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Groovin’ at the Obama Boulevard Naming Ceremony and Street Festival (PHOTOS)

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Congresswomen Karen Bass

Barack Obama Boulevard Naming Ceremony & Street Festival Entrance: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

*Los Angeles – Saturday, May 4, 2019 is one for the history books. A massive, multi-cultural, diverse crowd gathered on Rodeo Road where Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard intersects, for a day long music festival and President Barack Obama Naming Ceremony. Ain’t no party like a west coast party!

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson was joined by Los Angeles Urban League President and CEO Matthew Lawson and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti to officially unveil Obama Boulevard in honor of America’s 44th President of the United States of America.

This day consisted of a free day long music and street festival. It was a pleasure to view a sea of people wearing President Obama gear-buttons, caps, scarves, t-shirts, sweatshirts etc. Multi-generation of family members were present for this historic occasion. People from all walks of life, races and cultures were in attendance.

Council President Herb Wesson: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Elaine, Rick, Jasmine and Kim Kingi: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Singer Randy Newman got it right when he penned the tune “I Love L.A.” The location selected for the ceremony is where Obama Boulevard will intersect with Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in one of Los Angeles’ most iconic Black neighborhoods-creating one of the most significant African-American points of interest in the country. Los Angeles City Officials gave residents and the world another reason to LOVE L.A!

This was a picture-perfect day, neither too hot nor cold, just pleasant with a slight breeze. As I sat down to write, the lyrics for “Groovin” by War sibilated throughout my mind. Sibilate, that’s a word that you don’t hear often.

The gates to the celebrations opened at 12 noon. DJ QwestCoast provided the musical soundtrack for the festivities. Radio Personality Kevin Nash served as Master of Ceremony.

DJ QwuestCoast: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Kevin Nash: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Katalyst Collective is a ten-piece band from Inglewood, California, who opened the show with a set of original tunes to set the tone for the rest of the day.

Singer, songwriter, guitarist Mark Noxx from Sacramento delighted the crowd during his time in the spotlight. Jai is a sensational, 14-year-old talented singer. He wowed the crowd with his vocal stylings on the classic tunes “What’s Going On,” by Marvin Gaye and “Change is Gonna Come,” by Sam Cooke.

Jai: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Youth who are making a difference in the community was well represented and recognized during the program. Thandie Abdullah, co-founder of The Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard, and other members of the group, spoke eloquently about the organization. Ms. Abdullah was named among Times Magazines 25 Most Influential Teens of 2018.

Thandiwe Abdullah and Black Lives Matter Youth Vanguard: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Michael Boyer II, aka- VERBS dropped some positive lyrics to the delight of the crowd. T-Lyons is a young rapper from New Orleans delivered and uplifting set of original tunes “We Gonna Make It,” and “Come Smile with Me.” This is additional proof of a young man making a difference in the community.

VERBS: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

T-Lyons: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Council President Herb Wesson welcomed Dignitaries from the Local, State and Federal levels of Government onstage for remarks. Several Mayors or representatives from surrounding cities were also present. Congresswomen Karen Bass gave a powerful speech that resonated with the crowd.

Council President Herb Wesson, Congresswomen Karen Bass and other Elected Officials: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Radio Personality Dominique DiPrima, 102.3 FM, RadioFree, KJLH took over as Mistress of Ceremony for the second half of the show. Gavilyn a Latin American hip hop artist rocked the proceedings with a set of original tunes. Music royalty was in the house. Alex Isley is the daughter of Ernie Isley, and the niece of the legendary group Isley Brothers. The crowd and I were vibing with her on the tunes “About Him,” “La Brea,” and “We’ll Always Have Paris.”

Dominique DiPrima: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Gavilyn: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Alex Isley: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The next segment of the program featured an electric, energetic performances that consisted of DJ Tee holding it down of the ones and twos, followed by DJ Battlecat manning the boards for Kurupt.

DJ Battlecat and Kurupt: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

                YO YO came up next for a powerful performance and to showcase several young up and coming hip hip artists who are fast making a name for themselves, which was apparent in the warm welcomed they received from the audience. BJ The Chicago Kid was another highlight of the music festival.

YO YO: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

BJ The Chicago Kid: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Keisha Renee a contestant on The Voice, showcased her country/soulful vocal styling on tune original songs “I Hope You dance and “Let’s Get Away,” from her latest EP The Road Less Travelled.

