South LA’s Christmas Warms Up With Marsha Ambrosius

By Raquel Vasquez
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The afternoon was chilly in Los Angeles, the perfect day to bundle up and go to a Winter Wonderland. Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza had their 8th annual Winter Wonderland Event with snow games, face painting, toys and treats. There were food trucks, live music, hot cocoa and a visit from Santa himself. The bonus was a live performance by the “Songstress” Marsha Ambrosius.

Los Angeles Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson and the BHCP partnered with South Central LA Regional Center for Persons with Developmental Disabilities this year. They’re a non profit organization with 45 years of experience helping individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities and children with developmental delays. Every year Dawson and BHCP strive to bring Christmas warmth and cheer to the community hosting over 10,000 families in attendance for a free holiday celebration.

Council member Marqueece Haris-Dawson of of District 8 said, “I love to see our community come together. As a lifelong South LA resident, I understand the value of having events like this that spread joy and allow us to celebrate the holidays together. It’s also an opportunity for us to give back to families and children that may not receive toys for Christmas.”

There were families and little Santa believers everywhere. After they had played in the snow, had hot chocolate and candy treats, after they told Santa they were good little boys and girls, there was a serious treat for the adults.

Known as the “Songstress,” Marsha Ambrosius is a fabulous Brit that started her career being a member of the R&B duo Floetry. She’s worked with Mos Def, written for Michael Jackson, Jill Scott, and an endless list of recording artists. She had major success with her second album, and has toured with Erykah Badu and Queen Latifah. Ambrosius and husband Dez Billups had their first child in 2016. Ambrosius currently released an album in her daughters name NYLA. 

The two time Grammy nominee arrived at 6:10 pm and immediately walked onto the stage.

Marsha has an incredible voice and command of her performance. She had two musicians behind her, guitar player Simon Martinez, and Jose Echevarria on bass. A keyboard was set up for Ambrosius. The trio sounded clear and smooth with delicious simplicity. Ambrosius teased the audience filtering her R rated lyrics, and made insinuations instead, out of respect for the toddler crowd. Her delivery was funny, witty, and fully passed the naughty or nice test.

Ambrosius opened her set with Butterflies, making us all realize what a privilege we were experiencing 10 feet from our noses. She slipped into her next song, I hope She Cheats On You With A Basketball Player getting a rise out of the audience even with the G rated version. Her bass player Jose Echevarria closed the set with a bass solo including some Louis Armstrong influenced scat singing.

The community of South Los Angeles attended the event in the spirit of Christmas, and the smiles on everyone’s face was the best gift of the day.

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