Mardi Gras spirit infuses Hub City
COMPTON—Last weekend the city of Compton rolled out the red carpet to residents and visitors from other communities, as it hosted its annual Mardi Gras festival at Wilson Park. The event drew crowds of celebrants, and featured rides and games as well as 20 vendors, including Harold and Belle’s, Sony Pictures — which was promoting the upcoming “Battle Los Angeles” — Sam Perkins Sausage and Ben King’s Catfish.
The festivities included a parade that began at the VFW post and included nonprofit organizations, dignitaries and bands from Compton High School, Washington Prep and Dominguez High. The event didn’t just include residents from Compton. Queen Mother Kathy Hollis of the Red Hatters of Long Beach said the group came “to see how they roll in Compton, and I’m loving it already.”
One of the main attractions of this event was the first annual Battle of the Bands, featuring the bands that participated in the parade competing against each other for the initial title. Glenda Peete, who was supervising the Compton High School band, responded to a question of whether there was a lot of trash talk among the competitors this way: “Well now, the city is named Compton, and the school of Compton does represent the city. We don’t need home field advantage, but yeah.”
The Compton band has 60 members, the dance team has four and the flag team has two. The cheerleaders were also in attendance and, according to Glenda, they were “ready to do their thing, as they usually do.”
The first round was eventful, featuring great music and incredible dancing, but through a vote of the crowd, it was Compton and Dominguez that moved forward into the finals, each band wowing the audience with musical numbers and individual dance performances. In the end, on a split vote, Compton High School took home the top prize in the Battle of the Bands.
Next there was a talent event featuring local performers, including dance group Stage Presence. “Our goal is to move the group into a studio and teach dance to anyone who has the interest,” said Shantana Tripp, the group’s founder. Stage Presence also includes members Sheena Wallace, Kelli Ross, Anesha Muhammed, Kiondra Brown, Asha Franklin, Sierra Waeker and Tasheena Jefferson.
The events were hosted by a pair of celebrities, as Scruncho and Henry Coleman were on hand, to stir up the crowd and provide a few laughs along the way. Scruncho said that there was amazing talent performing, and that he was honored to have the opportunity to be a part of the event on Saturday.
Henry Coleman added, “Compton is flourishing with talent.” Judging from the enthusiastic response of the crowd, local residents seem to agree.