Tonight I received an email that the founder of the Journal of Pan African Studies and the L.A. Black Book Expo, Itibari M. Zulu has passed away. He asked me back in 2006 to take over the expo and I accepted. If you’ve read this blog, you know my objectives, goals and plans to build LABBX into a solid literary event for the city of Los Angeles. Despite my best intentions and hard work, it wasn’t meant to be.
Itibari and I would spend time on the phone discussing the results of that year’s expo and began planning for the next. He had a wealth of culture knowledge, even when the topic turned to issues within the Black community.Â Because of a judgement in error, I ended up relinquishing control of the expo back to Itibari but he enjoyed the effort of our volunteer staff to make the expo a reality and an event authors wanted to attend. Although we didn’t achieve the success we hoped for, Dr. Zulu and I were proud LABBX did well.
Now the questions start. Will there be another LABBX? Would I consider taking the executive director position back? Will it return? For now, I’m not interesting in reviving the expo. I’ve dealt with a lot in the years I took control to ever considering bringing it back. If there was someone else who has the vision and the resources to bring it back, I wouldn’t mind playing the role of a consultant. That seems very unlikely now that this city is in the process of change, and not for the better for Black people.
Thank you Itibari for having enough faith in me to take over the expo. I’ll miss the conversations and advice you shared with me to make sure LABBX stayed true to your dream and to offer a cultural, literary event for the people of L.A.
Charles L. Chatmon
Former executive director of
the L.A. Black Book Expo