Taste of Soul is more than a family festival, it is also an economic empowerment festival designed to spotlight our Black businesses in and around South Los Angeles. Although the COVID-19 pandemic canceled all events for 2020—our support for these businesses is never canceled. To that end, Bakewell Media has launched the ‘Support a Black Business Advertising Campaign.’
“As the community knows, unfortunately, Bakewell Media had to cancel the 2020 Taste of Soul. In its place, the company made the decision to create a campaign that highlighted and supported our local Black businesses. We are calling upon all of our partners, sponsors and major corporations to step up and underwrite the advertising/marketing campaigns of our local Black businesses. These businesses need our support now more than ever, and it is only through our collective efforts that we can come through this pandemic with our businesses still in tack,” said Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Chairman & CEO of Bakewell Media, Chairman and founder/creator of Taste of Soul.
To say 2020 is an unprecedented year is an understatement, as COVID-19 has taken a toll in more ways than one. Unfortunately, it has become glaringly clear that the Black community is bearing the brunt of this devastation in more ways than one. Black businesses are in crisis right now and in need of support. As a community, we must collectively come together to save these businesses which not only provide goods and services to the community, but provide jobs, empower families, and make our community stronger.
A recent survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research, showed that from February to April of 2020, the U.S saw the largest drop in businesses on record. The survey also shows there was a 41 percent drop in Black businesses due to COVID-19 restrictions and social distancing mandates. Although there are government and local initiatives to help businesses stay afloat, Black businesses have had less access to these resources than their White counterparts and require a greater need for community support and corporate assistance. The Black Business Advertising Campaign seeks to be that extra boost that these community businesses desperately need.
“Most of the businesses within our community cannot afford an advertising campaign and have lost anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of their revenue because of this pandemic. Businesses have had to reorganize and recalibrate in order remain open. It will take years for these businesses to recover,” said Bakewell. “The pain of this economic hardship has resulted in a need for businesses to promote and advertise in more creative ways today, including new hours of operation, delivery options, online orders and other new services.”
In order to promote these businesses and to encourage our community to support our local Black businesses, the advertising campaign program is designed to provide assistance and help them secure the desperately needed advertising and outreach mechanisms these businesses often find challenging to afford. Even in the best of times, our local businesses often find themselves with the lack of resources needed to secure this level of outreach. Having the benefit of an outreach and advertising campaign, that is designed to increase exposure and to draw in more customers, could be a lifeline to business owners trying to keep their doors open. The goal is to provide information that serves as a reminder that these businesses are still open and desperately need and welcome the community’s patronage.
We can help by shopping with Black businesses locally, and on site for those who offer outdoor seating, or ordering for online delivery or take out. We want to remind everyone that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over, so we encourage all to continue practicing social distancing and by wearing masks whenever indoors or outdoors and avoid large gathering. There are a number of Black businesses out there who need our assistance and we encourage our entire Taste of Soul Nation to join us in supporting these businesses today and throughout the year.
Through the Black Business Advertising Campaign, the LA Sentinel is recruiting major companies with the resources needed to help these local Black businesses.
To receive more information and support the campaign, please contact Nicole Williams, Taste of Soul/LA Sentinel project manager, at nicolew@lasentinel or 323-299-3800.