Oral Histories

Interview of Reve Gipson

Editor and Freelance Writer for the Los Angeles Sentinel, California Eagle Newspaper, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and Sould Publications. Founder of the annual Youth on Parade Community Achievement Program. Commissioner of the Los Angeles County Music and Performing Arts Commission.
Black Women Activists in Los Angeles, 1950-2000
African American History
Stevenson, Alva Moore
Gipson, Revé
Persons Present:
Gipson and Stevenson.
Place Conducted:
Los Angeles Sentinel office in Los Angeles, California
Supporting Documents:
Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library's Center for Oral History Research.
Interviewer Background and Preparation:
The interview was conducted by Alva Moore Stevenson, Interviewer and Program Representative, UCLA Center For Oral History Research; B.A., English and M.A., African American Studies (Latin American Concentration), UCLA. Stevenson prepared for the interview by reviewing biographical materials of Gipson's life and career in addition to secondary sources on Black women activists and the history of Blacks in Los Angeles. Stevenson, as a native of Los Angeles, was already well-versed in much of the history of the Black community.
Processing of Interview:
The transcript is a verbatim transcription of the recording. It was transcribed by a professional transcribing agency using a list of proper names and specialized terminology supplied by the interviewer. Gipson was then given an opportunity to review the transcript and made a number of corrections and additions. Those corrections were entered into the text without further editing or review on the part of the Center for Oral History Research staff.
2.35 hrs.
Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
Series Statement:
This series documents black women’s activism in Los Angeles from 1950 to the present, showing how women’s roles in the professions and in religious, civic, and social organizations translated into community activism to address disparities in education, healthcare, housing and political rights and access.
Parents J.T. and Gertrude Gipson—Grandparents’ vocations—Ancestry related to President Andrew Jackson—Father’s education—Family’s migration to Los Angeles—Father the “Black” Walter Winchell at the Los Angeles Sentinel—Mother’s upbringing and education—Writer for the Herald Dispatch—Appointed first Black Commissioner by Governor Pat Brown— Publicist for entertainers—Founder of the Regalettes—Mother a jack-of-all-trades—Motivation behind the Regalettes—Nightclub and lounge owned by parents—Monday Celebrity Nights at Freddie Jetts’s Pied Piper—Mother as advocate for Black entertainers—Sidney Poitier— Central Avenue—Growing up on the Eastside of Los Angeles—Early education and employment—Advancing to publicist at Capitol Records—Publicist for Frankie Beverly and Maze—Growing up in both Eastside and Westside neighborhoods—Attending Virginia Road Elementary School—Edward Sparrell—Choir headed by Albert McNeil at Audubon Junior High—Attending Los Angeles High School—Central role of religion in Gipson’s upbringing— Beginnings of Youth on Parade—Inspiration and support of Uncle—Advertising program to local prostitutes—Raising money for water fountain—Support of Nation of Islam—Encountering racism in high school—Parents’ experiences with bias—Privileging light-skinned Blacks—Following mother to major in journalism—Emphasis on education—Articles on civil rights movement as Youth Editor at Los Angeles Sentinel—Jesse Jackson
Memorable teachers at Los Angeles High—Edward Sparrell—Capitol Records Building—Nat King Cole—Gipson’s social life as a young adult—Sleepovers at Cole home—Exposure to history and culture—More on Watts Rebellion—Police Relations in Black Community—Black Unity—Response to Rebellion—Town Hall meetings—Relationships with local Black government officials—Participation in election campaigns—Voting—Parents’ Wedding— Celebrities in attendance—Cohesiveness of Black community—Increased opportunities—Central Avenue—Gertrude Gipson’s career as a journalist—Mother promotes Black entertainers—Parents write for California Eagle—Gipson first Black publicist at Capitol Records—Influences and Mentors—Reverend Grant Harris—Shaping Black music—Innovating press conferences at Capitol Records—Controversy surrounding Natalie Cole—Sugar Ray Robinson Foundation—Nation of Islam—Louis Farrakhan—Cross-cultural interactions—More on the Regalettes—Groundbreaking garden parties—Mother redefines gender roles—Opportunities for Black youth.
Gertrude Gipson’s influence on African American entertainers’ roles—Gipson’s writing for other publications—Gipson’s role on California Motion Picture Development Board—Youth on Parade and its success stories—D.J. Rogers—Donations for scholarships and charitable organizations—Role in the church--Why Youth on Parade never “went on the road”—Other churches try to replicate Youth on Parade—Multicultural and interfaith nature—Politicians and clergy who helped—Commissions served on—Other organizational involvement—Songwriting--Writer and Youth Editor for Los Angeles Sentinel—Articles written on entertainers—James Brown.