The 17th Annual Taste of Soul Family Festival (TOS) returned with a dramatic flourish as thousands of people filled Crenshaw Blvd., from Obama Blvd. to Stocker St., to enjoy the incredible culture of South Los Angeles.
The free daylong event, held Oct. 15 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., attracted a huge multicultural crowd to celebrate the diverse food, music and other elements rooted in the Black American experience. First presented in 2005 by founder/creator Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., TOS has grown to become a popular destination site as well one of the largest economic generators in Southern California.
“The evolution of Taste of Soul has simply been about the care for Black people and wanting the best for our community,” said Bakewell. “I’m simply overwhelmed at the response of our people who returned in big numbers – after a three-year absence – to support the biggest block party in all of Los Angeles!”
Among the highlights at TOS were four concert stages, high school and college bands, free health services, technical/digital booths and more than 300 vendors. For example, Los Angeles County hosted its major departments under one, long booth, giving visitors a one-stop shop to obtain housing, public health, and other resources. In addition, several banks assigned representatives to booths to share financial information with attendees.
Live entertainment was featured at Bakewell Media “Music for the Soul” Stage sponsored by Chevrolet, 102.3 Radio-Free KJLH Stage, the Brenda Marsha-Mitchell Gospel Stage sponsored by Yes on Measure A and Children’s World. Crowds of people also visited Digital World sponsored by Microsoft and Powered by TecLeimert and the Beer Garden hosted by Mothers In Action and KBLA.
“I can’t give enough thanks to our corporate sponsors, community members, small business owners and elected officials for joining with Bakewell Media to present this event,” noted Bakewell. “Taste of Soul is back – live, in-person and bigger and badder than ever!
Taste of Soul partners consist of The Bakewell Company, Los Angeles Sentinel, L.A. Watts Times, Mothers in Action, Brotherhood Crusade, 94.7 The Wave, County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, LAUSD, 102.3 Radio-Free KJLH, CBS/KCAL Los Angeles, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Mall and the Law Offices of Ivie McNeill Wyatt Purcell and Diggs.
Sponsors include Transportation Partner & Premiere Sponsor: Metro, Presenting Sponsor of the Bakewell Media Sounds for the Soul Stage: Chevrolet, Sponsor of the Bakewell Builds Better Communities Pavilion: HPP Cares, LA County, South Coast Air Quality Management District, Sponsor of Bakewell Media’s Digital World: Microsoft, Destination Crenshaw, SoCalGas Company, Chase Bank, Law Firm: Ivie, McNeill, Wyatt, Purcell & Diggs, SEIU 2015, LADWP, Metropolitan Water District, Bank of America, USC, Yes On A, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo, Watts Health, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, US Bank, One Legacy, Charles R. Drew University, UTLA, CTA, California Black Power Network, Southwest Carpenters Union, Cedars-Sinai, Spectrum News 1, Waymo, California Highway Patrol, Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital, Aventiv Technologies, Comerica Bank, Southern California Edison, Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Save Our Water, Private School Network, LAWA, Providence, Boeing, Blue Shield California, MidFirst Bank, NHS, Learn4Life, California Highway Patrol, TecLeimert, Commerce Hotel & Casino, Self Help Federal Credit Union, ConcertoPACE, Lee Andrews Group, MRKT Co, West Basin, LA City Workforce Development Corporation, Oscar, AT&T, Elite Auto Network & Verizon.
Photos by Kirk McClain, Larry Russell and Robert Torrence