Get Ready for 'A TASTE OF SOUL'Â Danny J. Bakewell, Sr.
Â Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Councilmember Jan Perry
Councilmember Bernard Parks
Councilmember Herb Wesson
Eric Benet Norman_BrownBebe WinansGet Ready for a 'TASTE OF SOUL'
The fourth anniversary of the biggest street festival in Los Angeles promises to be bigger, better and livelier than ever before featuring Grammy Awards artists and entertainment for the entire family.
By Yussuf J. SimmondsSentinel Managing Editor
Jasmyne CannickSentinel Contributing Writer
Since the Bakewell family took over the Los Angeles Sentinel five years ago and Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. became the executive publisher, the newspaper has continued its 75-year tradition of service to the community - from its quality to its content. In keeping with Bakewell's work as a community activist, the Sentinel has instituted a website to complement the printed news medium and to reach the younger, technically savvy readership. But most importantly, Bakewell has introduced a Taste of Soul, the largest street festival in Los Angeles that attracted over 105,000 attendees in 2008. This year's festival promises to exceed last year's figure as evident from its website www.tasteofsoulla.com which has been viewed over 100,000 times in the past week.
According to Bakewell, "The Taste of Soul is for you. This festival is for the community and by the community and has been from its inception in 2006. It's a dream realized now four years in a row to see Crenshaw Boulevard packed from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Rodeo Road with every kind of shade of Black in shapes and sizes. Nothing compares to standing on stage and looking out at your people smiling, happy, and carefree together in that one moment. That's why we do it." That portion of the Crenshaw Strip will be blocked off for a day of family-fun, entertainment and great cuisine.
In addition to the Sentinel, Mothers In Action, 94.7 the Wave, Radio Free102.3 KJLH will be the co-hosts in collaboration with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Council-members Jan Perry (D-9), Herb Wesson (D-10) and Bernard Parks (D-8) in whose district Taste of Soul is held.
"The collaboration is key," notes Taste of Soul producer, Brenda Marsh-Mitchell. "Without support from our corporate and government partners, this couldn't happen."
This year's festival goers will be styling and profiling to the smooth sounds of Grammy Award winning jazz recording artist Norman Brown who is set to headline the 94.7 FM The Wave stage at Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.; and Grammy Award nominee, R&B singer, Eric Benet and gospel vocalist, writer and producer, BeBe Winans who will keep the party live on Radio Free 102.3 FM KJLH stage at Crenshaw and Rodeo Road.
With corporate partners, including the Walt Disney Company, FOX 11, MY 13, and more, the Taste of Soul has grown exponentially in size each succeeding year, and is now one of the most anticipated events in Southern California. Disney is again excited to be a part of this year's event that it has invited the public for "a sneak peek at our exclusive collection from Disney's The Princess and the Frog."
Along with Benet and Winans, the KJLH stage lineup will also have Antioch Church of Long Beach, BonJour, Funkalicious, Greater Zion Church, Kingdom Worship Choir, Lenny Williams, Margo Thunder, Michele, Mo'Betta Experience Band featuring Indira Khan, PJ Morton, Sounds of Blackness, Statik 5, The Sylvers Reunion featuring Foster Angie and Pat, Wadada, Yolanda Harris and Yoyo.
And in addition to Brown, the Wave stage will also feature Alana, Chosen Gospel Recovery, DW3, Eric Darius, Gail Johnson, Ray Fuller, Sai Whatt Band and So You Think You Can Dance.
The announcement of The Wave's headlining smooth jazz artist Norman Brown, the guitarist, singer, and songwriter who recently released Stay With Me, his very first album for the Peak Records label will be performing from this breezy, warm collection of 10 original tunes for festival goers. Brown is known for his tasty grooves, ear-caressing melodies, and delicious contemporary guitar licks that manage to evoke the spirit of the classic jazz guitar giants who originally inspired him.
Headlining the Radio Free 102.3 FM KJLH stage will be Eric Benet and the inspirational gospel vocalist, BeBe Winans where the church choirs will be blessing the microphones with the kind of soul-filled gospel music that festival goers look forward to year after year.
"The Taste of Soul is more than just a festival just like the Sentinel is more than just a newspaper," explains Sentinel executive editor, Danny J. Bakewell Jr. "It's an opportunity to network; a chance to make things happen and build bridges in our community. For our Black businesses, it's a lifeline in a tough economy."
The Taste of Soul will once again feature a mile of food, business and community vendors offering discounted and free services to participants, including a health pavilion where festival goers can have their eyes checked, get flu shots, and get tested for HIV. Lining Crenshaw Boulevard on both sides of the street from one stage to the other will be hundreds of vendors all looking forward to greeting Taste of Soul festival goers. After the cancellation of this year's African Marketplace and Cultural Faire, many local vendors have found opportunities to connect with the community far and few between. The Taste of Soul offers them the unique opportunity to market their products and services directly to the consumer.
In addition to the aforementioned, this year's festival will feature a wide range of sponsors including: Assembly Speaker pro Tempore Isadore Hall III; L.A.U.S.D. Board Member, District 1, Marguerite Poindexter LaMotte; Arbitron; The Beverly Hilton; The Brotherhood Crusade; Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza; Budweiser; California Financial Services of America (CFSA); Department of Cultural Affairs; Farmers Insurance; The Gas Company; Get Connected; Good Neighbor Pharmacy; Health African American Families; Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Los Angeles; L.A. Care; L.A. County Arts Commission; Mc Donald's; MoneyGram; Metro PCS; Sheraton Universal Hotel; The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites Los Angeles; and the Wilshire Grand Los Angeles Hotel.
To get in early on the planning of the 5th Annual Taste of Soul set to take place Saturday, October 16, 2010, please call (323) 299-3800 or log onto www.tasteofsoulla.com, ground zero for all things Taste of Soul and listen to Radio Free 102.3 KJLH and the 94.7 The Wave.