Sheila E.
Sheila E. (Courtesy photo)

The Los Angeles United School District (LAUSD) held a benefit concert called “We Are One” featuring performances by students, famous alumni and Grammy-winning entertainers.

“We Are One” was held at the Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, which is also a presenter of the event. It began with a red carpeted arrival of some of the notable alumni such as Academy Award-winning actress Patricia Arquette (“CSI”) and her brother David Arquette (“Scream”), actress Mindy Cohn (“Facts of Life”) and actor Richard Lawson (“All My Children”). All were hosts of the benefit concert.

“I have been giving back ever since I was a kid . . . I’ve run a drug program for the NBA. My wife (Tina Knowles) and I have our own foundation,” said Lawson (“Dirty Harry”), a Vietnam veteran, when asked about how he gives back to the community.

“I’ve been doing theater in the community all over the country, so it’s really been my life’s work.”

The benefit concert had students from different school perform what seemed to be cultural style dances including African, Mexican and Asian.

Professional performers included Grammy-nominated drummer Sheila E. with Grammy-winning Pete Escovedo, Grammy-winning Judith Hill, known for singing with Michael Jackson on “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” and Grammy-winning Siedah Garrett who wrote the MJ hit “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.”

Watching the kids perform so passionately in their cultures’ style was so inspiring to me and I know it was to the audience made up of different races. Judith performed with Los Angeles students backing her which always had my about to cry. Siedah was so funny when telling the details of how and why she wrote the two selections she performed — uplifting us all in love.

The “We Are One” benefit concert funds will go to benefit the Arts Education Branch to expand its arts efforts.

“I’ve struggled with bullying all of my life,” said LAUSD student Nandi Hildebrand. “I feel kids need to be encouraged especially by our fellow classmates. We should be supporting each other; we should be building each other.”

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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