By Sentinel News Service
In its fifth annual Black History Month celebration, Forest Lawn—Hollywood Hills presents An Evening of Gospel, Jazz, and Blues, a one-night-only evening of music, dance, and spoken word celebrating the broad spectrum of Black history and culture. The spectacular event on February 2, 2019, produced by Mychal Henry of MjDD Production Studio and Life Empowerment Church, includes an impressive lineup of choirs, soloists, musicians, comedians, African dancers, and poets hailing from San Bernardino to Riverside and up and down Los Angeles. The event is free and open to the public and also offers receptions with refreshments.
An Evening of Gospel, Jazz, and Blues celebrates the distinctive sounds of black music and the roots of jazz and blues within gospel music and the Church, as well as the stories the elements of each genre of music tell. Featured performers Janice Freeman of NBC’s The Voice and powerhouse comedian Carl Six Foota Slimm will headline performances of Umoja African dance by Makeda Kumasi; music and vocals by the MjDD Inland Empire Band, GMWA Gospel Choir of the Inland Empire with director Dansby Sturdivant II, Thokoza All Nations African Choir San Bernardino, Valerie Geason, Louis Mosely,Scottie Pierce, Rickey Vivey, Maudie Wilson, and saxophone by Donald Hayes, who is fresh off touring and recording with Robin Thicke; a skit by Jeanie Gaines; spoken word and solo by celebrated vocalist Phalia Louder; emcee Tifani Hanley; and keynote remarks by Reverend Henry Horsely.
An Evening of Gospel, Jazz, and Blues features performances of music and spoken word by some of the most important names in Black culture, including Louie Armstrong, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Andraé Crouch, George Duke, Earth Wind & Fire, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mahalia Jackson, Michael Jackson, Prince, Otis Redding, and Maya Angelou. The event continues a five-year tradition of Black History Month celebrations at Forest Lawn, which bring the vitality of Black culture to life through community gathering, sound, and celebration.
“It is an honor to present this fifth-annual commemoration of the rich black culture that surrounds us in Los Angeles and is vital to the American experience,” said Rodolfo Saenz, Forest Lawn’s Senior Vice President, Marketing. “This year’s performances will make for a remarkable event and continue Forest Lawn’s tradition of community celebration.”
“Gospel, jazz, and blues each have their own definition, character, and expression, but they all tell a story particular to the black community,” said event producer Mychal Henry. “It is thrilling to see the music come to life and the diverse sounds of African culture expressed in one event. It is only because of the talented performers who represent the authenticity of the Black community that we are able to do so.”
An Evening of Gospel, Jazz, and Blues takes place on Saturday, February 2, 2019, from 6:30–9:00 PM, inside the Hall of Liberty at Forest Lawn—Hollywood Hills, 6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90068. Doors open for a pre-show reception at 6:30 PM. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis and will begin at 6:00 PM. Admission and parking are FREE. Visit www.forestlawn.com for more information.
This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel.