Kim Coles and Freda Payne Honored at the African American Heritage Month Kickoff Celebration in Los Angeles

 Everyone is aware that February marks the annual celebration of African American Heritage Month in the City of Angeles. Los Angeles has greatly benefited from the presence and culture of African Americans who have called this city home.

Councilwoman Heather Hutt, Freda Payne, Charmaine Jefferson, Mamie Hansberry, Kim Coles, Dr. Harry Elam, Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr., and Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

By Ricky Richardson | Contributing Writer

        (Los Angeles, CA) What a glorious and joyous day in the City of Angels. The spotlight shined brightly in Los Angeles on Friday, February 2, 2024. One could persuasively debate that every day is a glorious and joyous day in Los Angeles. 

        Everyone is aware that February marks the annual celebration of African American Heritage Month in the City of Angeles. Los Angeles has greatly benefited from the presence and culture of African Americans who have called this city home.

        The City of Los Angeles and Our Authors Study Club, Inc. partnered to present a momentous celebration of African American Heritage Month inside City Hall Council Chambers.

        Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued a statement recognizing African American History Month in Los Angeles.

        “As Black History Month begins, we celebrate and honor the legacy of the Black community in Los Angeles and across the country.

        “We have much to celebrate in the economic, cultural, political and artistic contributions of Black Angelenos, whose efforts continue to change the American landscape. From Biddy Mason, who sued for her freedom and became a prominent citizen and landowner in Los Angeles in 1850s and 1860s, to historian Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Black History Month, to Tom Bradley, Los Angeles’ first Black mayor, who brought the Summer Olympics to L.A. 40 years ago, America’s past, present and potential future have been profoundly shaped by Black leaders.

        “As we celebrate Black History Month, let us honor the legacy of resilience and entrepreneurship within the African American community by supporting Black-owned businesses throughout the city, including the vibrant neighborhoods of View Park-Windsor Hills, Gramercy Park, Leimert Park, Manchester Square and Arleta. Their success is the city’s success, and by uplifting these businesses, we enrich the entire fabric of Los Angeles.

        “However, even in Los Angeles, we still face challenges, including acts of hate and violence directed at African Americans. Los Angeles and the nation must stand together to speak against hate and declare unequivocally: These acts are wrong. They are un-American. And they must stop.

        “The City of Los Angeles will continue to honor the history made by the Black Americans in the African American community and the good and necessary work to achieve racial justice and equity within the city.”

        The African American Heritage Month Kickoff Celebration is a highly anticipated event for several reasons. The event honors remarkable individuals, who have made significant contributions in media, entertainment, arts, academia, business, medicine, government, and the non-profit sector.

        This was a memorable occasion filled with joy and appreciation for the rich African American heritage. 

        Another reason was the distribution of the African American Heritage Month Guide. This highly sought after guide list of momentous events taking place throughout the greater Los Angeles area. This beautiful keepsake guide features amazing artwork, poetry and other valuable resources.

        The Association for the Study of African American Life and History’s national theme for 2024 is African Americans and the Arts.

Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Councilwoman Heather Hutt, Freda Payne and Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, Dr. Lura Daniels-Ball, President, Our Authors Study club, Inc. (OASC); Paul Krekorian, Los Angeles City Council President, Councilman, Second District; Margueece Harris-Dawson, President Pro Tempore, Los Angeles City Councilman, Eight District; Curren D. Price, Jr., Councilman, Ninth District; Heather Hutt, Councilwoman Tenth District; Board of Public Works President Pro Tempore Mike Davis and Board of Public Works; the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA); The 2024 OASC African American Heritage Month Honorary Chair Danny Bakewell, Jr.,  Executive Vice President, The Bakewell Company; the 2024 OASC African American History Month Committee were joined in the City Hall Council Chambers with honorees, guests and diverse attendees. The Council Chambers were buzzing with excitement and energy for the return of the celebration to its in-person format. 

Councilwoman Heather Hutt, Councilman Marqueece Harris- Dawson, Dr. Elaine Batchlor and Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        The 2024 Living Legends Honorees were Dr. Harry Elam- the esteemed President of Occidental College who has been recognized nationally for his impactful work within higher education circles. His visionary leadership style focusing on inclusivity and diversity initiatives across campuses nationwide.

        Charmaine Jefferson- Owner, Kélan Resources, and Chair of the Board of Trustees at California Institute of Arts. Charmaine Jefferson exemplifies excellence within academia through her relentless pursuit of fostering creative expression among students from diverse backgrounds.

Honoree Mamie Hansberry- civil rights activists and an esteemed visual artist whose work speaks volumes.

Dr. Elaine Batchlor, CEO, Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Healthcare. Dr. Batchlor is recognized for extraordinary achievements within the field of health, driven by compassion and unwavering dedication towards providing equitable healthcare access for all communities served by her hospital system.

        Freda Payne- a renowned vocalist, actress and author whose talent continues to captivate audiences worldwide. Freda Payne mentioned several upcoming tour dates across the nation.

Kim Coles, Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, and Councilman Curren D. Price, Jr. (Photo by Ricky Richardson)

        The final prominent figure receiving recognition was Kim Coles- an accomplished actress known for her comedic prowess.

        It comes as no surprise that this event and the stellar lineup of honorees left an indelible mark on attendees’ hearts.

        Everyone is invited to celebrate and commemorate the remarkable contributions and impact of African Americans have made to this great city, known as one of the largest and most diverse cities in the nation. At your leisure visit and/or to view the 2024 African American Heritage Month Guide and to find out about other activities happening throughout the greater Los Angeles area.