I feel like I represent Leimert Park and Los Angeles when I get on stage or speak on behalf of my life as an artist. People want to know “where do you come from” and “where did you learn your craft”? So, when George Kossek invited me to read at the Blues & Jazz Poetic Café inaugural event, I felt obliged to anoint it with that Leimert Park soul. A.K. Toney was there, and so was Barbara Morrison and Chester Whitmore on October 3, 2018. The event was representative of what jazz and blues have become in this country, mostly people who grew up in environments very much different than the origins of jazz and blues. We welcomed them in Lemeirt Park, those whose hearts and spirits have sojourned to commune with brothers and sisters in spirit.
There is so much healing to do in the world, and I am so glad to participate in the conversation and in creating a sacred space everyone can feel comfortable in to be themselves. The American art forms created by the descendants of Africans need resuscitation. These art forms need another infusion of their African blood line. I look forward to the day that the voluntary immigrants coming from Africa add their voice to jazz and blues in the tradition of Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba. Renga for the West made me hopeful of that.