Aretha Franklin Kicks Off 27th Annual PAFF

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


Pan African Film Festival kicks off tonight

[Baldwin Hills, CA]   Celebrating its twenty-sixth year as one of the prominent platforms for independent film producers to showcase their work, the Pan African Film Festival commonly known as PAFF kicks off tonight.

Those who are regulars to PAFF already know about it’s magic.  Unfortunately, some are culturally conditioned and marginalize the event as just a “black event” or worse, “south of the 10 freeway.”  In reality, PAFF proudly boast an event featuring films and arts and crafts from the diaspora (African-Americans as well as those with African ancestry who are all over the world).  Organizers go to great lengths to make sure the venue and activities are enjoyable so that all who attend feel comfortable and safe while appreciating the cultural content that is provided.




“Love Jacked” opens the festival with the red carpet starting at 5:30pm and screening at 7:00pm.  The twelve-day festival will feature approximately 175 screenings, arts and crafts, seminars and many activities for all ages.  The venue will once again be at the Baldwin-Hills Crenshaw mall, which includes the Rave Theater.

“Babu” takes time to pose with Judith & Fred Thomas

PAFF was the brainchild of Ayuko Babu and through the years his commitment to keep the festival in the Baldwin Hills community has paid off.  Artist come from various countries and cities within the United States to take part of the festival.   Also, there is great support from the community as most screenings get sold out or near capacity.


“We started with just a concept and over the years many venues to the north and west of Baldwin Hills have pleaded for us to move, but this is our treasure and for those who really like what we have to offer they are more than welcome to make the trek and discover what most of us already know. ”  Babu


For more information on screening times please check HERE