The Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Gospel Stage (BMM) will be among the highlights at 12th Annual Taste of Soul set for Saturday, October 21, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., along Crenshaw Boulevard from Rodeo Dr. to Stocker Blvd. The BMM stage will be located at the intersection of Crenshaw and Martin Luther King Boulevards.
Thanks to the Southern California Black McDonald’s Operators Association (BMOA), several chart-topping national artists will join local performers in bringing gospel messages of hope and joy at the nation’s largest family festival.
Uniting local and national talent to perform on the BMM stage is collaboration between local McDonald’s owner/operators and Pastor Kelvin Sauls of Holman United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.
Tye Tribbett, Bishop Hezekiah Walker, Bishop Paul S. Morton, Brian Courtney Wilson, Anita Wilson, Jekalyn Carr, Paul Porter, Donald Lawrence, Lonnie Hunter and Christian comedienne, Small Fire will perform as part of McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour.
Local artists include Holman United Methodist’s Jubilant Voices, Ward AME Praise Team, West Angeles Church of God in Christ, Bishop Kenneth Wells and Karyn Wiggins of the Inland Empire, Donald Taylor and LA Mass Choir, and Renee Spearman.
BMOA, who sponsors the McDonald’s Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour, actually has a long history of presenting gospel music in the L.A. area, according to Reggie Webb, one of the first African-American McDonald’s owner/operators in Southern California and former chair of the Southern California BMOA.
“We’ve put on a gospel fest for 22 consecutive years. Lindsay Hughes, an operator here, ran it for 19 years. And then, we [brought] the Inspiration [Celebration] Gospel Tour to LA, and have expanded it every year,” said Webb.
McDonald’s operators like Nicole Enearu – second-generation franchisee and the first African-American female chair of the McDonald’s Southern California Regional Leadership Council – recognize the impact of showing a younger generation of African-Americans that they too can be entrepreneurs.
“In a city like Compton, that is predominately minority, it is important for people to see they too can be business owners and role models in their own community,” said Enearu, whose family enterprise with mother, Patricia Williams, and sister, Kerri Harper-Howie, now spans 13 local McDonald’s restaurants, including every location in Compton.
“We support our schools, churches and provide employment to the people [in the communities we serve]. Our employees live here. We have vendors that we hire here. If something is happening in the community, we want McDonald’s to take part,” said Williams.
Kiana Webb-Severloh, BMOA president, added, “My passion stems from literacy and really encouraging communities to band together to grow and create villages,” said Webb-Severloh, who owns five restaurants in the Inland Empire and oversees operations for a total of 16 as the president of Webb Family Enterprises. “People who can understand reading and cognitive development have an opportunity to change themselves and the community in which they live.”
The Webb family, which includes father, Reggie; mother, Renee; and brother, Kyle; has put together the beginning stages of a foundation that focuses on literacy, partnering with Pomona Unified School District on a pilot program that focuses on independent reading at home and in the classroom.
“Back in the day, it was a village that raised families,” said Webb-Severloh. “Teaching that moving forward, giving back and having my family involved is the biggest blessing to my life.”
Lindsay Hughes, who grew up in Watts and is one of 24 children in his family, currently serves on the Southern California McDonald’s Board of Directors. Hughes was the founder and chairman of the McDonald’s Gospelfest, which ran for 22 years and raised nearly $300,000 for numerous non-profits. Today, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House as well as on the board of trustees for the 101 Ways to Save a Child Foundation, among other organizations.
This year’s Inspiration Celebration Tour will again support the Southern California chapter and its six Ronald McDonald Houses located throughout the region. All funds raised directly support families who need a home away from home as their ill child undergoes lifesaving medical treatment. Since 2012, the tour has helped raise more than $510,500 for local RMHC Chapters, with this year’s Tour alone generating $240,000 in funds to date.