance routines to “Life Every Voice and Sing” choreographed by Lula Washington, “Nature Boy” choreographed by Tamica Washington Miller, Self-Personal Work, choreographed by Danny Guerrero, Mask (Etude), choreographed by Lula Washington, performed by Vuong Nguyen, ‘1619″ choreographed and performed by Zeri, and The Global Village, choreographed by Lula Washington.
A captivated set was performed by Hugh Augustine as he entertained with a fluid flow of lyrics “Untouchable,” “Roll a Blunt,” “Rap Money,” “Programmed,” “Taste of It,” and “Party Flavors.”
A colorful, somber and celebratory “Remember Our Ancestors: Procession of Masks, circled the perimeter of the festival grounds.
Utopia presents; DJ Adé B2B KG Superstar to lay down a global soundtrack of beats from the diaspora to propel the crowd to move and groove.
Ashley Wilkerson shared a coupled of wonderful spoken pieces entitled “Brown Hands,” and “Brown Hands,” with music, “He,” and “Good.”
The show concluded on Saturday with a phenomenal experience, a performance of jazz by the Pan African People Arkestra. This tight community band thrilled the crowd with superb compositions by Jesse Sharp “Macramé,” “The Goat & The RamJam,” “Desert Fairy Princess,” and concluded their set with “Mike’s Tune.”
Sunday, day two of the celebration featured DJ Smiley manning the ones and twos. Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center Jazz Band got the live performances underway with wonderful arrangements of “R U Chicken,” “Red Clay,” “Too High,” “Human Nature,” and “Before I Let Go.” Ronnie Heard III lead the band on this particular gig.
Dwight Trible, a jazz legend of Leimert Park, is keeping the jazz torch lit as Executive Director of The World Stage. He performed “Afro Blue,” “Little Sunflower,” “Backlash Blues,” and “You Gotta Have Freedom.” The band consisted of Dwight Trible-vocals, Jamael Dean-keyboards, Jillian Lopez-harp, Jeffrey Littleton-bass, and Greg Paul-drums.
Linafornia & the Prizmatics lit up the proceedings with an awesome sampling of beats (jazz, hip-hop, funk, soul, afrobeat, and house), as The Prizmatics improvised along with the beats. The Prizmatics featured Sammy Perez-guitar, David Otis-saxophones, and Greg Paul-drums.
Funmilola Fagbamila recited a wonderful spoken word piece entitled “Woke Black Folk” that can be viewed on YouTube at your leisure.
Fandangobon featuring Le Ballet Dembaya, Quetzal & Great Leap. This was a very exciting collaboration as they took the crowd on a fantastic musical journey through Africa, Mexico and Japan. Jahana Blunt opened the set with instructions and performance of dances from Mali, accompanied by drumming to the rhythms of Djensa. Martha Gonzalez led the attendees through Veracruz, with a popular Son Jarocho, “La Bamba” while performing on a tarima for Fandango, the tradition context of Son Jarocho. Nobuku Miyamoto led the audience to Japan as they learned the dance and lyrics to “Mattainai,” and “Bambutsu,” aided by musicians playing traditional instruments from Japan.
Back by popular demand, Utopia presents: DJ Adé B2B RG Superstar. DJ Battlecat & The GFunk All-Stars with Georgia Anne Muldrow capped of the celebration with an explosion of musical fireworks.