Reveling in the arts in an atmosphere of family and community unity, the Summer Watts Festival celebrates its 28th edition, beginning Friday.
Borrowing from a holiday called Kwanzaa developed by Maulana Karenga, chairman of the black studies department at Cal State Long Beach, this year’s theme is “Family, Community and Culture.”
“We thought that it was appropriate for the times and for a recommitment to the family and culture,” said Tommy Jacquette, who has been executive director of the festival for 26 years.
The three-day event will feature art exhibits, films, fashion shows, music, poetry and workshops. The jazz-laced Watts Prophets, who performed at
the first festival, head a list of national and local musical acts. R&B-inflected; rap group Immature and the College Boys as well as blues giant Harmonica Fats will perform in concerts scheduled at 4 each afternoon.
After the last fire was put out along Charcoal Alley in 1965, the first summer festival surfaced in August, 1966, to honor the 34 who died in the civil disturbances that erupted along a six-block stretch of 103rd Street.
Watts Summer Festival, Friday through Aug. 14, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Lanzit Site, 111th Place; free; (213) 789-7304.