The Los Angeles Inner City Cultural Center (TLAICCC) is a 501 C (3) nonprofit corporation. The LAICCC was incorporated in 2016 after former board members of the “original” Inner City Cultural Center, which was incorporated in 1966, arrived at the conclusion to change the name and revitalize the organization and reassert itself. The philosophical foundation of the Center, the programs and direction was formulated with a goal of building the LAICCC C. Bernard Jackson Memorial Library.
LA ICCC's History
The (Los Angeles) Inner City Cultural Center was conceived in 1965, incorporated as the Inner City Cultural Center in 1966 and launched it first production season in 1967.
The Inner City Cultural Center (ICCC), rose out of the ashes of the 1965-Watts rebellion and was incorporated under this name in 1966. It was the nation’s first minority owned and operated multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-disciplinary visual and performing arts institution. ICCC was the first organization of its kind, which had as its core the philosophy to incorporate the concept of color-blind and non-traditional casting into its programs. Inner City’s program also pioneered administrative and technical training programs to provide “minorities” with skills that would allow them to gain entry level positions in the stage, film and television industries. The industry record for hiring “minorities” at the time, to say the least, was abysmal. The Los Angeles Inner City concept of multi-culturalism was one of diversity and inclusion. In some respects, the original genesis for diversity and inclusion was given life in the multi-cultural philosophy of the Inner City Cultural Center. In today’s vernacular, Inner City can claim the title as the “O.G.”, i.e. the Original Genesis of multiculturalism, diversity and inclusion, phrases today’s industries are still grappling with in their production, programming and hiring practices.
Mr. Jackson and co-founder, Dr. J. Alfred Cannon, a UCLA neuropsychiatrist conceived of ICCC in the early 1960’s as a vehicle to increase cross-cultural communications among the various so-called minority groups in Los Angeles. The opportunity for implementing this idea arrived with the occurrence of the 1965-Watts Rebellion. With the able assistance of Academy Award winning actor, Mr. Gregory Peck, a board member of the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Council for the Arts, ICCC received grant awards from the NEA, U.S. Department of Education, the Ford Foundation and the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). ICCC became a part of the Educational Theatre Laboratory Project (ETLP). ICCC was one of three theaters of the ETLP engaged in bussing middle and high school youth to engage in a national Arts-in-Education theater project. Students were bussed to the theater and teachers prepared the students with written study guides. Students spoke with the entire production team after each performance and wrote essays reflecting their experience. Additionally, at Inner City, the same performances were offered to a paid audience; many of whom along with the students, had never witnessed theater performances presented employing the color-blind, non-traditional casting methodology. This concept was indeed a revolutionary theater experience for during its time. Multiculturalism was and is a precursor to what is termed “diversity” today. The issues relating to cross-cultural communications spanning issues of inclusion remain at the forefront of methodologies influenced by the creative industries as well as society at-large. ICCC was a leading pioneer in this area.
Out of the ashes of this upheaval, Inner City was incorporated into the Educational Laboratory Theatre Education Project. Inner City Cultural Center opened its first season of productions in 1967. From 1967 to 1970 Los Angeles Unified School District bussed 35,000 of students every year to the Inner City Cultural Center. The students were introduced to people who later became icons in the theater, film and television. Other Inner City alumni, after having broadened their horizons, continued in their respective careers becoming better for their emersion in the Inner City Cultural Center experience. A partial list of luminaries who graced the stage at Inner City is featured below.
Luminaries Past and Present
C. Bernard Jackson, (ICCC Co-founder, Artistic and Executive Director, Obie Award winning playwright, composer, lyrist)
Dr. Alfred J. Cannon, (ICCC Co-founder, UCLA Neuro-psychiatrist and Mental Health Advocate)
Gregory Peck, (Oscar® Award winner “To Kill a Mockingbird”, National Council for the Arts board member)
Mako, (Oscar® Nominee for “Sand Pebbles” and East West Players, founder)
Luis Valdez, (“Zoot Suit”, El Teatro Campesino, founder)
Arthur Mitchell, (Dance Theatre of Harlem, founder)
George Takei, (Star Trek, et al)
Alvin Ailey, (Alvin Ailey Dance Company)
Beah Richards, (Oscar® Nominee, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”)
Paul Winfield, (Oscar® Nominee, “Sounder”)
Denzel Washington, (Oscar Award winner “Glory,” “Training Day”)
Carmen Zapata, (Bilingual Foundations for the Arts, founder)
Robert Wise, (Oscar® Award Winning Director “Sound of Music” and “Westside Story”)
Marla Gibbs, (“The Jefferson’s”, “227”; Crossroads Arts Academy, founder;)
Adolf Caesar, (Oscar® Nominee “A Soldier’s Story”)
Momoko Iko, (playwright, “Gold Watch,” “Second City Flats”)
Louis Gossett, Jr. (Oscar® Award Winner, “An Officer and a Gentleman” Emmy® Award winner “Roots”)
Glynn Turman, (“Cooley High,” “The Wire”)
Sab Shimono, (“The Shadow”)
George C. Wolfe, (Tony® Award Winner “Angels in America”)
Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, (“Welcome Back Kotter,” “Cooley High”)
Felton Perry, (“Robo Cop”)
Donald McKayle, (“Sophisticated Ladies” Choreographer/Director)
Ted Lange, (“The Love Boat”)
Ernie Hudson, (“Ghostbusters,” “OZ”, “Frankie & Grace”)
Pat Morita, (Karate Kid I & II)
William Mickey Stevenson, (Motown’s 1st A&R Man)
Luis Alfaro, (MacArthur Genius Fellowship, Bitter Homes and Gardens)
Tim Dang, (East West Players, Executive Director)
Malcolm Jamal Warner, (“The Cosby Show”)
Art Evans, (“Die Hard 2”, “Leadbelly”)
Bonnie Bedelia (“Die Hard,” “Die Harder,” “Parenthood”)
Kim Fields (“Facts of Life,” “Living Single”)
Janet Jackson, (“Rhythm Nation”)
Quincy Jones, (“We Are the World”)
Bella Lewitsky, (Choreographer)
Roger E. Mosely, (Leadbelly”, “Magnum, P.I.”)
