On Saturday, October 17, from 6pm-9pm P.S.T, Bakewell Media and the Los Angeles Sentinel will present the Taste of Soul Online and On-time Virtual Concert, Sponsored by Hyundai. The virtual event will feature a wide array of talent. Participants can access the Taste of Soul event via livestream at www.tasteofsoul.org.
The anticipated virtual show will be 6pm-8pm P.S.T and will feature musical performances by artists such as: After 7, Anthony Hamilton, Deborah Joy Winans, Doug E. Fresh, En Vogue, Fred Hammond, Kool Moe Dee, MAJOR. and more! The show will be hosted by comedian and actress, Kym Whitley. Local politicians and community leaders will be featured to discuss information about health, voting and current events. There will be celebrity appearances by Darrin Dewitt Henson, Dr. Bobby Jones, Faithe C. Herman, Kim Fields, Lamman Rucker, Loni Love, Wendy Raquel Robinson and more! DJ Mal-ski will host the final part of the show: the Virtual Taste of Soul House Party from 8pm-9pm P.S.T.
Known from her frequent appearances on Larry David’s groundbreaking HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm” or “The Tom Joyner Morning Show,” a nationally syndicated radio program, Kym Whitley is a multi-talented comedienne, actress, activist, author and —mother. Originally from the Cleveland area, Kym has been based in Los Angeles for years. She was a schoolteacher in Compton back in the day but always loved performing and, especially, comedy. A chance encounter with the legendary Redd Foxx (who told her she had “the comedic goods”) led her to pursue acting more seriously. Her first was in the Shelley Garrett play “Beauty Shop,” which started in L.A. and wound up doing a national tour. In the mid-to-late 90s, Kym appeared in “Married with Children,” “Moesha” and “The Wayans Brothers” among others. Kym is also no stranger to the big screen. Her first big film role was as Auntie Suga in the 2000 film “Next Friday.” Since then, she has appeared in “The Nutty Professor,” “Along Came Polly,” “College Road Trip” and dozens of other films. She also voiced the character Melonee in 2011’s “Rango.” As of late, some of Kym’s projects have become more personal. She adopted her son Joshua in 2011 when he was just three-days-old. Oprah Winfrey tapped Kym for the reality TV series “Raising Whitley,” which ran on the OWN Network and essentially told Kim and her son’s story. In addition to all her work as an entertainer, Kym is a dedicated activist. Her ‘Don’t Feed Me’ campaign started out as something she did for Joshua but evolved into an ongoing, high profile project to raise awareness of food allergies for children and adults. Kym holds an honorary doctorate from UVa — Lynchburg and serves on the boards of both The Jefferson Homes Adoption & Foster Home and The Special Needs Network.
DJ Mal-Ski is a DJ and producer, who crosses musical and cultural genres. He has worked with many artists that include Kanye West, Mary Mary, and Stevie Wonder to name a few and has been one of the featured DJs on 102.3 KJLH FM. DJ Mal-Ski has performed at a variety of venues being the official DJ at the L.A. Coliseum for the L.A. Rams, USC Trojans and at The Staples Center for the L.A. Sparks. He has also been a DJ at The Grammy Award Luncheon, The NAACP Award Breakfast to name a few venues. DJ Mal-Ski’s current residencies include Morongo Casino in Palm Springs, and H.O.M.E. in Beverly Hills. As a producer, Mal-Ski has worked with R&B artist, Kenny Lattimore on his album “Anatomy Of A Love Song,” and singer and actress, Jill Scott’s #1 R&B album, “Light of The Sun.” Mal-Ski released an EP, “Light Show” in March 2017, which he aimed to set a new standard in music. He has also composed and written theme songs for television shows for several networks, composed and written original scores for award-winning independent films such as “In Disbelief”and for award-winning theatrical productions such as “From The Edge.”
Anthony Hamilton is a GRAMMY® Award winning singer, songwriter, producer, and actor, who has achieved global sales of over 50 million albums. The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame inductee notably performed for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle, cementing his place in the history books as the “narrator of love.” His raw, awe-inspiring performances garnered the attention of NPR, where he starred in their Noteworthy documentary series. He appeared in “American Gangster” and lent his voice to “Freedom” from the Academy® Award-nominated “Django Unchained.” Additionally, he became the “first R&B artist to sell an album at Cracker Barrel.”
