It is rather fitting that more than 50,000 people will be showing up this week to celebrate my 30 years with the Sentinel as Taste of Soul unveils itself to the world again on Sat. Oct. 13 on Crenshaw Blvd.
Not in my wildest dreams did I expect to be here after arriving to the offices on Central Ave and 43rd Street as a bushy haired teenager fresh out of Fremont High School.
During that time in 1977, my dream was to be a sports broadcaster, following in the footsteps of my idol and mentor Brad Pye Jr.
Little did I know that God would have others plans for me along the way such as working as playground supervisor at South Park Elementary School, as operations assistant at Houlihan, Lokey, Howard and Zukin, as an assistant in the Reproduction Dept. at the Los Angeles County District Attorney Office and of course as part-time talk show host at the original KMPC radio station.
Brad and my late friend Brock Brockenberry were the first two pioneers to integrate the Coliseum press box and it was Brad who opened the doors for this reporter when the Raiders moved here.
I took my first plane ride courtesy of the Raiders as a beat reporter for the team to San Diego a year after they relocated and subsequently traveled throughout the United States with the team thanks to Brad and Raiders owner Al Davis.
My first Sentinel owner, the late Ruth Washington, was fantastic. Mrs. Washington nurtured me with kid gloves and taught me that courtesy paid my salary.
Mind you that my salary back in those daze was just $40 per week, but I got the concept and throughout the years, I have come to understand the privilege of working for an Institution such as the Sentinel.
That journey began as a prep sports writer who chronicled such athletes as Denver Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, Crenshaw basketball star “Big” John Williams who went on to LSU and the NBA but never fulfilled his enormous potential.
Baseball stars Eric Davis and Darryl Strawberry at Fremont and Crenshaw, respectively, Kennedy track stars Sherry and Denean Howard and Locke’s “Choo Choo” Knighten.
Jordan basketball stars such as Larry Friend, who went on to star for USC, and Jordan football player Darryl Divinity, who played for Henry Washington, currently the head coach at Southwest College.
Manual Arts basketball coach Reggie Morris was one of my all-time favorites and his players were as gifted as any in the region, the list is long with such stars as Dwayne Polee and Henry Williams and Dave Shepard.
Now Reggie has a son, Reggie Jr, who is as equally talented in coaching as he is and Polee has a son who is probably going to be a lottery pick.
Time flies when you’re having so much fun and the Sentinel has come a long way from Royal metal typewriters and recycled paper to the high tech computerized item it is today and it’s all good.
So good, in fact, that the writers and readers have never had it so good with the visionary ownership of the Bakewell Family, spearheaded by Danny Sr. who has been fighting for justice for Blacks in this community as long as I’ve been writing about it, so it just became a perfect fit for him to assume ownership.
A shaved head replaces the high rising Afro and the belly button is expanding with every meal. My only child is carrying my name in college and my alma mater Fremont can’t win a football game.
Nonetheless, life is good here at the Sentinel and home in the hood.’