In commemoration of the late Barbara Morrison’s upcoming birthday celebration, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in collaboration with the office of Councilwoman Heather Hutt hosted a dedication and unveiling of Barbara Morrison Square at 43rd Street and Degnan Blvd on Saturday September 10, 2022, at 10 AM.
The internationally-known musician of jazz and blues, community activist, educator and entrepreneur, leaves behind a deep legacy of song, creativity, and community empowerment. With a career spanning more than six decades, Morrison wowed audiences and dazzled critics with her euphoric, rhythmic, and dominant vocals.
“I am excited to have partnered with the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs to celebrate the life and legacy of Barbara Morrison. Barbara Morrison was a musical trailblazer and international icon. Although she could have put her roots down anywhere in the world, Barbara chose to settle in Leimert Park; and she was a steady pillar in this community,” said 10th District Councilmember, Heather Hutt. “I remember when this motion first passed to rename the intersection of 43rd Street & Degnan Boulevard as “Barbara Morrison Square,” and to see this come to fruition is such an honor. We will forever love and remember Ms. Morrison; and we hope that this recognition will be a tribute to her legacy.”
“On behalf of the Department of Cultural Affairs, we celebrate Barbara Morrison as a pioneering and history-making jazz artist with roots in Leimert Park,” said Daniel Tarica, Interim General Manager of the Department of Cultural Affairs. “Not only was Ms. Morrison known worldwide for her artistic talent, but her ever present commitment to fostering art, creativity, and community was felt by everyone she interacted with.
The intersection naming was followed by the inaugural Barbara Morrison Jazz & Blues Music Festival. This DCA commissioned festival produced by Tim Morganfield, Morrison’s longtime partner, now CEO of the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center and the California Jazz & Blues Museum, presented a day-long line up of music performances including celebrities as well as local musicians, singers and DJ's. The festival footprint also included an art walk (featuring works from Morrison’s CA J&B Museum), Kids Korner (Leimert Plaza Park), and a variety of vendors and food trucks.
The music festival was hosted by actor and television host, Jay Jackson and KJMJ radio host, James Janisse. The musical line-up included: Mike Mann and the Cowboy Soul; Al Threats & Amusement Park; Lady Rene Blues, presented by First Thursday Blues; Torrence Brannon-Reese & His Everything with Soul Band, featuring Melba Joyce; THEKarenA; Ray Baily and Friends, featuring Brenda Lee Eager; Chester Whitmore and his Opus One Big Band, featuring Dwight Trible; The Barbara Morrison Band (aka Bu Crew), featuring Elain Gibbs; Charles Wright and the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band; Sons of Muddy Waters – Big Bill & Mudd Morganfield; and Eloise Laws.