LA kicks off African-American Heritage Month with Dionne Warwick

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Singer Dionne Warwick joined city officials and residents to kick off the celebration of LA's African-American Heritage Month. (KABC)

February is a special month for the African-American community. Time is set aside in schools, libraries and events to remember history involving the incredible contributions made by those often overlooked just because of the color of their skin.

Crowned "Little Miss African-American," Crystal Campbell sang Dionne Warwick's favorite song, "What the World Needs Now Is Love," to Warwick at a special event in downtown Los Angeles.

The singing legend was honored Wednesday as this year's Living Legend to kick off February's African-American Heritage Month and the city's own program this month.

Warwick said, "It's an incredible honor at any given point in time but first of all, the city of Los Angeles - I mean, give me a break here."

For more than 50 years, the songstress has contributed to the music and entertainment industry. And she seemed tickled pink to be serenaded by all of her own hits.

Eyewitness News anchor Leslie Sykes acted as mistress of ceremonies at the event.

Another effort to share those accomplishments was the unveiling of a special stamp by the U.S. Postal Service honoring the late Lena Horne - a jazz singer, dancer, actress and civil rights activist.

At age 16, Horne was singing and dancing at the famed Cotton Club in Harlem. Two musicians at the club at the time were Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington.

It's that kind of history, attendees hope during Black History Month, that can make an impression on those growing up now.

They hope the stamps, the lectures and the focus on icons and legends within the African-American community will educate.

Chlorita Walton from Pico-Fairfax agrees, "A lot of kids in our community, they're not aware of our history."

Barbara Madison added, "We want them to be aware of where we have been and how far we've come."

Both of these women agree, it's still not far enough and only education will push the younger generation to strive for more.

At the end of the event, Warwick joined the women on the outdoor stage singing "That's What Friends Are For" - a duet she recorded in the '80s with Elton John, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder.
Related Topics:
community-eventsblack historyblack history monthAfrican AmericansLos Angeles
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