Inspired by a civil rights icon, Real Moms Live stages a community-building cultural fair at Playa Jefferson

By Michael Aushenker

Nelson Mandela defeated apartheid and inspired  the world Photo by Cate Gillon /Getty Images

Nelson Mandela defeated apartheid and inspired
the world
Photo by Cate Gillon /Getty Images

“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela

Marriage and family therapist Latoya Boston is on a mission for moms.

As founder of the matriarch-focused family support network Real Moms Live, Boston has formed a network of about
1,000 local women who gather in small groups for sessions on emotional intelligence, the experience of parenting and
not losing oneself to the job of motherhood.

In keeping with that community-building spirit, on Saturday Boston is hosting a free celebratory day of food and fun dedicated to the civil rights icon whose ascension from political prisoner to president broke down barriers of institutionalized racism in South Africa.

“A Day of Culture: Mandela Lives Cultural Fair” takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. at Playa Jefferson, the same Playa Vista-adjacent shared creative space complex where Boston hosts her workshops and discussion groups.

The family-friendly activities roster includes finger foods, face-painting and live entertainment that includes Afro-centric reggae and elementary school youth dance troupe the Alliekits. The mom-centric vendors list includes Jamberry Nails, Younique cosmetics, Lacris Bouique clothing, candle-warmer boutique Scentsy, Jeunesse skincare products, coffeemaker Organo Gold, Silpada Jewelry and Kristi Tacos.

It’s not as though anyone will forget the late Nelson Mandela, an icon of bridging racial divides who was imprisoned 27 years before becoming the first black president of South Africa (1994 to 1999).

If a Playa Vista tech hub seems an unlikely location for such a celebration, Boston says it shouldn’t.

Mandela’s story transcended South Africa to represent a more universal triumph over injustice, and so, as February marks Black History Month in America, Boston chose to pay tribute to Mandela’s life and mission.

Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Boston earned her B.A. in psychology at Paine College in Georgia before returning to L.A. and earning her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Antioch University in Culver City.

Mother of three middle-school students and a two-year-old, the entrepreneurial Boston formed Real Moms Live as a way to reach out to her Los Angeles peer group “because there was no place for mothers who were upper middle class to get together — where moms can be open and honest without backlash, judgment and making themselves open to negative comments,” she said.

Since forming her group last August, Boston says her roster includes 1,018 moms with children from elementary to college age. Some Real Moms Live members attend four groups throughout Los Angeles conducted by Boston, including weekly sessions at Playa Jefferson.

“It’s a place where people can talk about anything, from how to do something as a mother with kids to some of the issues we struggle with about marriage and relationships,” Boston said.

Boston specializes in emotional intelligence — how to use emotional information to guide behavior and thinking — and lectured on the topic last Saturday at the Westchester – Loyola Village Library on Manchester Avenue.

Though it hasn’t been a long one, Boston’s journey running Real Moms Live has been an eye-opener.

“I love meeting new people. I like hearing stories. It really broadens my perspective. It really just gave me another perspective on who we are as individuals,” said Boston, who has plenty good to say about local parents.

“Westchester mothers, they are so awesome. Anytime I need something, they’re gathering and fundraising. If a crisis happens, they’re consoling each other. It’s such an inviting community. I’m looking to bridge a connection with the mothers in Westchester,” she said.

In the Mandela spirit, Real Moms Live is staging its first-ever community event to see “selfless people of different races coming together and sharing,” Boston said.

“A Day of Culture: Mandela Lives Cultural Fair” runs from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at Playa Jefferson, 12777 W. Jefferson Blvd., Del Rey. Free. Call (323) 285-0882 or visit