Keisha Renee: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Bishop Charles Blake, Presiding Bishop COGIC recited the Invocation and Blessing of Obama Boulevard, onstage alongside Council President Herb Wesson and his wife Fabian and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Fabian Wesson, Herb Wesson, Bishop Charles Blake and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The Spotlight shifted over to a smaller platform for the unveiling of the Obama Boulevard sign. “The renaming of Rodeo Boulevard to Obama Boulevard represents a truly historic day for our city and country” Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson, said in a statement. He went on to state, “With this change, we are publicly documenting what Obama’s legacy as our nation’s first black President means to our city and our South Los Angeles community. For every child who will drive down this street and see the President’s name, this will serve as a physical reminder that no goal is out of reach and that no dream is too big.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said, “In this moment of political tumult on the national level, it’s important to take stock of the tremendous accomplishment that Barack Obama’s presidency.” “His ascent to our nation’s office represents, in some ways, the fulfillment of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s dream, spoken about on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial more than 55 years ago.”

Los Angeles Urban League President and CEO Matthew Lawson read a letter from President Barack Obama expressing his heartfelt appreciations thanks to the City of Los Angeles for this wonderful naming occasion.

Council President Herb Wesson, State Senator Maria Elena Durazo, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles Urban League President and CEO Matthew Lawson participated in the President Barack Obama sign unveiling.

President Barack Obama Boulevard Sign Unveiling: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The focus reverted over to the Main Stage as Sheila E graced the stage to perform a classic hit, “Gonna Have a Funky Good Time.”

Doug E. Fresh: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Beat Box King Doug E. Fresh aided by Chill Will and Barry Bon the ones and twos closed out this amazing, magnificent and historic event on a rousing note.

Stevie Wonder appeared on stage just when we thought that the show was over. He was greeted by a thunderous round of applause.

Obama Boulevard replaced Rodeo Boulevard, a 3.5 miles stretch of road that runs from “Hearth of Screenland” better known as Culver City, to Mid-City Los Angeles, passing by the legendary Dorsey High School and communities of Baldwin Hills and Rancho Cienega Sports Center and Park-2007 site of a rally for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama near the beginning of his historic presidential campaign.

With the addition of Barack Obama Boulevard in America’s second largest city, President’s Row is officially established in Los Angeles including nearby George Washington Boulevard, Adams Boulevard and Thomas Jefferson Boulevard. Approximately 100 street signs will be replaced with the new Obama Boulevard sign.

The unveiling ceremony was organized through a partnership between Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson—who introduced and carried the legislation to rename Rodeo Boulevard to Obama Boulevard, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Los Angeles Urban League which is currently led by longtime Obama supporter Michael Lawson (President and CEO), Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Congresswomen Karen Bass.

The event was produced by Bridge Street, which recently produced the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Mountaintop Speech in Memphis.

Check out a video of the ceremony on this site www.eurweb.com/2019/05/05/los-angeles-renames-3-5-stretch-of-rodeo-road-to-president-barack-obama-boulevard-video

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]

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EUR Review: Javon Johnson’s ‘STILL’ – A Captivating Lesson in Blackness

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Javon Johnson
Javon Johnson

Javon Johnson – Photo by Jeff Lorch

*This past week I had the pleasure of watching “Still,” a spoken-word piece starring Javon Johnson and filmed by Playhouse Live.

Still can best be described as a novella brought to life as Javon elegantly shares a number of personal stories from his perspective as a Black man with topics ranging from manhood, toxic masculinity, the American justice system, gentrification, hope and despair, and so on.

Standing in the middle of a stage looking out upon empty auditorium seats, Javon undauntedly showcases his raw talent; effortlessly bringing the same emotion and energy that is desired from a performer if surrounded by a full audience. Javon is truly captivating in his cadence and narrative topics.

If asked to choose which topics stood out most to me, I would be hard-pressed to do so. The sequence “cuz he’s black, a lesson in proper sentence construction, and on healthy masculinity” really resonated.  The latter of which was especially enthralling as Javon poetically explained how the world forces Black men to be a in constant state of war and peace.

As a Black man, I could relate to this and his descriptions of the many conflicts he faced in his adolescent years. Here is a truly engaging storyteller.  Javon paints a picture that brings to mind many of my own experiences when individuals would attempt to test me. It is encouraging to hear someone else share their experiences and struggles with balancing blackness in masculinity.

Still is a fascinating piece of art well worth taking the time to watch it. Javon Johnson’s “Still” performance can be rented through PlayhouseLive for $19.99 and is available through November 1, 2020.  After the initial purchase, Stillcan be watched on any of the PlayhouseLive apps including Apple OS, Android OS, Roku, FireTV and more. Closed captioning will be available in both English and Spanish. 

