by Tricia Cochée and Clarence Eziokwu Washington
The full-day celebration of music and history will also include an Allensworth Trading Post with food, arts and crafts vendors, exhibitors and children’s activities. The “Scat to Rap” Family Music Festival is a fundraiser for the emancipated youth − youth aging out of the foster care system − of Los Angeles, Tulare and Kern Counties with proceeds to go towards their financial benefit.
The general admission ticket price is $15 if providing your own transportation, $30 with a vanpool or $45 with a charter bus. Vanpools and charter buses in Los Angeles will be leaving the Leimert Park parking lot adjacent to 4329 Degnan promptly at 8:30 a.m. For attendees from Northern California, Amtrak has a direct stop in Allensworth. Call the WE CAN office for further details at (323) 293-9845.
Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/162407, at Bless-Ed Love located on 1404 West Vernon Ave., Los Angeles 90062 or at Ackee Bamboo Jamaican Cuisine, 4305 Degnan Boulevard, Los Angeles 90008.
Clarence Eziokwu Washington, CEO of the WE CAN Foundation, encourages all in the community to come out and support the intergenerational “Scat to Rap” Music Festival: “Remember, not only does it take a village to raise a child, it also takes a community to invest in a child. So let’s all participate by purchasing a ticket or sponsoring a youth to attend the festival.”
From be-bop to doo-wop to “conscious hip-hop,” the “Scat to Rap” Family Music Festival will include the wide spectrum of the African American musical legacy and continuum, including gospel, blues, reggae, spoken word and oral history narratives. It will indeed be a family affair that bridges the generation gap.
Allensworth was the first African American township independently owned and financially self-sustained by pioneering African Americans. Founded in 1908, it has been preserved and designated a state historical site. Washington says, “This concept of self-sufficiency, as practiced by the early settlers of Allensworth, directly ties into our vision for the economic self-sufficiency of the emancipated youth of Los Angeles.”
President Barack Obama on April 28, 2011, declared the month of May National Foster Care Month, noting: “Nearly a half-million children and youth are in foster care in America, all entering the system through no fault of their own. During National Foster Care Month, we recognize the promise of children and youth in foster care as well as former foster youth. We also celebrate the professionals and foster parents who demonstrate the depth and kindness of the human heart … Unfortunately, too many foster youth reach the age at which they must leave foster care and enter adulthood without the support of a permanent family.”
Every year, an estimated 20,000 youths emancipate or “age out” of the foster care system across the country and are discharged from the system, regardless of whether or not they are able to transition into adulthood. Around 25 percent of these youth live in California.
As these emancipated youth leave foster care, research suggests that they encounter a set of problems that makes their transition into adulthood extremely challenging and are impacted by the lack of support systems in place to assist them. For instance, in California, 65 percent of emancipated youth leave foster care without a place to live. In addition, in Los Angeles and Alameda counties, 50 percent of emancipated youth will be homeless within six months after release from foster care. Finally, a revealing study showed that emancipated youth earned an average of $6,000 per year, well below the national poverty line of $7,890.
WE CAN Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that was founded in 1996 by Michel McLaughlin and Clarence Eziokwu Washington with the primary objective of empowering, through education, those communities that are educationally challenged and economically underserved.
As a culturally relevant historical site, Allensworth has been the site of other successful events and scholarship fundraisers hosted by the WE-CAN Foundation, including the Allensworth Blues Festival, Building the Community with Young Scholars and the Allensworth Gospel Festival.
Continuing in that success, the first annual Allensworth “Scat to Rap” Family Music Festival will achieve three main objectives for the sponsors and organizers:
· Raise funds to assist emancipated youth.
- Pay homage to the legacy of African American musicians, whose lyrics of racial pride and freedom throughout the years still exert a major influence on today’s youth, particularly the disenfranchised.
- Increase awareness of Allensworth State Historical Park as the first African American township established in California.
For additional vendor or volunteer information or for overnight camping arrangements, call WE CAN Foundation at (323) 293-9845 or Kimberly and Robert Garcia at (323) 292-5214 and visit http://doo-wop2hiphop.com.
Blues guitarist Teddy Lee Hooker grew up from age 5 at the knee of John Lee Hooker, who was then married to his older sister, Freda, and who bought him his first guitar. He’ll be on stage at the Allensworth Scat to Rap Festival Sept. 10. For the rest of the amazing lineup of entertainers, literally from scat to rap, check http://doo-wop2hiphop.com.
This is another multi-generational musical family, Nas and his dad. Don’t miss the video describing the Scat to Rap Festival at Allensworth, California’s first Black town, on Sept. 10. That video features many more of the artists you’ll meet there live.