…and many, many others, far too numerous to mention.
The LAICCC board reaches out to many of its alumni, some who have achieved “celebrity” status to provide the context and the content of the Inner City legacy and why we think it is important for people to know and this cultural history is given proper recognition. Our comprehensive anniversary celebrations support this proposition.
About the Center
Inner City Cultural Center was involved with three theaters from 1965 to 1996: The Washington Boulevard Theater; the converted Masonic Temple and the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood.
The first physical building of the Center was located at the intersection of Washington and Vermont Boulevards. The theater, then a part of the Lowe’s movie franchise, was named the Washington Boulevard Theatre. It debuted in 1929. Architect and board member Robert Kennard (d) completed several renovations to develop the movie theatre into a performance space. The Center and its training institute were housed there until 1972.
The Inner City Cultural Center's Board of Directors relocated from the Boulevard Theater into the Masonic Temple at 1308 S. New Hampshire Avenue. The newly purchased space was several blocks from its original site and was eventually converted into a 4-theater complex which contained two dance rehearsal studio spaces, an art gallery, a workshop, the Langston Hughes Memorial Library, administrative offices, the Stormy Weather Cafe, a photography studio and box office. A few years later, technical director Dennis Wilkerson (d), made some additional improvements to the internal structure of the theater. All of the workspaces served as studios to conduct classes for students enrolled in the Inner City Institute.
In 1986, ICCC purchased the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood. It was a dream of Mr. Jackson ("Jack") to upgrade from the small 99-seat theatre space at the New Hampshire Avenue site to the 227-seat Hollywood Boulevard site. The new site housed a bar that became the property of the Center after the tenants' lease expired.
Mr. Jackson passed away in 1996. Soon after his passing due, to financial hardship, the New Hampshire and Ivar Street theaters went into foreclosure.
The LAICCC is currently operates out of the Vision Theatre, which is under the auspices of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. The LAICCC board of directors are developing plans to established the LAICCC C. Bernard Jackson Memorial Library.
In 2014, the alumni of Inner City Cult-
ural Center (ICCC), in conjunction with
Arts Culture Entertainment (ACE), LLC, in-
tiated a comprehensive 3-year/3 phase
program to celebrate the legacy of C.
Bernard Jackson (co-founder, artistic and
executive director of Inner City Cultural
Center) and pay homage to the rich cult-
ural and artistic contributions that he
made to the City of Los Angeles.
The concept of the 3-year/3-phase program to celebrate 50th year anniversary was to acknowledge key milestones in the history of the Inner City Cultural Center: 1965-2015; 1966-2016 and 1967-2017. November 4, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the first “inaugural” season as well as the launch of the Langston Hughes Memorial Library at the Inner City Cultural Center.
Each phase of the program thus reflects a milestone in the history and legacy of Mr. Jackson, the leadership of the Inner City Cultural Center, and the significant cultural contributions made by this organization in the all-too-often overlooked cultural history of the city of Los Angeles.
The Inner City Cultural Center has a rich cultural legacy which spans well over a 50-year period. During this time, the Center lays claim to many firsts. These include the introduction of many individual artists, arts traditions and organizations to the stages; adding to the cultural landscape not only Los Angeles, but ultimately to the silver screen. The Center provided a diverse platform of inclusivity for individuals and organizations alike who were often denied or selectively excluded from access to the mainstream. Inner City Cultural Center was characterized by considerable influence. Those introduced to the West Coast , and in some cases the world, by Inner City found themselves steeped in opportunity, training, exposure, ultimately realizing some success in the industry of their choice. Testimonials to that effect can only be documented, recorded, distributed, and preserved as a part of our collective creative, historic and cultural history. By doing so, a cultural record of the individual, organizational, and city’s legacy is maintained by the people who created it.
