In the wake of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, an extraordinary group of artists and musicians create an underground arts movement and transform a community. Intimate and compelling, “Leimert Park” is a universal tale of the struggles and triumphs of artists everywhere and of the power and importance of art and music in our lives.
In April 1992, Richard Fulton, a formerly homeless man who had been living on Los Angeles’ skid row, opened Fifth Street Dick’s coffeehouse in the South Central Los Angeles neighborhood of Leimert Park. A few days later, the 1992 Los Angeles riots broke out. For five days and five nights, a group of dedicated merchants and artists stood guard to protect their village from the fires that raged through the streets of South Central Los Angeles.
Richard’s coffeehouse soon became a gathering spot for the community, and ultimately sparked a remarkable underground renaissance of African-American art and culture. Leimert Park became a stopover for world-class jazz musicians who might drop in to jam until 3 or 4 in the morning. The sidewalks overflowed with people of all ages and races absorbing the jazz, hip-hop, blues and spoken-word poetry performed in the park and various music venues.
Told through the powerful words, art and music of the community, this film articulates and celebrates the profound struggles and deep spirit of the extraordinary artists and musicians who transformed a few blocks of modest storefronts into a vibrant and inspiring cultural oasis. Intimate and compelling, Leimert Park is a universal tale of the struggles and triumphs of artists everywhere and of the power and importance of art and music in our lives.
All net proceeds from the distribution of this film are slated to go back to the community to support the arts and culture.
Interviews and Performances by
Kamau Daáood · Richard Fulton · Billy Higgins · Horace Tapscott
Brian Breye, Ben Caldwell, Nzingha Camara, Michael Datcher,
Dale Davis, Tim Leimert, John Outterbridge, Ramsess,
Dwight Trible, Lady Walquer Vereen, Busdriver & Rhymin Riddlore
Produced and Directed by
Director of Photography
Beth Spiegel and Jeannette Lindsay
Additional Music by
Horace Tapscott, Derf Reklaw and Fuasi Abdul-Khaliq
Funded in part by a grant from the Pardee Foundation and the Grisham Foundation
With special thanks to Oakwood School and Headmaster James Alan Astman for their support