Inglewood marks Black History Month with family festival

By Shirley Hawkins
Contributing Writer
INGLEWOOD — The city celebrated Black History Month Feb. 24 with a family festival along Market Street.
The festival, organized by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, extended from Regent Street to Hillcrest Boulevard, with two stages offering live entertainment and guest speakers while an array of vendors sold goods and gourmet food.
“Celebrations like this one instills a sense of unity and community pride and fosters togetherness within the community,” said Inglewood program specialist Daniel Medina. “Our second annual Black History Celebration allowed us to celebrate achievements and sacrifices by African Americans who have helped shape this nation.”
The Orisha Dance Team filled the air with spirited drumming and pulsating rhythms as barefoot dancers in colorful kente cloth entertained the audience with their intricate dance steps.
The Crozier Middle School Choir also performed and Father Amde Hamilton of the Watts Prophets gave a spoken word performance.
Reginald Matthews and his children, Chloe, 3, and Benjamin, 4, greeted Princess Indigo from the Princess Indigo Palace.
“This is the first time that my kids have ever seen a princess in person that actually looks like them,” Matthews said. “I felt it was important for them to see a real, live African-American princess. It’s very rare to see a Black princess, even in these times. My kids were very excited to meet her.”
The crowd was diverse, ranging from young married couples with their children to teens and senior citizens.
A highlight of the festival was when students from area schools read their essays based on the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s essay “How Would I Like to Be Remembered?”
The essays centered around themes of self-determination, creating a better world of peace and harmony and fostering unity and togetherness.
The winners included second grader Larry Medler III from Wilder’s Preparatory Academy who was awarded $200; third grader Jair Hernandez from La Tijera Elementary who was awarded $300; seventh grader Aryah Williams from Crozier Middle School who was awarded $400; and 11th grader Kenya McCoy from City Honors International Preparatory High School who was awarded $500.
Dozens of vendor booths sold everything from colorful African garb and jewelry to hats and cocoa butter. Food trucks did a brisk business selling chicken, barbecue, pupusas, pretzels and tacos.
Wilfred Jenkins drove all the way from Pasadena to partake in the festivities.
“This family festival is beautiful,” he said, scanning the crowd. “It’s so good to see all of the smiling Black faces. This is the month we proudly come together as Black Americans to honor our ancestors and our legacy.”
‘I’m enjoying the celebration,” said Gladys Turner, who came from Hawthorne to witness the festivities. “I’m so glad I came. There was just so much to see and do. I think that Black History Month should be celebrated all year round.”
Shirley Hawkins is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers. She can be reached at