Archives for June 9, 2024

Black in Mayberry’s 3rd Annual Free Juneteenth Celebration in El Segundo Saturday, June 15 to Feature Top R&B Emerging Artists including Lendrix from Los Angeles College of Music

The Los Angeles College of Music (LACM) is thrilled to announce its partnership this year with Black in Mayberry, bringing three of its students — emerging R&B artists and future stars — to perform for its third annual Juneteenth celebration in El Segundo. The festival is scheduled for Saturday, June 15, 2024 from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM at El Segundo Recreation Park. This year marks the second year that Black in Mayberry will be hosting a Juneteenth festival in the park, promising a day filled with entertainment, fun, education, and community engagement.

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th and also known as Freedom Day, commemorates the emancipation of the last remaining enslaved African Americans in the United States. Black in Mayberry is dedicated to honoring this significant day by providing a platform for celebration and reflection for the entire community. This year, LACM and Black in Mayberry are joining forces to bring a day of music, arts, education and community to El Segundo, highlighting the Foundation’s mission to combat racism through the arts.

The festival will feature live music, captivating performances, interactive arts activities, an art exhibit, a kid’s zone, black-owned business vendors, food trucks, and much more. The event promises something for everyone, with activities and attractions that celebrate African American culture, history and contributions to America.

“After an astonishingly successful Juneteenth Festival in the Park in 2023, we are excited to once again host our 3rd annual Juneteenth celebration in El Segundo Recreation Park this year. This event is a celebration of freedom, unity, resilience, struggles and triumphs and we invite everyone regardless of ethnicity to join the African American community in celebrating our freedom from enslavement and the ideal of freedom and equality for all,” said Tanya Taylor, founder and Executive Director of Black in Mayberry and producer of the 2021 Black in Mayberry documentary. “We are excited to partner with LACM this year to feature their students and top emerging artists so that attendees will get a front row seat to see these future stars of Black culture and artistry.”

The Juneteenth Festival is free and open to the public. Attendees are encouraged to bring their families and friends to enjoy this vibrant celebration of African American culture.

“We are honored to collaborate with Black in Mayberry for this significant celebration,” said Erin Workman, Executive Vice President and Head of the Songwriting and Music Business Departments at LACM. “This partnership aligns with LACM’s mission to foster creativity, diversity and community engagement. We look forward to giving our students and future stars an opportunity to perform at this celebration of freedom that educates, entertains and inspires.”

About the artists:

Hailing from Alabama and now based in Los Angeles, Lendryx is an independent R&B artist that brings inspiration and melodies from R&B’s roots and blends it with contemporary concepts, creating a unique soundscape of his own. As Vibe magazine writes, “Meet Lendryx—a Los Angeles based singer-songwriter with an affinity for traditional R&B and a falsetto that’d impress any R&B OG. On his new record, “Just My Turn,” he combines his romantic strife with his tenure in the military, emotionally conveying the fears of losing a love so crucial that it seems scarier than fighting in a war.” Lendryx has over 1 million global streams, 3 top 10 iTunes R&B singles and a top 15 iTunes R&B/Soul album, purification.

Kennedy Ray is a singer-songwriter from the great music city of Memphis, Tennessee. The city’s rich history of soul, gospel and blues have influenced her greatly as a musician, leading her to take on a modern-day Motown sound infused with heavy notes of R&B and pop. Kennedy was one of only twenty students in the first-ever Stax Music Academy Songwriting Lab. Sponsored by a collaboration between Levi’s Strauss & Co. and Justin Timberlake, the Songwriting Lab landed her big performance opportunity, showcasing her songwriting work along with her peers for the city and the nation.

Gray, a California native rapper/producer blending hip hop with elements of jazz, R&B, and alternative music, juggles the hardships of life and navigates adulthood through lyrics of self-reflection and raw honesty. Drawing inspiration from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Tyler, the Creator, and Kanye West, Gray infuses his music with gritty narratives of struggle, resilience, and self-discovery, tackling the weight of societal expectations, the rollercoaster of love and loss, and the turbulent journey of self-acceptance.

