By Julia Pierrepont III
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- "Our annual parade is a melting pot, with so many languages, like Chinese, Spanish, Armenian, Japanese, and Korean," the 88th Hollywood Christmas Parade's publicist Steve Moyer told Xinhua excitedly.
"Our Chinese group, Joyful China, from Southern California city West Covina and Beijing, are an absolutely gorgeous group! They are so good, musically, and visually stunning - the costumes, the dancers, the performers," he added.
The Parade on Hollywood Boulevard Sunday night, kicking off this year's holiday season, took on a distinct international flair, as performers, bands, acts and attendees came from all corners of the globe to participate.
Issac Ryan Brown, an articulate, rising young TV and music star from Disney's "Raven's Home" told Xinhua on the red carpet, "I've never been to China, but I would Love to go if you are handing out tickets!" he joked. "Everybody should be able to come down and feel the joy here. As far as bringing everybody in, let's do it!"
In an exclusive interview with Xinhua, top television host, Montel Williams, said, "it's all about everyone coming together over the holidays. Holidays may mean something different for different cultures, but holidays put a smile on everyone's face. This country has been so divisive the last few years, but here, everyone is welcome and can come together no matter where they're from."
TV star and producer, Laura McKenzie, who has been co-hosting the Hollywood Christmas Parade for the last 10 years told Xinhua, "We welcome visitors from all over Asia. Many come from China, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan."
As the host of the travel show, "Laura McKenzie's Traveler," she is no stranger to China and has been to Shanghai, Beijing, Xi'an, and many other cities there.
The show's producer, Lindsay Isom, was also enthusiastic about the more international tone of the event, "We have a Chinese dance troop this year, Joyful China, who are doing amazing traditional Chinese handkerchief dances; we have PAVA and KAYPA doing Korean performances, the Armenian Dance Academy, and other great international acts."
Meline Mailyan, from Unified Young Armenians, told Xinhua that they would be participating in the parade with a traditional Armenian dance in costume, set to cheerful music.
The musical group, Bank of Harmony's Jason Guffey and Tyler Ledon, who sing barbershop a cappella told Xinhua they were looking forward to sharing cultures with other performers from all corners of the world. "It's fantastic they are all here. We can't wait to meet them!"
Shelly Bates, dressed in a festive Mrs. Santa outfit liked the global vibe. "We have talent from all over the world and that's what makes it so amazing: dancers, performers, floats from different countries..."
The Parade's musical headliner, the legendary Queen of Soul, Dionne Warwick, shared some similar thoughts with Xinhua in an exclusive interview backstage. Though she loves the joy of Christmas, she recognizes that there is still a lot of work to be done to make our world "a better place."
"The world needs love - a whole bucketful, because some things are bad right now. We thought we were beyond it, but hate has reared its ugly head again in this country and we need to stop that. We've all gotten to the point where we are saying 'enough is enough!'"
Shawn Wayans, from the talented and prolific Wayans family, has an antidote to hate. He walked the red carpet with his life-size puppet "BOO CREW" television characters to talk about inclusion and diversity, "We've got a very positive message that teaches kids about good self-esteem," he told Xinhua.
"They go back to school and get nervous about how they should act or who they should pretend to be in order to fit in with the cool kids. Instead we teach them to just chill out and be themselves. Then the right people will love you for who you are."
When asked if he'd ever visited China, he replied, "We love China and would love to bring the Boo Crew kids there and all over the world. Kids everywhere need more self-esteem and a little bit of love..."
"Batman and Robin" actor, actor Burt Ward concurred. "As a world, we are one big people and it would be wonderful if we could all get along better than we have in the past."
Burt's wife, Tracy Ward, has had a soft spot for China since she was taken there by her parents as part of the very first tour that opened China to Westerners back in the mid 1970s.
They have a plan for fostering global harmony starting with sponsoring a special event on Jan. 9, Burt Ward's Global Batusi for World Peace Day, a performance contest taking place in selected spots around the world from Times Square in New York City to Australia.
"We hope in China too!" Burt Ward said.