The first human beatbox in the rap world, Doug E. Fresh amazed audiences with his mouthed imitations of drum machines, effects, and samples of hip-hop classics. He made his first appearance as an artist in 1983 on a single for Spotlight called “Pass the Budda,” with Spoonie Gee and DJ Spivey. His introduction to most hip-hop fans was with his performance in “Beat Street” behind the Treacherous Three. His first solo feature came in 1984, with “Just Having Fun,” waxed for Enjoy, and “Original Human Beatbox” for Vinentertainment. In 1985, he was one of the biggest names in rap music, and his first single for Reality, “The Show/La Di Da Di,” became a hip-hop classic. His first LP, 1987’s “Oh, My God!” featured most of his showpieces, like “Play This Only at Night” and “All the Way to Heaven,” along with nods to reggae and even gospel. In 1988, he released his second album, “The World’s Greatest Entertainer,” which reached the Billboard thanks to single, “Keep Risin’ to the Top.”
Active since the mid-’80s, Fred Hammond is one of the most popular praise & worship leaders in contemporary gospel music. He began singing with his church choir at the age of 12, played bass and sang with the Winans during the early ’80s, then joined Commissioned later in the decade, showcasing his skills in arranging, production, and songwriting. Hammond’s solo career began in 1991 with solo releases or as group efforts featuring the choir Radical for Christ, and has won Dove and Stellar awards. While with Verity, Pages of Life: Chapters I & II (1998), “Free to Worship” (2006), and “God, Love & Romance” (2012) topped Billboard’s gospel chart. Hammond’s “I Will Trust” (2014) hit the Top Gospel albums chart the week of its release. He followed with the live “Worship Journal” in 2016. In 2018, he returned with “Uncle Fred: Texture of a Man.” Hammond has worked with a cross-generational, gospel musicians, including the Williams Brothers, Yolanda Adams, and Israel & New Breed.
Mohandas Dewese, better known by his stage name Kool Moe Dee, was one of the first rappers to earn a Grammy Award and was the first rapper to perform at the Grammys. In 1986, he went solo, releasing a self-titled album that ranked 83 on Billboard. Kool Moe Dee released his second album, “How Ya Like Me Now?” which was his most successful album commercially, achieving platinum status. He then went on to release his third album, “Knowledge Is King” in 1989, which went gold.
In an industry full of imitators, En Vogue distinguished themselves as innovators in both fashion and music. Their album “Born to Sing” went nearly double platinum and the hits kept coming: “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” the Aretha Franklin remake “Giving Him Something He Can Feel” and “Free Your Mind” came from the “Funky Divas,” their 1992 sophomore effort, and “Don’t Let Go [Love]” from the “Set It Off” soundtrack and EV3, their third album in 1996 and 1997 respectively. They also joined forces with pioneering female rappers Salt-N-Pepa for 1993’s “Whatta Man,” an ode to good men everywhere. To honor En Vogue’s 30th anniversary, Rhino/WMG has released an expanded and remastered digital version of a 21-track collection featuring a selection of rare mixes, many of which are only now available digitally.
MAJOR. is a contemporary R&B singer and songwriter whose work is rooted in classic soul with a pop influences. His career took off after he signed with Harmony Samuels’ B.O.E. Music Group. He released his debut album for the label, “I Am MAJOR.” in 2016. The single “Why I Love You,” earned the admiration of legendary artists such as Stevie Wonder and Patti LaBelle and peaked at number five on Billboard’s Adult R&B Songs chart. This success was followed in 2017 with songs “Honest,” a remix of “Why I Love You” featuring Shaggy and Rock City, and the artist’s third charting single, “Spend Christmas with You.”
The multi-talented Darrin Dewitt is known for his role as ex-convict and family man Lem Van Adams on the hit Showtime series “Soul Food.” In 2015, Henson was featured in the film “Chocolate City,” an African American version of “Magic Mike.” An incomparable choreographer, he has worked with artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears and ‘N Sync. Henson got his start with the late legendary Hip-Hop DJ, Scott La Rock of Boogie Down Productions at age 14, when he joined La Rock’s Vermont school tour. Darrin Dewitt Henson has hosted for Taste of Soul’s StarQuest Talent Competition.
The Taste of Soul Virtual event welcomes multi-talented performers and artists: AFTER 7, Deborah Joy Winans, Lamman Rucker, Loni love, Kim Fields, Dr. Bobby Jones, Faithe C. Herman, Wendy Raquel Robinson and Jade Novah.