For more information about Black in Mayberry and the Juneteenth Festival, please visit or follow @blackinmayberry on social media.

About Black in Mayberry:

Black in Mayberry is a nonprofit organization with a mission to combat racism through the arts. The organization strives to create a society where diversity, inclusion, and equality thrive, fostering an environment of understanding, empathy, and appreciation for all. By leveraging artistic expression, Black in Mayberry aims to dismantle systemic racism and build a more equitable future.

El Segundo resident Tanya Taylor is the founder and Executive Director of Black in Mayberry and the producer of the 2021 Black in Mayberry documentary. In the film, inspired by Black Lives Matter protests in El Segundo following the murder of Geroge Floyd, the city’s residents share their experiences with racism with the aim to tell the stories that may not always be discussed between people of different races.


Los Angeles College of Music, LACM, prepares students to be leaders in music and offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in 12 majors across Music Performance, Music Production, Music Composition, and Music Industry. Since opening its doors in 1996, LACM has become home to music students from around the world who desire the professional edge that can only be attained by living and studying in the heart of the music industry. Small class sizes and private study with current, leading, musical professionals foster an intimate and supportive environment to learn to create, record, perform, and market in today’s competitive music industry. LACM has expanded its programming to ages 12+ through its Summer at LACM program, and recently introduced the Bridge to Success English as a second language program that allows students to attend college 1 term early and develop academic English skills through music coursework and cultural immersion. For more information, call 626.568.8850 or e-mail LACM is located at 300 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105. Follow LACM at or on Twitter: @LACMOfficial.

School’s out for Summer! Road Trip & Travel Essentials for Families!

Keep Going First Aid Kit

The handy, compact Keep Going First Aid Kit includes essential first aid supplies from burn relief to bandages, so you will be ready for anything! TSA approved, the lightweight kit is packaged in an organized, stylish water & stain-resistant case for traveling, camping, road trips & more. Four kits are available, including the SuperKit (270 pieces), NEW Adult GoKit (130 pieces), GoKit (130 pieces), NEW MiniKit (60 pieces) and KidsKit (44 pieces). A variety of stylish, trendy patterns and colors are available, such as the NEW Traveler and NEW Minimalist. All of the kits can be found on the website at and on I never go on a road trip without one of these kits! I love that they are also TSA approved!

Handzies Soap + Water Wipes

Individually packaged and perfect for traveling, road trips, and tucking in beach bags, Handzies Soap + Water Wipes give everyone fresh, clean hands using only natural castile soap, water and essential oils. Say goodbye to harsh hand sanitizers, Handzies do not contain alcohol, BZK, triclosan, artificial perfumes or dyes. $12.99 and up. These are always in my car!

Sweet Chaos Popcorn 

Snacks are a must on any road trip! Every good trip needs the right snacks to enjoy! From spicy to sweet, Sweet Chaos Popcorn offers a delicious variety of gluten-free choices to nosh on while taking a road trip over Spring Break! Sweet Chaos hand pops their Non-GMO kernels in coconut oil for a creamy richness while skipping the nasty, artificial stuff. Exciting flavors include Movie Theater Butter, Sea Salt, Jalapeno Blue Cheese, Kettle Corn and White Cheddar. I love the White Cheddar and Movie Theater Butter!

Wiley Wallaby Licorice

Another great snack idea! Don’t forget to tuck a treat in your purse, backpack or laptop bag while preparing to fly or drive. Wiley Wallaby offers soft and chewy licorice that satisfies cravings for something sweet! Wiley Wallaby Licorice is fat free, vegan, and does not contain artificial colors and flavors. Plus, each piece is thick, chunky and super-soft, making this gourmet licorice a favorite! Mouthwatering options include Hot Cinnamon, Classic Red (always a favorite!), Green Apple, Watermelon and more.

I love the watermelon flavor!

