BHCP Signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

BHCP Signage: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

*Los Angeles  – The 23rd Annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival got underway on Thursday, February 5, 2015 on a beautiful, Southern California evening. The festival continues until Monday, February 16.

23rd Annual Pan African Film Festival: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

23rd Annual Pan African Film Festival: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The Opening Night Film featured Director Stanley Nelson’s The Black Panther: Vanguard of the Revolution. This relevant movie arrives at the RAVE Cinemas 15, with their marching orders. This historical film allowed viewers to see how the Black Panthers cemented a solid foundation in the African American community, in the past that is still relevant today.

This screening was the West Coast premiere hosted by actor/author/philanthropist Hill Harper, at the RAVE Cinemas 15, located within the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, 4200 Marlton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA. 90008.

Activist/Actress Scottine Ross, actor Isaiah Washington, actress Loretta Devine, Actor King Kedor, Actress Jasmine Burke, Actor Richard Gant and his wife Jasmine, Actress Serayah McNeil (Empire), PAFF Co-founder Ja’net Du’Bois, Ayuko Babu (Executive Director).

Reginald T. Dorsey and Ayuko Babu: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Reginald T. Dorsey and Ayuko Babu: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Ja'Net DuBois and Isaiah Washington: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Ja’Net DuBois and Isaiah Washington: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Loretta Devine: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Loretta Devine: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

King Kedor: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

King Kedor: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Richard and Jasmine Gant: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Richard and Jasmine Gant: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jasmine Burke: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Jasmine Burke: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Serayah McNeil: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Serayah McNeil: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Director Stanley Nelson, Producer Laurens Grant and former and current members of the Black Panthers also graced the Red Carpet, Michael McCarty, Sherwin Forte and Mohammed Mubarak (artist, writer and photographer), just to name a few.

The Black Panthers:Vanguard of the Revolution: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The Black Panthers:Vanguard of the Revolution: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The festival also featured daughters from royalty of the Civil Rights Movement, Donzaleigh Abernathy (daughter of Ralph D. Abernathy), and Ashley Jackson (daughter of Jesse Jackson). Lifestyle expert Daisy Llewellyn, author Demetria Hayes, Actress Cheryl Ash-Simpson, Directors Joyce Fitzpatrick and Brian Shackleford and Reginald T. Dorsey, South African singers Vincent and Vicus, South African writer Sihle Hlope and Tulu Lamidi, were additional celebrities present on the Red Carpet.

Tulu Lamidi: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Tulu Lamidi: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Vincent and Vicus: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

Vincent and Vicus: Photo Credit, Ricky Richardson

The Black Panthers: Whether they were right or wrong, whether they were good or band, more than 40 years after the Black Panther Party was founded in Oakland, California, the group, its leadership, remain powerful and enduring figures in our popular imagination.

“The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” is the first feature length documentary to showcase the Black Panther Party, its significance to the broader American culture, its cultural and political awakening for Black people, and the painful lessons wrought when the movement derails. The film featured riveting eyewitness’s accounts from the first members who joined the organization when its founder, Huey P. Newton, was still alive as a young, brash upstart who confronted local police and American tradition with a loaded gun and a law book. Several of the participants mentioned above, are still around to share firsthand accounts of the early days of the Black Panther Party.

The Pan African Film Festival is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the advancement of cultural diversity and education through the exhibition of positive and realistic media images. For more information about the Festival screenings, events and panels/workshops, please visit http://www.paff.org

Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music viewer and photographer. contact him via: [email protected].