(L-R) Tyler Williams, Dillesha Davis, Adeshole Adeye, Roman Combs, Aumahn Washington (creds: Mesiyah McGinnis/LA Sentinel)

NXT LVL, a program powered by TecLeimert, offered their amazing expertise in showing off the 2022 Taste of Soul Family Festival.  

NXT LVL is a free program that provides opportunities for under resourced youth to leverage existing affinities for social media and culture, as well as develop professional skills in the creative economy. In a twelve-week program, applicants learn the basics of digital marking and other tech-related subjects, and then are paired with an industry expert to mentor them.  

Six interns worked with our Taste of Soul team for two weeks to ensure that the TOS (@tos_streetfestla) and LAS (@lasentinel) social media pages were ready to go for the beloved festival. Each intern specialized on a specific social media outlet, investigating analytics, making graphics, and even fun and engaging content to get people excited. Some had attended TOS before, while others were experiencing this representation of the community’s love for the first time.  

“My first experience with Taste of Soul was in elementary school,” shared NXT LVL intern and business owner Roman Combs (@tarzanofla). “I really love it. I loved seeing the people, and the environment, and loved the energy of the people that worked there [at TOS/LAS]. It was very welcoming, and it was like family.”  

NXT LVL Intern and young business owner Dellisha Davis (@yesndeedees) also shared that she’s been going to Taste of Soul “probably since the very first one.” 

“I really like working here,” she shared when asked about her experience on the team. “The behind the scenes work that goes into the festival is crazy. You guys don’t’ even have a big team, but you make it happen.” 

NXT LVL intern and Filmmaker Aumahn Washington had spent years assisting her aunts in their vendor booths at Taste of Soul. This was her first time working behind the scenes, however. 

“Taste of Soul is definitely for the culture,” she shared. “Being from South LA, it’s so cool to have an event that’s on Crenshaw, see all these Black businesses and booth, and recycle the Black dollar.” 

NXT LVL intern, Justyce Reliford even made sure to help out with the TOS festival from Atlanta, Georgia. “I had a great experience overall,” she said when asked about her time on the team.  

NXT LVL intern, Tyler Williams (@thesuperiorcleaners), experienced Taste of Soul for the very first time. He joined TecLeimert’s program to help promote his own brand as well as his family’s business Superior Cleaners (5661 Angeles Blvd.).  

“Taste of Soul was really fun. I loved the food and seeing everyone…after being inside for so long, it made things feel back to normal,” said Williams with a smile. “I really hoping to work here, again, next year, and already have ideas on what we could do to enhance our digital platforms.”  

Without the help of these interns, capturing the excellence of Taste of Soul would be almost impossible. Capturing the diversity and beauty of this special event is not easy, and a job that takes a team. These gifted and brilliant young minds worked endlessly to ensure the story of Taste of Soul was told before, during, and even after the festival.  

“I cannot Thank enough these Bold, Brilliant, Black interns provided to us thru TecLeimert’s NXT LVL program.  These young people handled all of our social media needs for Taste of Soul.    Like so many of my generation, we know nothing about today’s various media platforms, but with the help of my grandchildren and young people like the team from TecLeimert I know that Taste of Soul is in good hands and can carry on the legacy of our community speaking for itself.”  Said Founder & Creator of Taste of Soul Danny J. Bakewell Sr.  

For more information on NXT LVL or TecLeimert and their work, visit https://tecleimert.org/nxtlvl/ 

For more information on Taste of Soul, visit https://www.tasteofsoulla.com.