WYLLISA BENNETT, publicist du jour


LOS ANGELES – World renowned athlete, fitness and wellness advocate, television personality and popular TV home chef, Laila Ali is the 2019 Book Fair Ambassador for the 13th Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF). She will be signing her new cook book, “Food For Life,” and introducing her new line of spices and at the literary event, which kicks off Saturday, August 24, 2019 in Los Angeles.


The 13h Annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair (LPVBF) fair will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (BHCP), located at 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. This year’s theme is: “We Do This for the Culture: Celebrating Our Collective Culture.”


The book fair will be held inside the mall to create a more intimate, “salon experience” of entertainment. The main stage will be transformed into a kitchen-like setting with authors and panels, presenting “table-talk discussions” about topics relevant to the African American community. Such topics include criminal justice policies and the need for prison reform since a disproportionate number of people of color are affected by mass incarceration. 


In embracing this year’s theme of “We Do This for the Culture,” it’s a reminder of the book fair’s commitment to promote reading and literacy in an entertaining, engaging, and informative way that benefits the whole community. Ali’s participation with the book fair  is consistent with its lineup and programming during its 12-year run. Over the years, the LPVBF has featured best-selling and celebrity authors, chefs, tv personalities, entertainers as well as scholars, and poets, offering an intellectually-stimulating day, promoting literacy. The book fair’s tribute to the love of reading cleverly merges the worlds of literary, entertainment, and culinary arts, offering an eclectic mix of literature, art, music and food.


LAILA ALI | 2019 Leimert Park Village Book Fair Ambassador

Ali is the daughter of the late, beloved global icon and humanitarian, Muhammad Ali. Following in her father’s footsteps, she is also a four-time, undefeated boxing world champion, whose stellar record includes 24 wins -- 21 of which were “knockouts” -- and zero losses. Ali is the most successful female in the history of women’s boxing.


When the 2012 Olympics included women’s boxing for the first time, Ali became the first woman in history to provide expert commentary for NBC Sports. She was also a regular panelist and contributor for the CBS Sports Network’s all-female sports commentary program, “We Need to Talk.” It was the first of its kind in the history of sports broadcasting. In addition, for two consecutive years since its conception in 2015, she was selected as host of the er televised ESPN Sports Humanitarian Awards.


Audiences have also witnessed Ali’s competitive nature in various reality competition shows, like “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Dancing with the Stars.” A home chef, Ali previously appeared twice on Food Network’s celebrity edition of “Chopped,” and emerged victorious as the champion. Continuing her passion in the kitchen, Laila was the host of “Late Night Chef Fight,” an exciting food truck cooking competition show that has aired for multiple seasons on the FYI Network.


Currently, Ali is the host of Emmy Award-winning show, “Home Made Simple,” which airs every Saturday on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). She is very excited about her new cookbook "Food for Life,” available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble bookstores everywhere. Ali has also created her own line of organic seasonings, called “Laila Ali Spice Blends” and a high-quality line of nutrition supplements called YouPlenish.


“We are absolutely thrilled to have Laila Ali serve as our 2019 Leimert Park Village Book Fair Ambassador,” said Cynthia Exum, executive producer and founder of LPVBF. “In and out of the ring, Laila is a champion and wonderful role model for young women around the world, and a true testament to her father’s legacy of empowerment and humanitarianism. Sports fans and home cooks alike will have a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to meet and greet this great American athlete. Laila Ali is a true winner. ”



LPVBF will celebrate its 13th Anniversary with interviews, book signings, panel discussions, musical entertainment and a variety of activities for the entire family.  Book fair highlights include literary and educational exhibitors; an authors court; a health and wellness zone; a children’s reading zone; plus special exhibits and film screenings, including programming to commemorate “The 400th Year of Return for the African Diaspora.” As always, the book fair will end on a high note with an old-fashioned jam session


The book fair will feature a panel discussion, titled “Conversation: Writing the Geography of the Blood,” with former Poet Laureate of Los Angeles Luis J. Rodriguez, who served from 2014 -2016. For Rodriguez, poetry is soul talk, a prophetic act, a powerful means to enlarge one's presence in the world. He is also a novelist/memoirist/short story/children's book writer as well as a community and urban peace activist, mentor, healer, youth and arts advocate. Rodriguez has 15 books in all genres, including the best-selling memoir, "Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A." His latest memoir is the sequel, "It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions, and Healing."


