39th Annual Kingdom Day Parade in Los Angeles

Angelenos all over the greater Los Angeles area celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, over the weekend. Carson, Gardena and Long Beach held events on Saturday, January 13, 2024.

Princess Tiana, (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

By Ricky Richardson | Contributing Writer

        (Los Angeles, CA) Angelenos all over the greater Los Angeles area celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, over the weekend. Carson, Gardena and Long Beach held events on Saturday, January 13, 2024.

        All eyes were on the 39th Annual Kingdom Day Parade, Monday, January 15, 2024. This year’s celebration was held on Dr. King’s birthday. Dr. King would have been 95 years old on this day. 

        It is no wonder that people return each year for the nation’s largest and best celebration of Dr. King’s life and legacy. Thousands lined the parade route on a picture perfect, beautiful day in sunny, Southern California. The diverse, multicultural crowd came from near and far to view the parade in person. Several million viewers were able to see the parade broadcast live on Disney/ABC 7. The theme for this year’s parade was “Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop Going To The Promised Land.”  

        The crowd were entertained and thrilled by the multiple entries in the parade, from marching bands, musical and dance performances, community groups and colorful floats, to name a few. 

Los Angeles Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell was Grand Marshal for the parade. In a statement “Today, I am honored to serve as Grand Marshal for the 39th Annual Martin Luther King Parade in South LA. As we continue to work to make Dr. King’s dream real, let us keep his words in mind: Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, Los Angeles City Councilmembers, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, elected officials and on air news personalities participated in the parade. On a separate note, Congresswoman Barbara Lee received a major endorsement from Martin Luther King III, humanitarian and the son of famed civil rights leader, activist, and reverend Martin Luther King Jr. The announcement was made on the day that the nation commemorates Martin Luther King Jr., life and legacy.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee, (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        Kids were in for a special treat. Disneyland had a huge procession in the parade. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, as well as Princess Tiana and over 200 Disney employees delighted parade goers. The parade featured the first ever King and Queen riding in a horse drawn carriage.

        The annual Freedom Festival was held in Leimert Park after the parade. The Freedom Festival was a daylong celebration and call to activism. Talented performers from the community entertained a captivated crowd on Degnan, in the heart of the African American community-Leimert Park Village.

        Freedom Festival was hosted by Los Angeles City Council Pro Tempore Marqueece Harris-Dawson, (District 8), Councilmember Curren D. Price (The New 9th), and Heather Hutt (District 10), in partnership with Sole Folks, Project Pit, KDAY, KBLA 1580, Destination Crenshaw, Community Coalition, KJLH Radio Free, and Ward Economic Development Corporation. Community Coalition hosted an engaging, interactive gallery space with an “Invitation to Organize.

        Neekko served as Emcee on the Main Stage. DJ Linafornia was on deck, holding down the control boards of the ones and twos, while spreading the festivities with some positive vibes.

Ron C, (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        Saxophonist Ron C was awesome, performing a couple of original tracks. He concluded his crowd pleasing set with audience participation on Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday to You.”

        Students from Hillcrest Drive Elementary School were next to shine in the spotlight. Under the direction of Ms. Bone, they performed “Vision” a great song for the Martin Luther King Jr, celebration, as it speaks to hope for the future. They continued their set with “Wade in the Water, followed by a great arrangement of “Living For The City” by Stevie Wonder. The group concluded their set with “Energy” a very inspiring and uplifting song to the delight of their parents and the audience.

        KJLH Radio Free 102.3 FM Street Team Members Jay Bo and DJ Dash rocked the stage for the next segment of the program. They invited some special guests onstage. Brandon Allen dropped three powerful, thought-provoking spoken word pieces that really resonated with the crowd. The pieces were relevant and timely.

        Skylar Raye had the crowd grooving with her throughout her set as she showcased her vocal styling on ‘Let’s Stay Together,” “What’s Going On,” “At Last,” and “Before I Let Go.”

        Bruno Sanchez (Power 106 FM) and DJ Crossfade (KDAY 93.5) cranked it up a bit, as the party shifted into a higher gear with some additional high octane performances.

        I had to leave for another commitment. I headed home to be able to view the final NFL game from the long Super Wild Card weekend. If you don’t know, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the defending NFC Champions Philadelphia Eagles 32-9.

        Lula Washington Dance Studio, Crenshaw High School Ensemble, Jazzy Rita and Black Obsydyan were scheduled to perform at Freedom Festival.