This year marks the return of the philosophy that made the former Los Angeles African Marketplace and Cultural Faire a popular destination each summer, and a twice selected 1996 and 2001 member of the American Bus Association’s list of Top 100 Events in North America.
The Unity Festival will incorporate the design concept of the African Marketplace by highlighting the African Diaspora and diverse cultures where there has been an influence and impact of cultures originating in Africa. From Africa, the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, the Pacific Rim, Europe and North America the festival’s aim is to build enjoyment around the similarity of cultures based upon their African influence. The festival will incorporate the energy of the cultural faire with exhibitions and performances by placing them throughout Leimert Park Village. It is a plan designed to promote Leimert Park Village as a destination for local, national, and international tourists. The design of the Unity Festival program will emphasize the image of Leimert Park Village as a hub for African Diaspora creative industry organizations, and artists. The fine art pavilion, its African Diaspora arts and crafts commercial businesses, culinary food court, fashion fair, Pan African nations and technology exhibitions, children’s literary corner, holistic health fair, and Pan African Expo will demonstrate the global impact of Africa and African Diaspora cultures.
The month-long event began this month with the World Ministries Gospel Festival and will conclude with the Africa USA International Chamber of Commerce Trade Conference on Sept. 17.
Festivities along the way are sure to include dancing in the street, educational seminars and tours, a Caribbean Music Festival, the Cinema Africa Dark Film Festival, the African Music and Arts Festival on Labor Day Weekend, and the fourth annual Leimert Park Theater Festival produced by the Vision Theater and Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center that is open Aug. 24-Sept. 3 with performances at the Vision Theatre, Regency West, Barbara Morrison Arts Center, the Fernando Pullum Performing Arts Center, and outdoor events on the People Street Plaza located in front of the Vision Theater. All is designed to complement the existing brick and mortar arts and creative industry enterprises with the many annual festivals and events that occur in Leimert Park Village.
The Unity Festival offers some extraordinary experiences that include:
The Cinema Africa Dark African Diaspora Film Festival—Aug. 18, 19, 26, and Sept. 1
Feature Film: “Black Fatherhood: Trials and Tribulations, Testimony and Triumph”—The irresponsible Black man—it’s a dishonest stereotype that haunts fathers to this day. In this documentary by Dr. Khalid Akil White, directed by Maia Porter, fathers in every kind of parenting situation step up to prove that this image of Black fatherhood is false. Fatherhood isn’t just the triumph men feel seeing their children happy and safe—it’s about the trials and tribulations they must go through to ensure their children remain that way. These are the stories of the brave men who stepped up and created a better world for their sons and daughters.
The Leimert Park Book Fair—Aug. 19th
The 11th annual book fair celebrates the “Great Outdoors” at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. This year welcoming a line-up of best-selling authors, poets and esteemed guests, and thought-provoking and informative panels hosted on the main stage throughout the day.
Featured panel: A Discussion of Words n Rhymes “Los Angeles’ Leimert Park Poets: Using Language as Community Builder and Progressor”
Author, poet, educator and literary editor of Harriet Tubman Press, Shonda Buchanan will spearhead a panel on the Voices from Leimert Park Anthologies (published by TSEHAI Publishers, 2006; 2017) and how both books represent language’s ability to create community, coalitions, and safe spaces.
Featuring Elias Wondimu (publisher, TSEHAI Publishers), Peter J. Harris (arts organizer; author, The Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My “Unalienable Right”), V. Kali (coordinator, Leimert Park World Stage Anansi Writers Workshop; author, HYMN), Jerry Garcia (poet, photographer and filmmaker; former president of Beyond Baroque’s board of trustees in Venice, Ca.), Nailah Porter (artist, educator, lawyer and social justice activist) and Conney Williams (poet, author, “Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet”; artistic director, The World Stage and coordinator, Anansi Writers Workshop).
LA Third Church “Good Cause, Good Music,” —Wednesday night jazz concerts
Last evening LA Third Church, 4323 Leimert Blvd., hosted a tribute to The Emotions.
Wayne Vaughn presents three generations of groove – special guest Wanda Vaughn of The Emotions. Donations are $25.
Group sales are available, view website for details www.parksideedc.org.
The African Music and Arts Festival—Sept. 2-4
The World Stage Jazz Concert with Dwight Trible – Sept. 3.
Dwight Trible headlines Cosmic Vibrations with line-up of Derf Reklaw (hand drums), Breeze Smith (soundscape percussion), Christopher Garcia (percussion), John B. Williams (bass), and Pablo Calogero (woodwinds).
The World Stage is located at 4321 Degnan Blvd. (Parking available in rear of building). Admission: $20.
Organizers invite the public to support the Leimert Park Stakeholders 20/20 Vision plan to make Leimert Park Village a destination for many of our residents and tourists visiting the city of Los Angeles.