Los Angeles – A large diverse, multicultural crowd of book worms, authors, and bibliophiles assembled inside the cozy, intimate abode of the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The occasion was the 13th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair, Saturday, August 24, 2019.
The Leimert Park Village Book Fair is considered one of the top 5 book festivals in Southern California. It comes as no surprise, considering how the organizers consistently attracts a variety of celebrity authors for the book fair. It is well known that the Leimert Park Village Book Fair is committed to promoting reading and literacy in an entertaining, engaging and informative way that benefits the entire community.
“We Do This for the Culture: Celebrating Our Collective Culture,” was the theme for this year’s event. The Main Stage featured table-talk discussions on topics relevant to the African American community.
Laila Ali served as 2109 Book Fair Ambassador for the 13th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Laila Ali is a world-class athlete, fitness and wellness advocate, TV personality and home chef. Laila Ali currently host Emmy-Award winning show “Home Made Simple” which airs every Saturday on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Laila Ali is a four- time undefeated boxing world champion, whose stellar record includes 24 wins—that is 21 of which were “knockouts”, with zero losses. Laila Ali is heralded as the most successful female in the history of women’s boxing.
Laila Ali was greeted by a contingent of reporters upon her arrival. She posed for photos in front of the huge book fair promotional billboard that bears her picture.
Laila Ali strolled through the book fair like royalty, meeting and greeting all the authors gathered near the Food Court. Her many fans were able to greet and take photos on the Red Carpet across from the Main Stage, near Macy’s Bridge.
Merissa Wells, (Wave Newspapers writer), engaged in a humorous conversation with Laila Ali. The Q&A section was just as fun and hilarious. Laila Ali was surprised and excited to meet with one of her former teachers.
Laila Ali was present to promote her latest cookbook “Food for Life: Delicious & Healthy Comfort Food from My Table to Yours” as well her own line of seasonings. Visit www.lailaali.com if you missed this awesome event. This cookbook and seasonings are a great addition with the upcoming NFL Football season, the upcoming Holidays and all special occasions where family and friends gather.
The next segment of the program was entitled “In the Kitchen with Laila Ali.” Laila Ali got down in the pop-up kitchen provided by Southern California Gas Company. Laila Ali prepared two delicious dishes from her cookbook: Louisiana style Jambalaya and a very tasty Edamame Succotash. I overheard several people state that they don’t like succotash, but this recipe was great as samples were passed around.
The cooking demonstration was followed by a book signing and photo op with Laila Ali. Additional highlights from the 13th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair consisted of a powerful Panel Discussion entitled “Black Student Power: Community, Engagement and Activism.”
The panel featured Vandalena Mahoney, Makeen Yasar, Megan Castillo and David Turner. Stefan M. Bradley, Chairperson, Department of African American Studies at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles served as Moderator. Mr. Stefan M. Bradley is also the author of the critically acclaimed book “Upending the Ivory Tower: civil Rights, Black Power and the Ivy League.”
One on One with Authors- Trisha R. Thomas “Nappily Ever After (Now a Netflix Film) and Michael Datcher, “Americus” discussed their latest projects before a captivated crowd.
“Beating the Odds’ was enlightening and an interesting Q&A discussion with Remi Adeleke, author of “Transformed: A Navy SEAL’s Unlikely Journey.”
Followed the Leimert Park Village on the internet www.leimertparkbookfair.com and on Social Media Platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LeimertParkBF
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer.