Tribute to  Nelson Mandela
       LOS ANGELES MEMORIAL COLISEUM
     Frid. June 29, 1990
AMANDALA Belize
Friday July 20, 1990, 

Nelson Mandela in L.A.
 Los Angeles, Fri. June 29, 1990
---Kenny Morgan

The temperature had cooled off from midday high of 88 degrees Fahrenheit to a mild 71 degrees when the gates were opened and the crowds began to pour into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, site of the 1984 Olympic Games and now the venue for yet another important historical event.

This time however, the atmosphere was charged with electricity far exceeding that generated by any sports or entertainment figure on this or any continent. In fact, spotted in the capacity audience were such biggies as Mr. L.A. himself, Irvin “Magic” Johnson, Dionne Warwick, and Quincy Jones, to name a few. Along with folks from every possible walk of life, these and many more stars were out paying tribute to a genuine legend, a bonafide hero, and a man on a mission. The mission was and is to gain worldwide support for the A.N.C., the only group truly representative of the millions of oppressed blacks native to the land called South Africa. The man was Nelson Mandela.

At exactly 8:00 p.m. the sound system was quieted and from behind the curtain on the massive five story stage erected for this occasion, the p.a. announcer informed the Coliseum that the program was to commence. The South African anthem was played to open the activities, and then the paying public of 80 thousand plus was treated to moving performances by entertainers such as Deniece Williams, Tremaine Hawkins, Andre Crouch, Kris Kristofferson and human rights activist, Dick Gregory, among others. The first half of the show was topped off with African-born Jonathan Butler coming on right after the rappers Ice-T, King Tee, Def Jef, Tone Loc and the Loco Tribe had the natives chanting and dancing in the aisles and bleachers to a rousing Mandela rap-jam.

Then the lights were dimmed once again and to open the second half of the show the speakers boomed out into the night air the information that the next performance was bringing the spectators of this event the Caribbean rhythm of reggae.

“Please welcome,” said the announcer, “from the Central American nation of Belize, the Babylon Warriors!” And welcome them we did.

Never once in its history had the Los Angeles Coliseum hosted a live reggae group prior to this performance, and it was as if every person there that evening intended to make up for that discrepancy.

The intensity was overwhelming as the people rose to their feet with clenched fists held high and sang along with the Warriors. The song was “Brutal”, a track from their latest release, bemoaning the plight of the South African people in their homeland, and when they dropped the music for an accapella chant of ”Free South Africa”, the response was thunderous.

Highly visible among the front rows was another Belizean great, Bro. David Obi, he of the Cungo music, leading the chanting audience. All in all, Babylon Warriors did Belize proud.

Then came Judy Mowatt, formerly of the I-threes, who could not have possibly asked for a better opening act, and she delivered. Paying tribute to Winnie Mandela and the women of the world, she did her hit, “Black Woman” and a well received rendition of Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up”.

Next was Paula Star, representative of the Cheyenne Indians of Oklahoma, followed by Assembly woman Maxine Waters, the African Dance Community of L.A., Rosalyn Cash, and Jesse Jackson.

In his speech, Rev. Jackson stressed the deplorable fact that a man who is more popular than his country’s President and has more credibility than his country’s Government, still does not have the right to vote.

“A victory for Mandela”, he said “will be a victory for the world and humanity.” Hugh Masekala and his band were next, doing it as only they could, and then it was time.
It is the writer’s opinion that my words would not do justice to the reception Mr. Mandela received. Neither could they relay the eloquence and honesty with which he addressed the multitude. I will not attempt it. I will suffice to say that, displaying the strength and fortitude which delivered him through two-score plus years of imprisonment and injustice, displaying the resilience of character which now has him on his worldwide mission of destiny, Mr. Nelson Mandela has still managed to retain that quality which divides that which he stands for and that which he fights against. He has retained his humanity.
   
Let us close then by saying that Mr. Mandela has proven that with positive thought and action, all is possible. In regards to America, he came; he saw; he conquered. I know, I was there.   
Amanda !
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Congratulations 
and a thousand thanks for a fabulous show !
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Your unselfish dedication, imagination and perseverance, all given in the best spirit of volunteerism, made this wonderful evening of brotherhood a reality.

With deep appreciation from Assemblywoman Maxine Waters, 
(Chairwoman) Mandela Reception Committee (Los Angeles)

“Rally for a Free South Africa – A Tribute to Nelson Mandela”

Friday, June 29, 1990
Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
A Sold-Out Event Attended by 75,000 People

Oz Scott: Director
Leslie Song Winner: Producer
______________________
The Belize Times
 Sunday July 29, 1990

Dem See Mista Mandela
 
“He came, he saw, he conquered.”

Nelson Mandela, Deputy President of the African National Congress, speaking before a packed Los Angeles Coliseum of 75,000 plus, conquered the hearts of the many Belizeans in attendance.

“We ask you to assist our people and their organization in this time of hope, but also pain, suffering and anguish,” Mandela appealed.”You can help by maintaining sanction.”
   
Belize’s presence at the Mandela rally was very visible. Belizeans were among the many arriving as of 6:00p.m.on the evening of June 29. Particularly present were African-Belizeans, some dressed in African clothing, others in U.S. made Mandela T-shirts and others wearing the African headdress. By the way, look for Mandela T-shirts to be the most popular clothing item during the September celebrations in Belize.
Belizeans made up part of the electrifying response to Mandela’s appearance. While speakers and entertainers set the stage for an evening of entertainment, education and inspiration, Belizeans had a particular reason to be filled with the ‘spirit of the new wine’.
   
At 8:00 p.m. veteran actor and professor of literature Roscoe Lee Brown, in his capacity as master of ceremonies, took to the stage and introduced Andre Crouch and his gospel ensemble. Following presentations by Marsha Warfield of television’s ‘Night Court’, Kris Kristofferson and singer Diane Reeves, Dick Gregory vowed to take no more solid food, only juice and water, ’until everyone in South Africa has one vote for one man’. The tempo of the entertainment became more upbeat with the heavy rapping of famed Iced T, Tone Loc, Def Jeff, King T, Low Profile and other rappers and dancers. They had the Coliseum audience on their feet waving their fists in the air.
   
The tempo dropped a notch when Jonathan Butler mellowed the crowd with ’We must heal our land’ dedicated to the brothers and sisters in South Africa. African-Caribbean’s broke loose when Professor Roscoe Lee Brown returned to the stage and brought on ‘The Babylon Warriors’.
   
Overnight, the meek gave up the land and opted to be dancers instead. They were dancing in the aisles and on the seats; folk who had apparently not attempted to dance reggae before were thrusting their fists in the air and throwing one-two combinations to the moon that was now setting over the coliseum.   It was the perpetual motion of lead singer Brother Trapp who at times moved from a mean job of ’skanking’ to the thrusting of his fist in the air that made it impossible for the 75,000 plus to remain seated.
  
The Babylon Warriors knew that they were part of history in the making and were therefore in perfect harmony as they ‘blew’ ‘shooting and killing and dying in the name of the Lord”.   But perhaps it was Trappy’s enticement of the crowd to join in the refrain ‘Free-ee South Africa’ that again brought the crowd to its feet.
   
The Caribbean influence on the programmed continued when actress Rosalind Cash brought Jamaican superstar Judy Moar to the stage.   She sang ‘We’re coming home Mother Africa’. ‘We’ll fight for our right to be free’. And ‘Stand up for your right’. Of course, the 75,000 did just that.
   
It was when Jesse Jackson, during the course of his moving speech, stated “We’re Africanizing America”, that an elderly African-American woman shouted, ”You right about that, son, and I am glad to be part of it.”
   
If you were around in the late sixties you would remember the strong influence South African born Hugh Masakela had on the music world. Well, he has not lost any of his skills as a trumpeter. In introducing a tune about working the goldmines of South Africa he used the following monologue which brought to the forefront what life is like for Black Africans working the gold mines in South Africa. “There’s a train that comes from Zimbabwe and Mozambique, from Gambia and Zaire, from the whole of Southern Africa to contract to work deep in the goldmines of Johannesburg.”
   
Applause thundered when the tall gray haired African National Congress leader stepped onto the stage with fist shot into the air, the traditional salute of the ANC. At his side was his 54 year old wife, Winnie, herself the subject of years of harassment, detention and banishment by South African authorities.
   
“We will not give up until apartheid gives in,” Mandela boomed to the Coliseum crowd. Mandela went on to urge the young to forsake the use of illicit drugs.”We learned that the solution was not to escape reality by resorting to drugs. “We learned that we could make our future bright by overcoming our own weaknesses and weaknesses of others,” he concluded.   “Amandela! Amandela! Amandela! Amandela!”

The programme concluded with the singing of the African American anthem “Lift every voice and sing”.  

Some reflections on the visit of Nelson Mandela:   Non African Americans have always displayed tremendous outpouring of pride, particularly those of European or Latin descent, whenever a leader of their country of origin visits the United States. For the greater part, Africans, African-Americana and Caribbean peoples have never felt a part of that euphoria surrounding such visits.

Well, we have finally had our day in the sun. It lasted for 12 days. To most of us, Nelson Mandela represented a chief among his tribe. Our king finally paid us a visit.  His visit was a boost tour self image.

Belizeans, particularly African-Belizeans, spoke of the difficulty in expressing just what it was like to hear, much less see Mr. Mandela.   Would it be too much for the asking for Mr. Mandela, to someday ride in an open back truck down Freetown, into Douglas Jones, on to North Front Street, into  Albert Street and on to Yarborough Green where he would address a crowd of at least 20,000?

Thanks again, Babylon Warriors. 
Babylon Warriors   from Belize made history on June  29th, 1990, of being one of the first reggae group to play Reggae music inside the Los Angeles Memorial                                                  Coliseum 
A Marvelous Staff and Crew:

Marva Y. SmithTalent Coordinator
Ron Abbott:
Stage Manager
Ifa BayezaWriter
Felicia BraggPromotions Coordination
Tene Carr: Production Assistant
Rita Cash: Writer
Margaree Finklea: Production Assistant
Richard Gant: Stage Manager
Donna Guillaume: Director's Assistant
Gail Jennings: Talent Coordination
Mattie Lawson: Talent Coordination
Shirley Johnson: Talent Coordination
Mattie Lawson: Talent Coordination
Gordon Lewis: Production Coordination
Sean Reid: Production Assistant
Robert Scott: Production Assistant
Fannie Upshaw: Production Assistant
Kimberly Willis: Production Assistant
Ethan Winner: Production Assistant
Byron Wilson: Talent Coordination

 
Ethan Winner:
 Production Assistant
Byron Wilson: 
Talent Coordination
A Fabulous Cast:

Ed Asner,
Babylon Warriors, 
Roscoe Lee Browne, Jonathan Butler, 
Rosalind Cash, 
Andrae & Sandra Crouch & the Crouch Choir, 
Robert Downey Jr., 
Def Jef, 
Kim Fields, 
Marla Gibbs, 
Danny Glover, 
Cyndi Gossett, 
Louis Gossett, Jr., 
Dick Gregory, 
Tramaine Hawkins, 
Anna Marie Horsford, 
Ice “T”, 
Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, 
King Tee, 
Kopano, 
Kris Kristofferson, 
Ted Lange, 
Dawn Lewis, 
Gloria Loring, 
Hugh Masakela & Co, 
Judy Mowatt, 
Nichelle Nichois, 
Michael Nouri, 
Judy Pace, 
Sarah Jessica Parker, 
Sheryl Lee Ralph, 
Dianne Reeves, 
Sy Richardson, 
Holly Robinson,
Esther Rolle, 
Paula Starr Rubideau, Kimberly Russel, 
Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, 
Cree Summer, 
Geoffrey Thorne, 
Beverly Todd, 
Tone Loc & the Loc Tribe, Marsha Warfield, 
Mykel T. Williamson, 
Alfre Woodard,


Babylon Warriors And Quincy Jones (centre)
Babylon Warriors, backstage  @ the Colliseum
Harrington Trapp - Judy Mohatt - Patrick Barrow
Manny, Jah Lem, Quincy Jones, Harrington Trapp, Carlos
Lesmond, Harrington Trappy, DJ Morgan Carlos, Smith Brothers, Manny, Patrick, Carl, Raymond
Babylon Warriors and friends @ sound check