Room on the road for bike route to Watts

Can I get a lane? More than 200 people took to their bikes for the Ride to Love.


An East Side Riders member shows off his biker vest. | S. Monte

Lowriders, fixies, and three wheelers all shared the road Saturday during the bike Ride for Love in Watts.

It was “a time to be free in your community,” said Fred Buggs, President of the East Side Riders Bike Club. More than 200 cyclists of all ages cruised from Ted Watkins Park to the Watts Towers, resting at a few notable intersections and pit stops along the way. The event was organized by East Side Riders, Los Riders, United Riders bicycle clubs, and C.I.C.L.E working in collaboration.

People outside their homes and walking along the sidewalks waved and cheered as riders passed through neighborhoods at a steady 5 mph. Many drivers honked and smiled. [Read more…]

Kizomba, a seductive Afro-Caribbean dance, arrives in South LA

Instructor Rome David dances Kizomba with a student during class. | Photo by Anna-Cat Brigida

Instructor Rome David dances Kizomba with a student during class. | Photo by Anna-Cat Brigida

The sound of pulsing music and Portuguese lyrics blares out to the sidewalk outside Vanessa’s Positive Dance Studio on Monday nights in South L.A. Couples press close together, attempting to move as one unit, as they review new steps, with leaders signaling their partners to move forward or backward with just the slightest movement of the chest.

The students are learning Kizomba, a partner dance that originated in Angola, spread to Europe and has now taken hold in Los Angeles. The dance combines African rhythms with the sensual passion of Semba, a dance that originated in Angola and gave birth to Argentine Tango and Brazilian Samba.

“It’s a very sensual dance and really allows you to connect with your partner,” said Felicia Mello, who started learning Kizomba about a year ago. “It has an elegance to it that is different than some of the faster dances. That’s the beauty of it.”

[Read more…]

‘City of God’ revisited at Pan African Film Festival in South LA

Carla Osorio, Brazilian Producer, City of God -- Ten Years Later with friend, Yaw F.L. Davis, Founding Director of the Pan African Technical Association | Tiffany Walton

Carla Osorio, producer of City of God-Ten Years Later poses with a friend, Yaw F.L. Davis, Founding Director of the Pan African Technical Association. | Tiffany Walton

Rio de Janeiro has always made a splash as a travel destination, but when the 2002 feature film City of God made its way onto the big screens in Brazil and internationally, the world saw a different perspective of this tropical locale.

Movies with predominately Black casts were rarely seen. And the drug crime and violence taking place in Rio’s slums, or favelas, were elements that tourists often had no idea existed. [Read more…]

Russell Simmons urges South LA teens to ‘Keep the Peace’

Russel Simmons urges students to take a peace pledge at Dorsey High School. | Maddy Ewles

Russell Simmons urges students to take a peace pledge at Dorsey High School. | Madeline Ewles

By Madeline Ewles | Annenberg Radio News

Russell Simmons, founder of Def Jam Recordings, is known for making noise in the hip-hop scene. But at Dorsey High School in South L.A. on Wednesday, he urged students to be quiet in a four-minute meditation.

“I’m here to talk about peace,” Simmons told the group. “The groups that you join, the activities that you choose — they are part of being peaceful.”

Such choices are especially important during times of racial and political turmoil, he said, such as the response to the police shootings of Black men in Ferguson, New York and Los Angeles. His mission is to instill a pledge among young people — a pledge to “keep the peace” and stay away from violence. [Read more…]

Suge Knight pleads not guilty to murder

Marion 'Suge' Knight faces the judge at his arraignment in Compton's L.A. Superior Court. | Pool/Paul Beck, EPA

Marion ‘Suge’ Knight faces the judge at his arraignment in Compton’s L.A. Superior Court. | Courtesy of Paul Buck, EPA/Pool

Marion “Suge” Knight, 49, pleaded not guilty today to all charges stemming from a fatal hit-and-run committed in Compton last week.

The rap mogul, who appeared at a Compton courthouse this morning, denied the charges for murder, attempted murder and hit-and-run that the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office filed Monday.

During the hearing, Knight appeared calm and collected, politely addressing the judge’s questions. Afterwards, he was rushed to the hospital, where the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said he would undergo “treatment and evaluation.”

Knight is accused of deliberately running over Terry Carter, 55, and Cle “Bone” Sloan, 51, in the parking lot of a Compton burger joint on Thursday afternoon after an argument during the filming of Straight Out of Compton, a biopic about rap group NWA. Carter died in the incident, while Sloan was hospitalized for his injuries. [Read more…]

South LA barbershops buzz with camaraderie and culture


Sammy Ross is friend and counselor as well as hair-trimmer at Magnificent Brother. | Sarah Zahedi

The traditional barbershop is known for fostering conversation and camaraderie. With many of these shops closing, two barber shops in South Los Angeles are striving to keep that tradition alive.

Magnificent Brothers No. 1 Barber Shop
4267 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles

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Magnificent Dunbar Hotel extends performance run to Dec. 28

Dunbar Hotel in 1928 | DWP

Dunbar Hotel in 1928 | DWP

The Dunbar Hotel was not just any hotel, as suggested by the title of the Robey Theatre Company’s extended production “The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel” — it was a cultural hub where Black writers, singers and actors gathered in Los Angeles during the 1930s and 1940s.

The play written by Levy Lee Simon and directed by Ben Guillory introduces the audience to this world of luxury on Central Avenue that harbored Black leaders and performers from the Jim Crow laws that prohibited them from staying elsewhere.

“Informative and engaging, this underappreciated chapter of our local history is portrayed with panache and grace,” Philip Brandes said in his L.A. Times review. [Read more…]

Photos: Thousands take to South LA streets for CicLAvia 2014

From Leimert Park to Central Avenue last Sunday, bikers took over Martin Luther King Boulevard, enjoying the mild weather, live music and food from local businesses. Check out our snapshots of the day:

Q&A: Daniel Miller on ‘Finding Marlowe’ in South LA

An undated family photo at Samuel B. Marlowe's grave in Inglewood. | screenshot

Samuel B. Marlowe (top left) appears in an undated family photo placed at his grave in Inglewood. | screenshot from

The two most famous detectives of classic noir literature – Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe — just may have been inspired by the first Black private investigator licensed west of the Mississippi River – Samuel B. Marlowe. That’s according to a former Hollywood executive who brought Marlowe’s story to Los Angeles Times reporter Daniel Miller. In “Finding Marlowe” published last month, Miller attempts to trace just how much this Black private eye living in South Los Angeles in the mid-20th century shadowed lives throughout Hollywood.  [Read more…]

LA moves closer to legalizing street vending

By Emily Goldberg

Vendors at the Los Angeles Street Vendors Campaign rally chant "Si se puede." | Emily Goldberg

Vendors at the Los Angeles Street Vendors Campaign rally chant “Si se puede” as councilmen Jose Huizar and Curren Price take to the lectern.| Emily Goldberg

Street-side bacon-wrapped hotdog carts arguably contribute to L.A.’s identity just as much as its traffic and celebrity sightings. Although the delicious service that street vendors provide has remained illegal throughout the city, that may soon change.

In its meeting Tuesday, the Economic Development Committee approved a framework for citywide street vending regulations, moving the long awaited policy goal one step closer to completion. The framework outlines the tasks and responsibilities of several city departments including the Bureau of Street Services and the Los Angeles Police Department.

“I agree with my colleagues that this plan, as we would say in Sacramento, is not cooked yet,” said councilman Gilbert Cedillo. “But …this is an idea whose time as come. This process of legalization is a process that cannot be stopped.”

See also: South LA street cooks could soon go legit [Read more…]