Multi-talented actress and author Kim Wayans of the Wayans entertainment family has been named as the 2010 Ambassador of the fourth annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair.
An actress, producer, director and author, Wayans — along with her husband, Kevin Knotts — is the author of the new children’s book series, “Amy Hodgepodge.” The series follows the daily challenges and triumphs of Amy, a young girl of mixed-race. The first two books in the series–“All Mixed Up!” and “Happy Birthday to Me” hit bookshelves in June 2008. At the book fair, she’ll be debuting her newest release, “Digging Up Trouble,” on the main stage of the Children’s Village, sponsored by Nestle USA.
Also, her brother Shawn (and maybe Marlon) will bring to life the cartoon characters from the “Boo Crew” series with a celebrity reading and performance at the Children’s Village as well
“We are happy to welcome back Kim Wayans as our 2010 book fair ambassador,” said founder and executive producer, Cynthia E. Exum “Every year, Kim has been a great supporter of the book fair, and I applaud her contributions and advocacy on behalf of reading and literacy in our community.”
A native of New York, Wayans began her career as a stand-up comic before getting her big break on FOX’s “In Living Color,” the groundbreaking sketch comedy show created by her brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans, and featuring brothers Damon, Shawn, and Marlon. On the show, Wayans was known for her music video parodies and for the many original characters she created such as the popular Benita (“I ain’t one to gossip, but …”) Butrell. Her other television and film credits include “In the House,” “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood,” “A Low Down Dirty Shame,” and “Juwanna Man.”
“Some of the fondest memories from my childhood were spent curled up with a good book, visiting worlds out of my reach–unlocking the imagination that would ultimately help me create a beautiful, successful and fulfilling life,” said Wayans. “The greatest gift a child can receive is the gift of literacy. I’m eternally grateful to my mother for recognizing that, and for sharing her love of reading with all of us Wayans children.”
The Leimert Park Village Book Fair will be held on Saturday, June 26, 2010 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Leimert Park on the Vision Theatre Back lot, located at 43rd Street and Degnan Boulevard. The family-oriented event is held in the heart of Leimert Park, which is considered the center of the African American arts/intellectual scene. The event is free and open to the public.
The lineup of participants at this year’s book fair include:
ON THE MAIN STAGE | The Headliners
â€¢ An Actor and a Gentleman: Louis Gossett Jr.–Hollywood royalty and one of the most-respected stage and screen actors of our time, the Oscar- and Emmy-winner is the author of “An Actor and a Gentleman” (Wiley), which recalls his 50+ years in the entertainment business.
â€¢ Douglas A. Blackmon–A journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Blackmon nabbed a Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category for his book, “Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II,” (Doubleday), a precise and eloquent work that examines a deliberate system of racial suppression and that rescues a multitude of atrocities from virtual obscurity. He calls it the “age of neo-slavery.”
â€¢ Behind the Music of Rickey Minor–the Emmy-nominated music director of the highly-rated show, “American Idol,” and now the “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” is the author of the book, “There’s No Traffic on the Extra Mile,” (Penguin) sharing his journey from South Central to center stage and spinning stories from his life in the music business into inspirational gold.
â€¢ Ishmael Reed–a literary giant, Reed is considered one of the most prominent–and yes, controversial–African-American literary figures, since Ralph Ellison. Producing a substantial body of work–fiction, poetry, essays and plays–with the consistent objective of satirizing American political, religious and literary repression, Reed has won numerous awards and prizes. Recently retired from teaching for 35 years at the University of California, Berkeley, his latest offering is “Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: The Return of the “Nigger Breakers.” (Baraka Books)
â€¢ The Kinseys–Married for more than 40 years, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey are known for their incredible collection of African-American art, books and manuscripts that document and tell the remarkable story of African Americans triumphs and struggles from 1632 to the present. They are the authors of “The Kinsey Collection,” a 155-page coffee-table book that showcases the couple’s incredible art collection, reflecting a rich cultural and historical heritage.
The Crowd Pleasers:
â€¢ Coffee Talk With a Housewife: NeNe Leakes–the reality star from Bravo’s “The Real Houswives of Atlanta” dishes from her book, “Never Make the Same Mistake Twice: Lessons on Love and Life Learned the Hard Way” (Touchstone Hardcover / Simon & Schuster), discussing her fractured childhood, abusive relationship, struggles with being a single mother, landing Mr. Right, and all the messy lessons she’s learned along the way.
â€¢ A Table Read With Donald Welch–Welch is the author of the hit stage play and novel “The Bachelorette Party” and “In My Sister’s House” (Random House), blazing his own trail to bring “real world” topics to the forefront of today’s audience.
Poetry Slamming With:
â€¢ Ruth Forman–an award-winning writer and filmmaker who appeared in the PBS series “The United States of Poetry,” brings reflections from her third volume of poetry, called “Prayers Like Shoes.”
â€¢ Taalam Acey–is one of the most sought-after spoken-word artist in the country. Acey has recorded more than a dozen spoken word CDs, and authored four books, including the award-winning memoir, “Eyes Free: The Memoir.”
CHILDREN’S VILLAGE | Children’s Main Stage
â€¢ Philana Marie Boles–will deliver the keynote address in the Children’s Village to inspire and uplift our young people. Boles is the author of “Little Divas,” (Harper Trophy) a coming-of-age novel about girls growing up, and how they deal with friendship, family, love and sex.
â€¢ The Wayans Family (Kim, Shawn … and maybe Marlon)–the Wayans will bring their zany brand of comedy to the Children’s Village. Kim will offer readings from her children’s book series, “Amy Hodgepodge,” about a multiracial girl adjusting to life in public school after years of home schooling. And Shawn will bring to life cartoon characters from the “Boo Crew” series with a celebrity reading and performance.
“With Kim Wayans as our book fair ambassador along with our stellar roster of authors–without a doubt–this year’s line up and programming is our best yet!” said Exum. “I encourage everyone to come and enjoy a day of celebrating the written word.”
Go Metro to the fourth annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair. Show your valid Metro pass or Metro rail tickets and get an additional 10 percent discount on merchandise purchased on the Vision Theatre back lot.