* Inglewood – Remember the name Bottom Rhyan who is an African American singer because we will get there shortly. During this time, it was a beautiful day in the City of Champions, with perfect clear blue skies and a light breeze.
The town of Inglewood celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a huge cultural festival on Saturday, September 17, 2016, on the grounds of Crozier Middle School. National Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15 through October 15, Americans recognize the contributions and significant presence of Hispanics and Latin Americans in the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture.
Hispanics have made a deep and positive influence on our country through their strong commitment to family, faith, hard work, and service. They have strengthened and shaped our national character with centuries-old traditions that reflect the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community.
Hispanic Heritage Month, with roots dating back to 1968, begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of the independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this time. (Source: National Hispanic Heritage Month website).
The Inglewood Festival was free and open to the public. Several thousand people enjoyed live bands playing Latin Jazz, Mariachi, R&B, Salsa and Corrido’s. Participants also enjoyed authentic folk ballet and Aztec dancers, a classic car show, interactive and carnival-style games, with face painting and arts and crafts activities that engaged the whole family. Various booths featured information on community resources and vendor booths, health checkups, and mouthwatering Mexican food.
Community service director for radio personality Josefa Salinas (KHHT Hot 92.3 Los Angeles) served as the emcee to introduce each group with a brief bio and made other relevant announcements from the stage.
The Mariachi Divas got engaged at the festival. This two-time Grammy Award-winning group is constantly busy performing across town, nation and around the world. The group once again wowed the crowd in two sets with the tunes “La Bomba”, “Guadalajara”, “Sabor a Mi”, “Mariachi Loco”, “Carnival”, “El Mariachi” and “Volver” as an encore. .
It does me good to see young musicians take an instrument to bring various musical genres to life. Carson’s Mariachi Academy Ernesto Molina, Mariachi Director, Rubit Escamilla, Program Manager. The Academia de Mariachi, the Association’s first program, teaches young people the history and art of traditional Mariachi music. Classes are also offered as part of an after-school program on Wednesdays at the Carson Community Center from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mariachi Academy of Carson delighted audiences to the tunes of “Que Colores,” “Relampago” “Se Me Olvido Otra Vez ”in honor of the late great music icon Juan Gabriel. The group continued with “El Rey” and the popular “Viva Mexico” which the band members sang with glee.
Macias Ballet Folklorico is a cultural institution in the town of Inglewood. Countless dancers have taken traditional folk dance lessons from Mr. Daniel Macias over the years. The Ballet Folklorico de Macias returned to show off their skills, choreographing in vibrant and colorful clothing while performing dances representing several regions of Mexico.
City officials welcomed everyone to the splendid cultural celebration. In attendance were Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts, Councilor George Dotson, District 1, Councilor Alex Padilla, District 2, Councilor Eloy Morales, District 3, Councilor Ralph L. Franklin , District 4, Police Chief Fronterotta, Former Assembly Member Steven Bradford, Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles and other city officials. City officials presented a proclamation and award to Inglewood Pride Becky G. Becky G delivered an autobiographical speech that was both inspiring and uplifting to her adoring fans who gathered near the stage. Becky G also signed autographs and posed for selfies with fans.
The surprise highlight of the festival was El Compa Negro’s energetic and entertaining set with Los Mas Poderosos. Bottom Rhyan is the leader of the group. He’s an African-American singer, straight out of Compton, who sings corrido’s with the best of them. He won 3rd Place on Tengo Talento, Mas Talento, a popular TV show similar to American Got Talent. His 3rd place served as recognition and validation that he is the real deal. Consider the fact that he received wide positive media coverage in the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Telemundo, La Opinion and other respective media. You can see him performing popular corrido on the various videos posted on YouTube to find out what is causing the buzz about this talented young man.
Singer Bradio was another surprise success of the festival. His solo performance was entertaining with many humorous lyrics that captivated the crowd. Trophies were presented to the participants of the classic car show. It was a joy to see the vintage cars on display by members of the Los Angeles Times Car Club, Classic Lowriders Car Club, Stylistic Car Club, Dukes Car Club and Westside Original Car Club.
The Bob DeSena Latin Jazz Band was the headliner to close another successful Hispanic Heritage Month festival. Their set swung with the pungent sounds of Latin jazz classics and standards. Their set included the tunes “Afro Blue”, “Mambo Inn”, “Stormy” from Classic 4, made popular by Carlos Santana. They continued with “Little Sunflower” by Freddie Hubbard and concluded their set with a culinary version of “Soul Sauce (wachi wara), by the late Cal Tjader. The band consisted of Bob DeSena, vibes, bongos, trumpet and bugle, Iliana Rose, keyboards (full LA based leader), Dwayne Augustine, bass, Rolando Mendoza, congas and Rafael Feliciano on timpani. Bob DeSena has released three highly acclaimed CDs After midnight all that Latin jazz and Go to Latin Jazz Street.
A good time was spent by all the participants. Visit www.hispanicheritagemonth.org for more information and to find events celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in your community to share this special annual tribute by learning and celebrating the generations of Hispanics and Latin Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and our society. .
Ricky Richardson is a writer, music critic and photographer based in Southern California. Contact him via: [email protected]