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Watts 50: Behind the scenes of Take Two's live broadcast




Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Take Two host, Alex Cohen prepares for the live broadcast from Watts
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Tim Watkins, CEO of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee talks with Take Two host, Alex Cohen while the team sets up
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Keeping the show on time!
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Behind the scenes: Engineers keeping Take Two on the air during the live broadcast. L-R: Rick Esparza, Dave McKeever and Alex Gonzalez
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Preparing: l-r -- Take Two host, Alex Cohen, editor Joanne Griffith and senior producer, Megan Larson
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Preparing: Take Two's A Martinez
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Guests LAPD Senior Lead Officer for Watts, Robert Yanez and author Jorja Leap chatting outside before the show
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Managing editor of Live Events, Jon Cohn (l) with Live Stream producer, Fred Balian
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Alex Cohen and A Martinez on stage at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
The audience listening to the conversation on the 50th anniversary of the Watts unrest
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
UCLA history professor, Brenda Stevenson (r) with Tim Watkins from the Watts Labor Community Action Committee
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Panelists, Priscilla Ocen and Brenda Stevenson listen to the conversation
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
View from the livestream
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
The artwork of the Phoenix Hall at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Audience members live tweeting #watts50 during the show
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Audience members sharing memories
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
The audience fully engaged with the conversation at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee
Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Take Two's A Martinez
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Policing in Watts: A Martinez and Alex Cohen with guests Senior Lead Officer, Robert Yanez and law professor, Priscilla Ocen from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Discussing community policing: LAPD's Senior Lead Officer, Robert Yanez
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Policing in Watts: Priscilla Ocen, professor of law at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Oscar Menjivar from the Teens Exploring Technology
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Arturo Ybarra from the Watts/Century Latino Organization on the changing demographics of Watts
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Arturo Ybarra from the Watts/Century Latino Organization
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
"Big" Mike Cummings, co-leader of Project Fatherhood
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Jorja Leap, author of "Project Fatherhood"
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Johnie Scott of the Watts Writers Workshop
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Shana Redmond, author of "Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora" discusses the significance of the music of 1965
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
Where I'm from; the t-shirt says it all
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Take Two director, Stephen Hoffman
And that's a wrap! Part of the Take Two team
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On Tuesday August 11, 2015, Take Two took the show on the road to mark the 50th anniversary of what is commonly known as the Watts Riots.

More than 200 people filled the Phoenix Room of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee on South Central Ave, just a mile away from Avalon and 116th Street, the site where Marquette Frye, a young African-American man was stopped on suspicion of drunk driving by a white officer on a hot summer's day 50 years earlier. 

That traffic stop led to six days of civil unrest and what many in Watts call the rebellion. Thirty four people died between August 11 and 17. Hundreds more were injured and damage to property totaled over $40 million. 

Listen to Dr. Perry Crouch, Pastor Robert Lee Arline, Paul Martinez, Dearthy Pitcher - Henderson, Barbara J. Stanton and Donnie Joubert recall their memories of the unrest in Watts in 1965 as part of the "This is Watts" project, sponsored by the Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with The Los Angeles Human Relations Commission and Councilman Buscaino.

 

Tim Watkins, CEO of the Watts Labor Community Action Committee recalls one of his memories of the civil unrest;

"One of the photographs [in my mind] is Sen-Sen - a breath freshener. It was one of the only things that didn't burn up in the fire .. it was in a foil packet.  The guy in the liquor store said we could go in and get whatever we wanted and I got Sen-Sen."

Take Two's live two hour show from Watts - the first time the program has broadcast from  a remote location - did more than look back on the '65 unrest.  It delved into the stories of the people who live in the 2.2 square mile South Los Angeles neighborhood and shared how locals view the place they call home. 

"Watts is beautiful," said Bruce Lemon, artistic director with the Watts Village Theater Company. His colleague, Devonne Bowman said she had no issues being raised in Watts. 

" I personally never had any interactions with feeling fear or violence. I just grew up thinking that my neighborhood was like any other neighborhood, until I got to high school and people would say 'oh, girl, you live in Watts?' Then when I went to college people would say 'you made it out' even people from L.A. would say that.  I was very surprised."

The conversation covered everything from the changing demographics in Watts and  tackling gang membership to parenting through the group, Project Fatherhood and the issue of community policing. LAPD's Senior Lead Officer for Watts, Robert Yanez acknowledged the area had its problems in the past, but things are very different today.

"I walk through the housing developments with no problem because people know I'm not there to take them to jail. They say hello and ask me how I'm doing. "

The live broadcast closed out with a look at the significance of the arts in Watts. It played a significant role in the healing of Watts after the civil unrest, represented by the work of poets such as the Watts Prophets. One of the original members, Amde Hamilton recorded a special poem for the audience,  while Johnie Scott from the Watts Writers Workshop and Shana Redmond, author of "Anthem: Sounds of Solidarity in the African Diaspora" discussed the intersection of music and poetry to round out the show. The conversation continued long after the program ended.

Two hours was never going to be enough to cover the past, present and future of a neighborhood in transition, but the team at Take Two would like to thank everyone who came out to listen and participate in our special Watts broadcast. 

Watch the Livestream of the event below or listen to the full broadcast here.