Darrell Booker focuses on tech acceleration within nonprofit communities. (Courtesy photo/Microsoft)



Coming up at Taste of Soul, on October 15, Bakewell Media will present its first ever “Digital World,” a full-on immersive, family-friendly experience featuring a podcast booth, gaming station, virtual reality, video games and more, all powered by TecLeimert and sponsored by Microsoft. 

 “As part of our continuing growth of Taste of Soul and the Bakewell Media Brand, we are excited to partner with Microsoft to bring to the community Digital World powered by TecLeimert. In an era where streaming, podcast, virtual intelligence, gaming, social media, and even the internet is a part of our everyday lives; adding a new digital element to Taste of Soul is simply the maturation of what Taste of Soul is and will become in the years ahead.  We pride ourselves on bringing to the community the BEST that there is to offer, from entertainment to food to art and good old fashion family fun for everyone, so this new digital component is simply  a demonstration of this commitment as Taste of Soul and the community celebrate our 17th year  of operation,” stated Danny J. Bakewell, Sr., Founder/Creator of Taste of Soul and Chairman of  Bakewell Media. 

Darrell Booker, Corporate Affairs Specialist and NTA Lead at Microsoft, explained the genesis of this critical partnership.  

“No more than a week after the killing of George Floyd, Microsoft put out a set of commitments, and looked across our entire company and said ‘what can we do to address racial injustices,’” Booker recalled in an interview with Bakewell Media’s Daily Brief anchor Niele Anderson.  

“Whether it was from our human resources and recruiting standpoint and how we are working more with HBCUs and recruiting more Black talent…getting more Blacks within leadership…providing capital to minority-owned banks…bringing in more Black suppliers, we kind of look on the education side, bringing our computer science program to more schools within Black and Brown communities.” 

This is all being done in service of ending the digital divide. Microsoft, which is sponsoring the Daily Brief on Mondays and Fridays, has even put a justice reform team in place to work on issues such as police diversion and prosecutor education, tangible programs strategically designed to bridge the larger gap. The multinational technological corporation’s mission is “to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” 

Booker, whose team heads up focus on tech acceleration within Black nonprofit communities, noted, “That’s exactly what our technology can do; when we look at…disparities across this country, and we look at our Black community and how we can improve their lives, technology plays an unbelievable role.”  

Attendees of Taste of Soul will have the opportunity to sample Microsoft’s state of the art software for themselves as well as gain more intimate knowledge of the company’s new program launches. A demonstration of a podcast recording will take place live at the festival as well. 

 All will be facilitated in partnership with local innovative non-profit TecLeimert.  

TecLeimert co-founder Rashidi Jones promised, “We’re going to create a digital world in partnership with Microsoft and Bakewell Media to have something at Taste of Soul that never existed.”  

Booker has worked closely with Jones in putting this together, and he is excited to bring these offerings to the community.  

 “Tech is at the center of everything, so for them to come and experience…virtual and augmented reality within Digital World, that’s going to be really key,” promised Booker. 

 Taste of Soul attendees will also be able to interact with members of the Microsoft team directly and learn firsthand about affordable devices and improve their digital literacy. Additionally, any nonprofit board members, leaders or volunteers can become acquainted with a new initiative to design and bring free software and engineer support to nonprofits doing vital work in the community.  

 Booker emphasized, “[They will] be able to sign up for that tech acceleration program right there on the spot.”  

   It’s all happening at Crenshaw and Coliseum. Learn more at tasteofsoulla.com, facebook.com/tasteofsoulla, twitter.com/@tasteofsoulla, instagram.com/tos_streetfestla.