Oat Boss Granola Butter

This one is a new favorite of mine! I prefer it over peanut butter!

A delicious nut butter alternative to bring with you for snacks on-the-go, Oat Boss Granola Butter is free of the top 8 Allergens, this delightful & creamy healthy alternative to nut & seed butters will be your new favorite to enjoy on apples or crackers. Granola Butter is a delicious fiber-rich fusion of the wholesome goodness of granola and the creamy indulgence of a spread. You can choose from 6 delicious varieties, including Original, Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate Chip, Chocolate Fudge, Donut and Shortbread. Only 6 grams of sugar per serving, and 100% Nut & Seed Free, 100% Gluten Free, Soy Free & Non-GMO. Learn more at I like the Original and Blueberry Muffin!

Safe and happy Summer Travels!

Self Disclosure: I received free samples of the above items. Images and info were also provided.

School of Magical Animals 2 * Love The Magical Talking Animals With Fun Personalities

The students of the school of magical animals want to perform a musical for the school’s anniversary. Will the rehearsals end in chaos or will the class pull together? And what’s up with the strange holes on the school grounds? With the help of their magical animals, the children learn what really matters: teamwork. The School Of Magical Animals 2 is a warm-hearted adventure with CGI-animated animals, set in an unusual school where the children receive a magical animal as a companion.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Ella S. comments, “I absolutely love the movie School of Magical Animals 2! The sets are very detailed and are beautifully designed to fit the lighthearted style of the movie. The animals’ hilarious antics kept me laughing throughout the film! Best of all, you don’t need to have seen the first film, School of Magical Animals.” Clara B. comments, “I like the film The School of Magical Animals 2. It is entertaining with all the magical animals talking and having fun personalities. I also really like how the animals match their owners’ personalities. The movie has a castle in a village for the school which makes the setting very interesting.” Ashleigh C. wraps it up with, “The lead characters in this film are brought to life by a talented cast. The dynamic between the students and their magical animal companions is both heartwarming and entertaining. The CGI used to create the animals is top-notch, making each magical creature feel real and full of personality.” See their full reviews below.

School of Magical Animals 2

By Ella S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

I absolutely love the movie School of Magical Animals 2! The sets are very detailed and are beautifully designed to fit the lighthearted style of the movie. The animals’ hilarious antics kept me laughing throughout the film! Best of all, you don’t need to have seen the first film, School of Magical Animals. You can enjoy and completely understand the film for what it is!

School of Magical Animals 2 follows a group of students and their talking pets preparing to celebrate their school’s anniversary with a musical performance. They want to honor their school by recreating the story of its foundation. The only problem is, they cannot agree on how to do it! Ida (Emilia Maier) is appointed director, but when the school’s most popular girl, Helene (Emilia Pieske), attempts to take control, the class is torn. Additionally, the school director, Mr. Siegmann (Justus von Dohnányi) has his own vision for the musical and insists that it is followed. With the advice and assistance of the magical animals, the students eventually realize they must join forces, each learning a valuable lesson along the way.

The sets immediately stood out to me, especially the individual characters’ bedrooms. The room decorations reflect each of their personalities. My favorite room belongs to Anna-Lena (Lilith Johna). She is a shy but happy, welcoming girl with a wonderful singing voice and a talent for textiles. Her room is covered with beautiful fairy lights, warm pastel-colored cushions, and sewing equipment, because she is sewing the main character’s dress for the musical. There is a wooden bunk bed with a ladder and there are plants and vines around the room, in adorable white or neutral pots. Her room looks like it belongs to a garden fairy, which describes Anna-Lena perfectly! Aside from the characters’ rooms, the rest of the sets are also beautifully designed, such as the stage for the performance and the set for Ida’s rooftop birthday party. Both maintain a light, happy color scheme to support the movie’s cheerful tone. They are very detailed as well, with star-shaped cutouts and strobe lights for the stage and a whole snack booth with cafe-style tables set up by the trampolines for Ida’s birthday party. The animals are essential to the plot and the character development. Each main character’s animal represents either their internal thoughts or a lesson they need to learn. For example, Anna-Lena receives a chameleon named Caspar (Rick Kavanian), who pushes her to overcome her shyness and step out of her comfort zone, even encouraging her to take on the lead role in the musical. And Juri (Axel Stein), Jo’s penguin, represents his conscience when he makes a mistake and guides him to the right decision by sharing advice, as well as his own hilarious stories from when he was in Antarctica.

