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Erica Campbell, Kenny Lattimore, and Ruff Endz Backstage at the Taste of Soul KJLH Stage
By Keith Underwood, Contributing Writer
Published October 20, 2022

Erica Campbell Performing on the Taste of Soul KJLH Stage (Keith Underwood/L.A. Sentinel)

One of the most important ingredients to guarantee a successful Los Angeles Sentinel Taste of Soul Family Festival is of course the food, but the other is the music.  And it cannot be just any music — it must be music that feeds the soul.

After three years away from the Taste of Soul KJLH Stage, the audience was served treat after treat until it was left hungry for more.

Feeding their voracious appetites with delectable blends of music were the soul-stirring sounds of inspirational songstress Erica Campbell, the slow and smooth melodies of fan-favorite vocalist Kenny Lattimore, and the bounce-your-head beats of R&B duo Ruff Endz.

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The overwhelming sentiment expressed by each of these acts was their joy of engaging with the live audience, the sense of unity, and their pride in serving the community.

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The beautiful Erica Campbell, dressed in a gorgeous black and silver, leopard-print tracksuit, was joined backstage by her adorable daughter, Zaya.

Kenny Lattimore Backstage with wardrobe stylist (Keith Underwood/L.A. Sentinel)

Campbell’s “mini-me” exuded the same professional poise as her mother.  She quickly made a U-turn when she saw Campbell participating in this interview.  Campbell herself, after a moving, “help somebody” performance, politely asked if she could dry off her face before continuing with the conversation.

Of course, this writer obliged.  Once she returned, an effervescent-as-ever Campbell said, “It feels like a family reunion; this feels like home.  I listen to KJLH, I live in L.A., I drive by the station, and it’s always good to be here because they’ve been here for me.”

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Campbell also says, “she doesn’t feel like a stranger in her own community” and she never feels “overwhelmed” when she is greeted by her own and they express how much they love her and her music.

Campbell was also excited to see several members of the California Worship Center (a Christian ministry led by her and husband Pastor Warryn Campbell), five of her sisters, her brother, and mother in the audience supporting her.  “Like I said,” says Campbell.  “It’s all family!”

In addition to her ministry work, Campbell says, she is excited to release her second solo album in the Spring of 2023, and she continues to host her radio show, Get Up!  Mornings with Erica Campbell.

Campbell also hinted toward the possibility of a Mary Mary reunion with her sister and co-member, Tina Campbell.  “I feel like I talk to Tina every day, and we talk about music every day.  We’re just waiting for the right time [to release a new album together].  We’ve done a few shows together, great things like the Super Bowl, and Mary Mary Verzuz Be Be and Ce Ce Winans.”

Ruff Endz Members Dante “Chi’ Jordan and David “Davinch” Chance (Keith Underwood/L.A. Sentinel)

Campbell continues, “I know the fans really want Mary Mary but we have to make sure we’re healed, whole and complete as individuals… and you need to take a moment for yourself.”

Campbell and her husband served as celebrity co-chairs of this year’s Taste of Soul.

Singer Kenny Lattimore, dressed in an all-white casual two-piece denim ensemble, wowed the audience with his new single, “Take A Dose,” and his classic hits, “Never Too Busy” and “For You.”

“It’s great to be here and it’s great to see all of my folks here in L.A,” Lattimore said.  He met each one of his fans, friends, and supporters with love, gratitude, and humility.

Ever modest despite his many career achievements, Lattimore is focused on the importance of connecting with his audience as real people.  “Man, I learned it from my mama and my daddy, keeping me in a place of realness that humanity is important, and that we recognize and love on one another as human beings,” he said.  “I try not to take that for granted.”

Many KJLH radio personalities and staff describe Lattimore as a long-standing member of the family and supporter of the Taste of Soul KJLH Stage.  KJLH, says Lattimore, helped him break his first single “Never Too Busy” and continues to support him with his new single “Take A Dose.”

“It is an honor to be here for KJLH and my good friend Stevie Wonder,” said Lattimore.  Wonder, the legendary recording artist, is the station’s owner.  “We’re such family that even when the station’s personalities crossover to other platforms,” added Lattimore, “they still include me and my music.”

After his performance on the Taste of Soul KJLH Stage, Lattimore said that he will continue promoting his new album “Here to Stay” and performing his legacy songs into 2023.

Kenny Lattimore and Ruff Endz (Keith Underwood/L.A. Sentinel)

The Baltimore, Maryland-bred R&B Duo Ruff Endz, best known for their chart-topping hits like “No More” and “Someone to Love You,” arrived backstage with a very large bodyguard. However, the pair greeted everyone with smiles and took plenty of photos with long-time fans.

Members Dante “Chi’ Jordan and David “Davinch” Chance looked roughly the same as they did during their debut back in 2000.  Jordan credited Los Angeles as “the place where it all started for Ruff Endz,” which recorded its debut album “Love Crimes” in the City of Angels.

Noted Chance, “We also shot the video for ‘No More,’ oh shoot, and ‘Someone to Love You’ out here… shout out to actress Malinda Williams who was in the video.”

Jordan promised the audience “a journey of R&B” that the audience will need to “buckle up for.”  And by the end of their performance, they delivered to their fans a hard and steady ride of pulse- pounding music.

Chance ended with, “It’s definitely a special show for us because of the radio station [KJLH] itself.  It’s one of the longest standing radio stations of our people, and it’s Stevie Wonder, one of our top three inspirations of all time.”

The 17th Annual Taste of Soul backstage LIVE from the KJLH Stage with Erica Campbell, Kenny Lattimore, and Ruff Endz is just a “taste” of what audiences can expect from future family festival musical events.

 

Categories: A Taste of Soul | Crenshaw & Around | Entertainment | Music
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