MORE NEWS: The Pulse of Entertainment: Sought After Singer Charles Martin Goes Solo Again with Single ‘Truth’

Javon Johnson

Javon Johnson – Photo by Jeff Lorch

About PlayhouseLive
PlayhouseLive is a first-of-its-kind digital streaming platform for nonprofit theaters. Powered by Pasadena Playhouse, PlayhouseLive’s “theater on demand” hosts fully realized cinema-quality productions filmed in high definition on stage specifically for the digital platform. It takes online theatrical performances beyond Zoom readings and interpretations to full scale productions for viewers around the world to enjoy. Distribution channels include a standalone website, iPhone and Android apps, AppleTV, Amazon FireTV, Roku, Chromecast, and AirPlay, among others.

In addition to theater on demand, PlayhouseLive programming will include staged readings, and cabarets, as well as original series, documentaries, and theater classes. It is a home for a wide array of theatrical voices through new and revisited work.  Additional information about PlayhouseLive and its programming, including new announcements and pricing specials, are available at www.playhouselive.org

EURweb.com, Everything Urban & Radioscope (formerly The Electronic Urban Report) Covering the Culture since 1997.

David Anthony EURweb 20201006_231339

David Anthony is new on the EURweb team. Covering the culture since 1997. Contact David: [email protected]

David Anthony is a new graduate of Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government.  A self-designated history buff and random fact finder, David could rattle your ear for hours with information. Born and raised in the City of Angels he is a huge fan of the city’s culture and hometown NBA team, the L.A. Clippers. A future attorney, businessman, and civil servant, he hopes to be an impactful individual in life.  Contact David: [email protected]

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Revolt Announces New Social Justice Documentary ‘From Pain to Power’ (Trailer)

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From Pain to Power preview from EURweb on Vimeo.

*REVOLT is behind a new captivating documentary that takes a close look at the passionate struggle for social equality happening today, and the robust grassroots efforts propelling the movement forward. “From Pain to Power: A REVOLT Special” will premiere on Monday, Oct. 26.

“From Pain to Power: A REVOLT Special” spotlights the fight for social justice, starting at the March on Washington and spreading to the streets of Kentucky, Atlanta, and beyond. The film features intimate interviews with some of the most well-known celebrities and activists at the forefront of the social justice battle including Tip”T.I.” Harris, Tamika Mallory, Mysonne, Ben Crump, Drumma Boy, Shabazz the OG, Dr. Frank Smith, Ms. Opal Lee, Linda Sarsour, Bridgett Floyd, Lonita Baker, Angela Williams, and Mothers of the Movement: Kadiatou Diallo, Thelma Pannell-Dantzler, Sybrina Fulton, Wanda Johnson, Maria Hamilton, Gwenn Carr, and Tamika Palmer.

“Our resilience as Black people in America after centuries of oppression is nothing short of remarkable,” says activist Tamika Mallory. “We need to continue to archive our brilliance, our power and yes, even our pain, and REVOLT TV is the platform for our full stories.”

“We are honored that REVOLT saw that this is a critical moment in African American and civil rights history, and with T.I. leading the charge, this should be shown to the world,” says Steve Raze and Mac Mills, executive producers and CEOs of AGA Agency.

“After months of mass protests in the streets demanding social justice – and now a presidential election just weeks away – it’s obvious that we’re at a historic crossroads where systemic change is not only possible, but critically necessary,” says Detavio Samuels, Chief Operating Office at REVOLT. “From Pain to Power not only documents this moment in time, but charts our next steps forward. We couldn’t be any prouder to premiere this program on REVOLT.”

Watch the trailer above.

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Man Hoses Neighbor For Berating Another Neighbor Over Her Black Lives Matter Flag (Watch)

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1D725791-8281-40EB-AE3D-B74D35CBEFA2_1_201_a

Ian Doherty of Austin, TX sprays his neighbor for yelling at another neighbor over her Black Lives Matter sign

*Video of a southwest Austin man spraying a woman with a hose after she berated another neighbor for having a Black Lives Matter flag in her yard has gone viral.

Ian Doherty told the local NBC affiliate that he was standing up to a bully during the Oct. 7 incident. He, along with multiple neighbors, heard the woman screaming about the flag and saying “white lives matter” during the altercation. The argument lasted about 30 minutes, Doherty said.

Doherty said he went outside and asked the woman to stop yelling at his neighbor. That’s when she started snapping at him. Ten minutes later, he said he got the hose and sprinkler out. Videos shot by neighbors show him first threatening to spray her, hoping she would leave. It only prompted her to walk on his lawn and try to grab it. That’s when he got to spraying.

As the video shows, the more she kept coming, the more he sprayed her – to the point where she kept slipping on the curb in her attempts to stop him.

The video originally posted on Facebook and Reddit has been viewed over 8 million times on TikTok, has more than 15,000 upvotes on Reddit and more than 72,000 views on Facebook.

Watch below:

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TV Calendar: Coming to Small Screens

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