The message of School of Magical Animals 2 is that teamwork makes the dream work! At the end of the film, the students realize that they are more powerful together than apart, and to make their musical the best it can be, they need to work together, share their ideas and listen to others’ opinions. Be aware that this film was originally recorded in German and is dubbed in English, with captions provided.

School of Magical Animals 2 gets5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, plus adults. School of Magical Animals 2 releases in theaters on June 7, 2024. 

School of Magical Animals 2

By Clara T., KIDS FIRST! Film critic, age 11

I like the film School of Magical Animals 2. It is entertaining with all the magical animals talking and having fun personalities. I also really like how the animals match their owners’ personalities. The movie has a castle in a village for the school which makes the setting very interesting. The only drawback is that, at times, it is a little repetitive.

The storyline follows Ida and Benni who attend the Winterstein School where the students are practicing a musical to show their parents and they sometimes disagree and make each feel upset or left out –  but they work it out. At the end when they put on the play something strange happens and they are shocked to find out.

Based on the successful German children’s book series by Margit Auer,this film is a blend of CGI animation and live action. What makes it particularly fun is the talking animals, which include a talking fox, tortoise and magpie. Director Sven Unterwaldt beautifully brings this story to life. Ida, a kind and nice girl, is played by Emilia Maier, who portrays her perfectly.  Her pet, Rabbat, is wonderfully voiced by Max Von der Groeben. I love watching the magical animals sing, rap, talk, and dance, and at times they advise their human friends. The animals help teach lessons in friendship, perseverance, and the importance of sharing feelings. Another fun fact about the animals is that they can transform into stuffed animals when needed, so they can hide from strangers. Throughout the movie, you see beautiful landscapes and European villages and castles.

The film’s message is about teamwork. In the beginning, the children struggle to come together as a team, but when they start to work together they start to accomplish more.

I give School Of Magical Animals 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 12. It is available in theaters June 7, 2024.

School of Magical Animals 2
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 20

School of Magical Animals 2 is an enchanting sequel that absolutely captivated me! This film continues the magical journey with even more excitement, heart, and humor. The combination of great acting, a fantastic soundtrack, and impressive CGI makes it a must-watch for fans of the first movie and newcomers alike.

In this sequel, the students of the School of Magical Animals are preparing a musical for the school’s anniversary. However, things don’t go as smoothly as planned. With strange holes appearing on the school grounds and the pressure of rehearsals mounting, the students must rely on their magical animal friends to navigate the chaos. Together, they discover the importance of teamwork and friendship in overcoming obstacles.

The lead characters in this film are brought to life by a talented cast. The dynamic between the students and their magical animal companions is both heartwarming and entertaining. The CGI used to create the animals is top-notch, making each magical creature feel real and full of personality. The sets and scenery are vibrant and perfectly complement the magical atmosphere of the story. The costumes are wonderfully designed, adding to the visual appeal of the film. One of my favorite parts of the movie is the cute and enjoyable love story between the two main characters. It’s a delightful extension from the first movie and adds an extra layer of charm to the story. The musical numbers are catchy and well-executed, thanks to the great soundtrack. Every element of this film, from the direction to the special effects, contributes to its overall magical feel.

The message of School of Magical Animals 2 is that teamwork and friendship are essential in overcoming challenges. The film successfully conveys this message through its engaging storyline and relatable characters.

School of Magical Animals 2 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me and I recommend it for ages 5 to 18, and adults will enjoy it as well. You can catch this magical film in theaters on June 7, 2024.