Common to launch Black History Month at area mall

Wave Staff and Wire Reports

CULVER CITY — Grammy-winning recording artist Common will headline the inaugural Black History Month celebration at Westfield Culver City at 3 p.m. Feb. 3.

Common will make an appearance at Malik Books on the second floor of the mall, located at 6000 Sepulveda Blvd.

He will share personal anecdotes and secrets to self-care from his new health and wellness book, “And Then We Rise: A Guide to Loving and Taking Care of Self.”

Culver City Mayor Yasmine-Imani McMorrin, the city’s first African-American woman to hold that office, will deliver welcome remarks and greet attendees in recognition of Black History Month.  

To register for the special meet-and-greet with Common, visit The month-long celebration at the mall is free and open to the public.

“At Westfield Culver City, we are proud to host our first Black History Month celebration,” said General Manager Amir-Reza Zad. “This month-long event will not only honor the impactful contributions of African-American individuals but also strengthen the bonds within our community. 

“We look forward to creating shared experiences, fostering understanding and celebrating the diverse tapestry that makes Westfield Culver City a vibrant hub for cultural appreciation and unity,” Zad added.

Common has achieved success in many facets of his career, from music to acting to writing. Currently, he can be seen in Apple TV+’s new sci-fi drama “Silo,” which is based on Hugh Howey’s best-selling trilogy. But for a long time, he said he didn’t feel that he had found fulfillment in his body and spirit. 

“And Then We Rise” is about Common’s journey to wellness as a vital element of his success. A testimony to the benefits of self-care, the book is composed of four different sections, each with its important lessons. “The Food” focuses on nutrition. “The Body” focuses on fitness. “The Mind” focuses on mental health. And “The Soul” focuses on spiritual well-being.

“At Malik Books, we are dedicated to showcasing African-American literature that celebrates cultural diversity and pride as well as providing a space for [the] voices of people of color that are often underrepresented in mainstream bookstores,” said Malik Muhammad, owner of Malik Books. “We are delighted to collaborate with Westfield Culver City for its inaugural Black History Month celebration in partnership with the Leimert Park Village Book Fair, which sets a tone consistent with this year’s 2024 Black History Month theme of recognizing ‘African Americans and the Arts’ that focuses on the impact and contributions of African Americans in the arts and the influence of Black culture.”

Other highlights of African American Heritage Month at Westfield Culver City include:

• A book giveaway , sponsored by Malik Books, featuring titles for kids, young adults and adult book lovers.

• Storytelling and a musical performance by artist Kori Withers, the daughter of Bill Withers and author of “Grandma’s Hands.”

• A book discussion with C. Georgina C., author of “LIZZY: The Elizabeth Keckley Story, From Slavery to Being America’s First Couturier.”

Recitals by poets Theresa tha S.O.N.G.B.I.R.D and Shonda Buchanan.

• A special drumming and dance performance by local favorite SHINE Muwasi Women’s African Drum Circle.

Entertainment and musical grooves from the Charles Trio jazz band, plus, giveaways, prizes, food samples and more.

As a lead-in to Black History Month, the Los Angeles City Council is expccted Jan. 26 to initiate the process of designating five properties representing some of the city’s African American history as historical-cultural monuments.

The council postponed action on the motion Jan. 24, agreeing to hold the motion until the next meeting.

If approved, the motion would instruct the Department of City Planning to prepare applications for review and consideration by the Cultural Heritage Commission.

The properties are located the northeast San Fernando Valley, Central and South Los Angeles.

Last year, Councilwoman Heather Hutt, who represents the 10th District, co-introduced the motion with Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who represents the Seventh District. Councilmen Marqueece-Harris Dawson and Curren Price, who represent the Eighth and Ninth Districts, respectively, seconded the proposal.

As part of the project, a 15-member advisory committee identified five locations and recommended the buildings be included as historical-cultural landmarks. They include:

• The Tom and Ethel Bradley residence at 3807 Welland Ave. in the 10th District, the home of the late Tom Bradley, the first Black mayor of Los Angeles, who served in the office for 20 years.

• Jewel’s Catch One at 4067 W. Pico Blvd., in the 10th District, one of the first Black-owned LGBT dance clubs in the nation, founded by Jewel Thais-Williams in 1972.

• The California Eagle Office at 4071-4075 S. Central Ave., in the Ninth District, which was home to the California Eagle, the oldest African American newspaper in the city, founded by publisher Charlotta Bass, who is believed to be the first African American women to own and operate a newspaper in the United States.

• The First African Methodist Episcopal Church at 2270 S. Harvard Blvd., in the Eighth District, which was designed by famed Black architect Paul R. Williams, and founded in 1872 by Biddy Mason, a former enslaved women who sued for her freedom and later garnered wealth through real estate.

• And StylesVille Beauty & Barbershop at 13161 Van Nuys Blvd. in Pacoima, in the Seventh District, one of the oldest Black barbershops and beauty salons in the San Fernando Valley.

The council members aim to highlight the “diversity and richness” of the African American experience in the city, and increase the number of city landmarks that uplift African American history.

There are approximately 1,290 landmarks in the city, and only about 4% of those reflect associations with the African American community, officials said.

To rectify the inequity, the Planning Department’s Office of Historic Resources launched African American Historic Places, Los Angeles, a multi-year partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute.

The partnership is intended to expand the city’s historic preservation framework for African American history, develop cultural preservation strategies for the city’s three historically African American neighborhoods, and advance representation in the preservation field.