Therefore, the objectives of the 3-year/3-phase program includes 1) connecting with many ICCC alumni; 2) conducting interviews to document oral histories; 3) organizing and cataloging the 50-year archival history of Mr. Jackson’s ICCCC archives; 4 ) documenting milestone events; 5) preparing, researching and planning the 2nd publication of the "Out of Ashes" book and documentary film; 6) building awareness of ICCC; and 7) initiating the development of a strategic business plan to design, erect and operate the LAICCC C. Bernard Jackson Memorial Library which will house the collective archives of arts-based institutions and individuals who remain committed to diversity and inclusion in the city of Los Angeles.
· Adolph Caesar – (Academy Award Nominee, “A Soldier’s Story”)
· Alvin Ailey – (Alvin Ailey Dance Company)
· Arthur Mitchel – (Dace Theatre of Harlem)
· August Wilson – (Pulitzer Prize Winning playwright, “Fences” and “The Piano Lesson”)
· Beah Richards – (Academy Award Nominee, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner”
· Carmen De Lavallade – (“House of Flowers”, Agnes De Mille’s American Ballet Theatre)
· Carmen Zapata – (“Villa Alegre”, Bilingual Foundation for the Arts, Founder)
· Charmaine Jefferson – (Former Executive Director, California African American Museum)
· Denzel Washington – (Academy Award Winner, “Glory”, “Training Day”)
· Edward James Olmos – (Zoot Suit)
· Eric Laneuville – (“St. Elsewhere”)
· Ernie Hudson – (“Ghostbusters”, “OZ”)
· Felton Perry – (“Magnum Force””, “Robo Cop”, “Medium Cool”)
· Forrest Whitaker – (Academy Award Winner – “The Last Scotsman”)
· Frank Silvera – (Tony Award Nominee, “Lady of the Camellias”; Theatre of Being, Founder)
· George Takei – (“Star Trek”)
· George Wolf – (Tony Award Winner, “Angels in America”, Tony Nominee, “Jellies Last Jam”)
· Glynn Turman – (“A Raisin in The Sun”, ”Cooley High”, “The Wire”)
· Kim Fields – (“Facts of Life”, “Living Single”)
· Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs – (“Welcome Back Kotter”, “Cooley High”)
· Louis Gossett, Jr. – (Academy Award Winner, “An Officer and a Gentlemen’; “Roots”)
· Luis Alfaro – (“Pico Union”, Bitter Homes and Gardens” “Oedipus El Rey”)
· Luis Valdez – (“Zoot Suit”, Teatro Campesino, Founder)
· Lulu Washington – (“Avatar”; Lulu Washington Dance Theatre, Founder)
· Lynn Whitfield – (“The Women of Brewster Place”, “The Josephine Baker Story”)
· Mako – (Academy Award Nominee, “Sand Pebbles”; East West Players, Founder)
· Malcolm Jamal Warner - (“The Cosby Show”)
· Marla Gibbs - (“The Jeffersons”, “227”)
· Maurice Kitchen – (Street Corner Renaissance)
· Mel Carter – (“Hold Me Thrill Me Kiss Me”, “Band of Gold”)
· Michael Alexander – (Executive Director, Grand Performances; Former Chair,
California Arts Council)
· Mickey Stevenson – (Motown’s First A&R Man, “Dancing in the Streets”, It Takes Two’;
“Show Girls”, “Swan”)
· Nobuko McCarthy – (“Pacific Heights”, “The Karate Kid, Part II)
· Paul Winfield - (Academy Award Nominee, “Sounder”)
· Peter De Anda – (“Come Back Charleston Blue”, “Cutter”)
· Robi Reed – (Emmy Award Winner, “The Tuskegee Airman”; BET Talent & Casting Director)
· Rose Portillio – (“Exorcist II: The Heretic”, “Happy Birthday”)
· Rusty Cundieff – (“Movie 43”, Chapelle’s Show, “Fear of a Black Hat”)
· Sab Shimono – “Jackie Chan Adventures”, Waterworld”, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”)
· Sidney Poitier – (Academy Award Winner “Lilies’ of the Field”, Academy Award Nominee,
“The Defiant Ones”)
· Shelia Scott Wilkinson – (Theater of Hearts/Youth First, Founder)
· Terry Carter – (“Battlestar Galactica”, “McCloud”)
· Tim Dang – (East West Players, Executive Director)
· Wendy Raquel Robinson – (“The Steve Harvey Show”; Amazing Grace Conservatory, Founder)
· Wren Brown – (Ebony Repertory Theatre, Founder)