This year Hip-Hop turns 50 and although block parties appear to be a modern and popular concept, community gatherings date back to 20th century in New York during the genre’s inception. According to Mr. Porter, the block party invented Hip-Hop.
“In 1918, New Yorkers mounted block-based get-togethers to commemorate residents who’s gone to fight in World War I. By the 1960s, the migration of West Indian and Hispanic immigrants to New York had created communities whose block parties celebrated their own cultural identities – which, of course, led to the celebration of new music, and the creation of new sounds.”
Now in the 21st century from East to West, block parties bring communities together to enjoy each other’s cultures with food, music, and artistic offerings. On Sunday, August 3, the neighborhood of West Adams celebrated their fourth block party hosted by Stella Georgia and presented by KCRW 89.9 FM.
The free, all ages event featured two stages of musical performances, art installations, local vendors, food trucks, and a kid’s zone with curated educational and sports programming experiences.
West Adams is one of the most densely populated areas in Los Angeles with some of the youngest residents, median age 28, with a 38% Black presence, and is known for community murals and street art. Black families began moving to the area after the largest Black-owned insurance company opened on W. Adams Blvd. and Western in 1949.
With music, laughter, and shared experiences, block parties remind us that we are not just residents of a street but members of a close-knit family, capable of making positive changes throughout the neighborhood.
Stella Georgia is a full-service production company specializing in permits, design, merchandising, and large-scale events. The company is rooted in L.A. and has the functionality of a nationwide company by operating independently in all metropolitan cities.
Their collaboration with KCRW and Serene Agency resulted in the fourth installation of the block party that included over 15 local vendors and 25 impressive musical acts promoting positivity and unity.
Upon arrival attendees could experience a school bus art installation that housed a basketball court as a part of the kid’s zone, further down the block were a variety of food options from pupusas, burgers, catfish, to Jamaican food, cobblers, and $5 pizza slices from sponsor Delicious Pizza.
The West Adams Beer Garden featured Black-owned brewery company Crowns & Hops. The DJ at the second stage drew hundreds of dancers and curated a vibe throughout the event, while vendors from all over L.A. County rounded out the party selling clothes, accessories, and home goods.
Performances at the main stage by Hip-Hop legend Rakim, BLVK H3RO, and Mumu Fresh excited the crowd and kept the event high energy. Inglewood native and event closer D Smoke, a truly unique artist, rapped in English and Spanish while expressing his connection to the city during his set.
Inspiring others to close the culture gap through art, D Smoke was the perfect artist to highlight the block parties’ mission and purpose in the community.
Follow West Adams Block Party on Instagram for upcoming events and community updates at West Adams Block Party (@westadamsblockparty).