Cedric Walker wanted to create entertainment for the modern African American
audience. He found it in the least likely place.
Walker is the founder of UniverSoul Circus, the only black-owned and -operated
circus in America, which will make its first Inland Empire appearance at Fairplex
in Pomona, Aug. 17-22.
Dubbed as “Hip-Hop under the Big Top” by the Los Angeles Times,
shows feature international performers, all of African descent, and consist
of traditional circus acts with a touch of black soul. Acts include Acrobatic
Hip Hop Dancers and Salsa on the Highwire, performed to gospel tunes, jazz and
blues. Led by Ringmaster Shuckey Duckey, audiences dance and sing to the music
of James Brown and Luther Vandross, among others.
Each performance is a grand occasion, lasting two hours and supplemented by
state-of-the-art special effects, sounds, and laser show, all of which is transported
in about 10 trailers.
Since its debut in 1994, UniverSoul Circus has impressed audiences and critics
alike. The Atlantic Journal Constitution called the show, “Cirque du Soul.”
The Source commended them saying, “Soul for Real-UniverSoul Circus is
truly an event for us, by us,” and Parade magazine said, “It rocks,
it amazes, it teaches kids positive values-and it’s packing them in.”
After Cedric Walker invested in two successful musicals that focused on problems
facing African-American urban life, he realized people were hungry for a meaningful
message. Seeing the black community as largely ignored by the entertainment
industry, Walker along with a group of others gave birth to the idea of an all-black
circus. Walker is now committed to bringing the
big top show to black communities, with a scheduled 58 tour stops for two touring
acts this year alone. He also wants to deliver a meaningful message. Shows emphasize
family values, the importance of education, empowerment and self-esteem.
Tickets can be purchased at Ticketmaster, or www.ticketmaster.com. Admission
is $10 for 10:30 a.m. shows, and $17.50-$29 for other performances. Showtimes
are Tuesday-Friday, 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Saturday at noon, 4:30 and 8:00;
Saturday 1, 4, and 7. For more information on UniverSoul Circus contact Hank
Ernest at (404) 653-8706. china