Legendary Gospel and R&B artist Aretha Franklin will kick-off the 27th annual Pan-African Film Festival. The never seen documentary which featured Franklin’s historic album – “Amazing Grace” will finally hit the big screens. Through all of the years since the 1972 concert was filmed, due to various reasons it had never been shown.
The filming will be seen tonight at 7:30pm at the Director’s Guild located on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood. The rest of PAFF’s extraordinary lineup of independent films showcasing producer’s across the diaspora will be seen at the Rave Cinemark theaters in Baldwin Hills at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza shopping complex.
A little nugget of history
Watts is a community in Los Angeles. It was always known as a place many came to call home following the migration of African-Americans moving from parts of the South. In 1965, due to feeling abuse, discrimination and the basic lack of upward mobility, some members of the community erupted and the riot which followed became known as the “Watts Riots.”
Through the years which followed the name Watts became synonymous with anything bad or negative. As Los Angeles continued to grow, African-Americans moved in greater numbers to all parts of the city. It was not uncommon to see various media reports mention any place where African-Americans lived in Los Angeles described as Watts. More specifically some reports mentioned any place south of the Santa Monica freeway as being in Watts!
Historically, that is laughable if not insulting to the many who lived in Watts and were proud citizens. The community of Watts is fairly small. The north/south boundary is Firestone (Manchester) to the north and Imperial Highway to the south. The east/west boundary is Central Avenue to the west and Alameda Street to the east.
The reason this tidbit or perspective is mentioned is many who have come to know about the famous concert Mrs. Franklin performed in debuting Amazing Grace have listed the origin as taking place in Watts. Unfortunately that is not correct. New Temple Missionary Baptist Church is at 87th Street and Broadway and was erected in 1966. That location has never been in Watts as it has always been in what is known as South Central Los Angeles.
For more information on PAFF and the 150+ screenings, click HERE