August 11, 2016 

LAWT News Service 

The historical Watts Summer Festival (WSF) an annual event which grew out of the ashes of the 1965 Watts revolt, will celebrate its 50th Anniversary Saturday, August 13 and Sunday, August 14 from 11 to 6 p.m. at Ted Watkins Park, 1335 E 103rd St, Los Angeles, CA 90002. 

 

The community is invited to come out and enjoy culture, continuous music, food and activities, including a free petting zoo, Children’s Village and more. Vendors will offer unique items and social service agencies will provide valuable on-site information of services available to residents of all ages.

 

Saturday will feature a special noon performance by the popular Bonne Musique Zydeco Band (BMZ), a six-member band specializing in the Creole music of Louisiana and east Texas.  BMZ draws upon the style of traditional Cajun and Creole musicians and the influences of the blues and New Orleans artists of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s to create a blend of music designed for dancing. BMZ has gained a strong reputation on the West Coast for bringing native Louisianans and people of all ages and cultures out to dance. The band plays at a variety of private parties and social events, community dances, cultural festivals, and local Cajun/Creole restaurants.

 

The youthful comedienne Leroya Sanford, who has been featured on the WB Network "The Young Icons" and on Disney's hit show "Shake It Up!" will also entertain those in attendance. Leroya was the only “non-adult” selected to perform Stand-Up comedy on ABC's morning show "The View." Her professional stage performances include all the top venues locally & across the country like The Hollywood Improv, The Laugh Factory, The Comedy Store, The Ice House, The Comic Strip and The Broadway Comedy Club in New York, The House of Blues in Chicago and the Las Vegas Harrah's Improv.

 

Growing from the ashes of the revolt, the Watts Summer Festival was conceived in 1966 by community members. The historic revolt was sparked by the arrest of a black motorist by California Highway Patrol officer. After nearly a week of unrest, 34 people lost their lives, more than 1,000 were injured, more than 600 buildings were damaged and many businesses were burned to the ground.

 

In 1972, the Watts Summer Festival became the first African-American organization to sponsor “Wattstax: The Living Word,” a sold-out concert at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, which became an album and made into an historic documentary. The resilience of the annual festival is a strong testament to the dedication of the late Tommy Jacquette, who served from 1968-2009.

 

The event will open with the pouring of libations in memory of those who lost their lives in the Watts Revolt.  For more information, visit www.WattsFest.org.

Category: Arts & Culture



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