In addition to Rodriguez, there will be various “table-talk discussions” and inspirational stories from special guests authors including:


·      Trisha R. Thomas – the author of “Nappily Ever After,” now adapted into a Netflix film, starring Sanaa Lathan and Lyriq Bent. Both the book and movie tell the story of Venus Johnson, who has been cultivating a relationship with Clint Fairchild, supporting him through medical school and hoping to end up as a doctor's wife. But at 34, she's run out of patience with Clint's reluctance to commit. She ends their relationship and sheds her shoulder-length, chemically-straightened hair in a bold act of liberation.

·      Gregory Williams – the author of “Switch, DeBarge, Motown & Me.” A member of the R & B band, Switch, Williams takes his readers on a musical journey, where the quest of following one’s dreams can sometimes take an abysmal dive. In TV One’s  biopic "The Bobby DeBarge Story,” Switch is featured in a  huge story line, and Williams' character is played by the singer, Lloyd.


·      Regina Louise -- the author of her memoirs “Somebody’s Someone” and its follow up “Someone Has Led This Child to Believe,” released by Agate. Both books chronicle her journey through foster care. Throughout her life, Regina navigated through more than 30 foster care homes and psych wards in California.  Abandoned. Neglected. Abused. Regina’s memoirs tell how she not only emerged from a cruel and unjust foster care system, but she survived and flourished. Her life story of resiliency caught the attention of Hollywood. Lifetime aired the television move adaption of her book, called “Somebody’s Someone,” in April 2019, starring Ginnifer Goodwin. Currently, the movie is On Demand.


·      Remi Adeleke – the author of “Transformed: A Navy SEAL’s Unlikely Journey from the Throne of Africa to the Streets of Bronx, to Defying All Odds.” Born of West African royalty,   Adeleke and his family re-locates permanently to the Bronx, New York, following the death of his father. After years of making regrettable decisions, Adeleke joined the Navy in 2002, and later became a Navy SEAL


·      Aya De León -- an award-winning author, activist, educator and spoken word poet. De León brings readers a gritty, politically charged tale of murder, loyalty, and settling old scores with her new book “Side Chick Nation,” the latest installment in her critically-acclaimed Justice Hustlers series.


·      Shaun Sinclair – an Army veteran and originator of the Gangsterotica sub-genre. Sinclair continues to chronicle the Dirty South’s most infamous crew with his newest book, “King Reece.”  The underground sensation and author returns with a new tale of life on the streets with the release of “King Reece,” the second novel in his critically acclaimed Crescent Crew series.


The book fair is free and open to the public. For more information about the Leimert Park Village Book Fair, visit



The LPVBF is produced by Exum and Associates in collaboration with the Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas (District 2), Los Angeles City Council President Herb J. Wesson Jr. (District 10), Los Angeles City Councilman Curren D. Price Jr. (District 9), Los Angeles City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson (District 8) as well as The Southern California Gas Company, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and Capri Capital Partners and Baldwin Hills Crenshaw. Philanthropists and art historians Dr. Bernard W. and Shirley Kinsey serve as the book fair’s Honorary Chairpersons, leading the fundraising efforts and increasing the book fair’s brand awareness in the corporate community.


The Kinseys are one of the most admired and respected couples in Los Angeles. They are known for their collection of African-American art, books and manuscripts that document and tell the remarkable story of African Americans triumphs and struggles from 1632 to the present. The Kinsey Collection: “Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey” has been on a national tour and seen by millions. 


Cynthia Exum, an alumnus of the prestigious California State Senate Fellows program, holds a master’s degree from UCLA’s School of Urban Planning and Public Policy. She founded Exum and Associates, a public affairs and events management firm in 2005. Exum is also the co-author of “Images of America: Leimert Park,” with Maty Guiza-Leimert -- the wife of Walter H. Leimert, whose grandfather developed the area in 1927. 



The mission of LPVBF is to promote, encourage and advocate literacy, education and the love of reading throughout the Greater Los Angeles areas. LPVBF is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to producing year-round educational programming, as well as the presentation of events in collaboration with our partners, in addition to the annual summer fair for which the organization is named.



Visit us at

Like us on Facebook:

Follow us on Twitter @LeimertParkBF

Follow us on Instagram: @LeimertParkBF


“Voted One of LA’s Five Best Annual Book Festivals”