DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - When it was first announced, the Public Enemy-led concert to raise awareness about Skid Row may have raised suspicions. Would Chuck D really perform? Would anybody come? Was anybody outside Skid Row supposed to come?
The pioneering rapper did indeed headline the Jan. 15 show, and he was flanked by the other attention-generating part of Public Enemy, the massive clock-wearing Flava Flav.
See more pictures here.
The four-hour event included performances by Skid Row artists and a host of established rappers. LAPD attendance estimates varied - officers on the ground counted about 500, but an air unit reported approximately 1,500 people at the location on Gladys Street between Fifth and Sixth streets. A representative of co-organizer the Los Angeles Community Action Network estimated that, at its peak, the crowd measured "several hundred."
"I was thrilled and pleased to see so many people, especially younger people come to Skid Row to share in this experience," said Katherine McNenney, a resident of the Little Tokyo Lofts in Skid Row. "The vibe was special. I enjoyed myself. I was dancing the whole time. It was a feeling of unity. I kept thinking, when can this happen again?"
Organizers and police reported no disturbances at the event.
Event co-organizer "General" Jeff Page, who represents Skid Row on the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, wanted the happening to bridge some of the divides in the Central City.
"Skid Row is a part of the Downtown community and we want the Downtown community to be involved in our events, but they have this mental barrier that they're not welcome here," said Page. "I try to let them know that's old Skid Row. We can't build if everybody stays on the outside."