Sparks Celebrate Black History Month

The Los Angeles Sparks will celebrate Black History Month by participating in a series of events throughout the month of February with local organizations and schools. The activities include a Black History Month-themed poetry slam, National African-American Read-In Day, an essay contest with the 74th Street School and an opportunity for you to win tickets to an upcoming show of Dreamgirls at the Ahmanson Theater.

Click on each event for more information:

Sparks Host Black History Month-Themed Poetry Slam

National African-American Read-In Day

74th Street School Essay Contest

Win Tickets to See Dreamgirls!

Sparks Host Poetry Slam at Da' Poetry Lounge

The Sparks tipped-off their Black History Month celebrations on Tuesday, February 16 with a sizzling poetry slam at Da' Poetry Lounge in Los Angeles.

Eager spectators arrived early and began lining up nearly an hour before the slam was due to start. Once the doors opened, a standing-room only crowd of nearly 200 buzzed with excitement and the house DJ kept the energy flowing.

The Sparks' own Vice President and General Manager Penny Toler and Director of Communications Alayne Ingram were the night's guest celebrity judges.

Seven contestants vied for a pair of Sparks tickets. They performed prepared and improvised poetry and spoken word pieces themed around Black History before the packed house of poetry enthusiasts.

The slam went two rounds, with each participant given three minutes per round to perform their pieces. They were judged on a scale of 0 10, with the highest score of the over both rounds declared the winner.

The poets, who perform under names like Azi Kwai and In Q, stood at the mic and spoke to their own rhythms -- some slow and meaningful and others spitfire and full of passion. The crowd whooped and cheered for each of them,

and offered up boos to any judge (Penny and Alayne included!) who gave the performers anything less than a 10.

Despite the good-natured ribbing, the Sparks judges enjoyed themselves and were fair in their assessments. The eventual winner, Mr. Poetic, got the biggest cheers to go along with the highest score and a chance to see the Sparks play at STAPLES Center.

The night provided a thrilling jump-start to the Sparks' Black History Month activities.

National African-American Read-In Day

On Friday, February 19, the Sparks will continue their Black History Month celebrations with National African-American Read-In Day at 74th Street Elementary School in Los Angeles. Sparks Director of Communications, Alayne Ingram, will read an African-American genre book to students, in an effort to increase awareness and literacy. Sparky will also be on hand to show-off his dance moves and take photos with the students.

Black History Month Essay Contest

The Sparks are partnering with the 74th Street Elementary for their Second-Annual African-American Hero 4th and 5th Grade Essay Contest. Students will be writing an essay on the various important contributions African-Americans have made throughout history.

The winners were announced Wednesday, February 24. The top three essays will be posted on and will each receive 4 tickets to any 2010 home game and a Sparks Prize Pack, with the top entry also winning an opportunity to sit on the bench during warm-ups. Seven honorable mentions will receive Sparks goodie bags. CLICK HERE to read the top three essays!