Jam Day 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

So, yeah…today I attended the Jazz component of UCLA’s renowned, well-attended Jazz and Reggae Day concerts every Memorial Day weekend. Called Jam Day, the event was headlined by acts centering on a neo-soul, pan-Afro connection, such as Erykah Badu, De La Soul, Ayo, as well as contemporary indie hip-hop groups, such as People under the Stairs. Despite its vague Afro connection, and in true LA polyglot fashion, the event was attended and enjoyed by people of all walks, creeds, races, ethnicities, colors, genders and classes – a true a cross-sectional symphony of Angelinos.

As one would expect, with our excellent, celebrated summer climate finally starting to kick in, the event was packed…literally teeming with people! Long lines pretty much characterized this event; be it lines for restrooms, food, or even entering and departing. Still, lines couldn’t hamper the positive, laid-back vibes that our city is known for. I was, however, surprised (well, not really) at the sheer number of Blacks present. Wow! In a city once on the verge of joining the ranks of Baltimore, Detroit, Newark, New Orleans and Washington DC as a “chocolate city”, but now better known for its black flight and unnerved, split Black community, this was truly a sight to see. Sadly, I was even more surprised that the usual violence/feuding/riff-raff that unfortunately tends to be hallmarks of large Black gatherings were absent. For once, even if only for a day, the city was bound together in harmony; civility at last.

Anyways, on to the venue itself. I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It excelled in just about every aspect and regard. The people watching and ensuing people shooting were stellar, especially with the relaxed, mind-bogglingly diverse crowd out. To no surprise, lots of typical Southland cuties; and of course, our highest grossing and most prolific, export, marijuana were both present. The food was excellent, with vendors hawking all sorts of Diaspora cuisine; Philadelphia, Louisiana, Mississippi, Jamaica, Haiti, Belize, etc, were all present in the culinary spectrum. Personally, I feasted on a hearty Philly cheese steak sandwich. The music delivered, as well. De La Soul and Erykah Badu were on fire. Though, my only gripe with Ms.Badu was that she played some of her newer material – much to the audience’s chagrin. Truth be told, sorry, but the newer stuff doesn’t, or can’t hold candle to the older, neo-soul classics such as Mama’s Gun. Nonetheless, some classics were played, and she didn’t drop the ball after all – something we had expected her to do (well, she did afterall commence the performance with an unknown song). Anyways, what made the show especially good and hospitable, was the company. While in the company and presence of great people such as my mom and aunt, but also esteemed friend and fellow blogger, Daniel, one is bound to have a good time.

sup kristina


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