Kenan’s last book, “There’s a Man Going ‘Round Taking Names,” was left unfinished at the time of his death in 2020. “Black Folk Could Fly” is his last book to be published. (Courtesy Image)

Literary non-profit WORDTheatre® has partnered with the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center in Leimert Park to present “Black Folk Could Fly,” a literary and musical tribute celebrating the legacy of the late southern author Randall Kenan.

This one-night-only event will take place at the arts center at 3351 West 43rd Street, Los Angeles, on Saturday, March 9, at 7:30 p.m. The reception begins at 6:30 p.m.

CG of hit show “The Bear” performed in the New York WORDTheatre® presentation of Black Folk Could Fly and is flying in for this weekend’s performance in Los Angeles. (Courtesy Photo)

Esteemed actors Tracie Thoms, Dohn Norwood, CG, and Eugene Byrd will join with student musicians from the Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center to bring to life passages of Kenan’s last published book, “Black Folks Could Fly: Selected Writings,” a collection of short stories mixing fiction and nonfiction.

Cedering Fox, WORDTheatre® Founder & Artistic Director, said, “Eighteen months ago, I was contacted by a favorite editor of mine from W.W. Norton & Company, Alane Mason, who asked if WORDTheatre would consider presenting selections from “Black Folk Could Fly.” [Randall] had died at the age of 57 from heart complications, and they were planning a posthumous publication. Considered by many ‘the Black Bard of the South,’ Randall was loved by many of the country’s finest writers, including Tayari Jones, author of “An American Marriage,” who wrote an introduction to the book.

Emmy-nominated actress of the stage and screen Tracie Thoms of “Rent” fame appeared in WORDTheatre®’s JAZZ Re-EVOLUTION, to which students from Fernando Pullum Community Arts Center were invited. This weekend, they perform side by side. (Courtesy Photo)

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“I jumped at the opportunity to create a WORDTheatre event and selected pieces for four actors to perform. We debuted at The Brooklyn Center For Fiction on September 8, 2022, and that week, The New York Times Book Review came out with a rave review featuring London Ladd’s gorgeous artwork on the cover. The event in Brooklyn was a tremendous success, and I have been eager to share this work with Los Angeles’ audiences ever since,” she said.

Kenan’s work was met with warm reception and critical acclaim throughout his career, with awards that included the Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, the John Dos Passos Prize, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In addition to appearing in shows like The Sinner, Dohn Norwood donates his time to philanthropic charities, and he is the Vice President of The T.Y.M.E. Foundation/Boys to Men Enrichment Program in South Los Angeles. (Courtesy Photo)

Across 8 published books, including his Los Angeles Times Book Award-nominated second outing, “Let the Dead Bury Their Dead,” Kenan intimately explored the theme of “Blackness.” Other intermingling literary focuses have included a wide range of topics from family, food and the South, to Eartha Kitt and Star Trek.

“I had thought about having four different voices who would each represent different aspects of Randall’s personality and could bring to life the events and personalities he so vividly depicts in his stories,” said Fox.

Eugene Byrd has over 80 film and television credits as an actor and producer. He is known for his roles in the Oscar-nominated film 8 Mile and the Emmy-nominated show Bones. (Courtesy Photo)

“There were stories that simply fascinated me and had to be shared, others that made me laugh and others that made me feel warm and fuzzy! We had such a great cast in NY that when it came time to cast the Los Angeles event, I knew who to ask! We had invited students from The Fernando Pullum Community Center to be our guests and attend JAZZ Re-EVOLUTION at The Ford this past summer. Fernando is a great trumpet player and a remarkable teacher. He invited me to hear his students play at The Catalina Jazz Club on Sunset Boulevard recently, and they were all so talented I thought that it would make for a very exciting event to bring Randall Kenan’s words and these four wonderful actors to Leimert Park and have some of his students play.”

The family-friendly event is recommended for audiences age 11 and up. To reserve tickets, visit