After 7 are Grammy and American Music Award nominees with a distinctive R&B sound, that reached a 30-year musical milestone in 2019. In 1988, original members Kevon Edmonds, Melvin Edmonds and Keith Mitchell were brought to Virgin Records by legendary hit-making duo Antonio “L.A.” Reid and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds. Their self-titled 1989 debut album reached platinum producing two #1 Billboard R&B singles, reaching top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, and were certified gold “Can’t Stop” and “Ready Or Not.” In 1992, their sophomore project, “Takin’ My Time” was certified gold: reaching #8 on the Billboard R&B Albums chart. In addition, After 7 released 2 singles “Nights Like This” used for the film soundtrack “The Five Heartbeats” and “Not Enough Hours In The Night” for the TV soundtrack “Beverly Hills 90210.” Their 3rd album “Reflections” released in 1995, spawned the lead single, “Till You Do Me Right” another Top 10 hit. Two compilation albums “The Very Best Of After 7” (1997) and “The Best Of After 7” (2003) were also released. In May 2019, the group and fans worldwide mourned the sudden loss of original member Melvin Edmonds. In the late summer of 2019, songwriter and vocalist, Danny “SkyHigh” McClain succeeded Jason Edmonds. Recipients of the NAACP Image Award, After 7 has continued to date to be honored with countless awards and accolades.
Actress and singer Deborah Joy Winans starred in the OWN family-drama series “Greenleaf” from Executive Producer Oprah Winfrey. Winans and her brother Juan starred as their real-life aunt and uncle, Cece and Bebe Winans on stage in the musical “Born for This.” The play, written by Bebe Winans and Charles Randolph-Wright (Motown) was performed in Atlanta and Washington DC at The Arena Stage. Winans was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and is part of the renowned gospel Winans family. Contrary, to her family’s musical legacy, she was passionate about acting and the singing came later at the age of 18 when she was asked to act and sing in a church theatrical production.
Lamman Rucker made his television debut in the year 2002 when he was cast for the role of T. Marshall Travers in the television soap opera “As the World Turns.” His most popular role came as Garrett Williams in “All My Children” in the year 2005. He has worked in many television shows which includes “All of Us,” “Law & Order,” “House of Payne,” and most recently “Greenleaf.” He got his movie debut in 1998 when he was cast for the role of Jimmy Ruffin in the movie “The Temptations.” He known for portraying the role of Sheriff Troy in the movie “Why Did I Get Married” and it’s sequel “Why Did I Get Married Too.” He is also known for the popular role of Will Brown in the 2008 movie “Meet the Browns.” In his career, he has worked in several movies which include “The Bachelor Party,” “Black Coffee,” and “The Man in 3B” to name a few.
While in college, Loni Love she began dabbling in stand up loving every minute of captivating an audience with her comedy. When she graduated college, she took an engineering job in California, which worked for both her chosen vocation and her ‘side-gig’ as a comedienne. She quickly became a regular at the legendary Laugh Factory, working during the day as an engineer and at night doing her comedy. In 2003, she was a finalist on the revived Star Search, and not long after, Loni won the Jury Prize for Best Stand-Up. From there, she was invited to showcase on HBO’s U.S Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. At this point, it was time to make a career change towards comedy. Love is currently a co-host of “The Real,” the one-hour daily talk show on Fox stations. Most recently, “The Real” has received a 2019 Daytime Emmy nomination for Best Talk show as well as Loni and her co-hosts receiving the nomination for Best Talk Show Hosts. The show was nominated for four EMMY Awards, including Outstanding Talk Show, and won the EMMY for Outstanding Entertainment Talk Show Hosts. The Real also won a 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Talk Series.
Kim Fields is a veteran actress, director, producer and writer. Fields is best known for her starring roles in two iconic shows: “Living Single” and “The Facts Of Life.” She has also appeared in many other film and television projects, including HBO’s “The Comeback,” TBS’s “Meet the Browns,” Lifetime’s “The Division” and “Strong Medicine,” and A&E’s “The Cleaner”. Fields he joined the cast of Bravo’s “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” for one season. She also competed in season 22 of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” Additional recent roles include the television movie “A Cross to Bear,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and Hallmark Channel’s “For Better or for Worse.” Fields starred in her third Holiday Love Christmas special, which she also produced, co-wrote and directed. She has directed hundreds of episodes of television on programs, including TV One’s “The Rickey Smiley Show,” Nickelodeon’s “Kenan & Kel,” FOX’s “Living Single” and BET’s “Let’s Stay Together.” She also directed two of Tyler Perry’s TBS series: “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne.” Fields is an award-winning film director and was awarded the honor of Director of the Year for her work on the short film Silent Bomb by the Black American Cinema Society.
Bobby Jones is a Grammy Award–winning Gospel music singer and television host from Nashville, Tennessee and the host and executive producer of several cable television’s gospel music program including “Bobby Jones Gospel.” Jones has produced programs for BET since 1980, consistently ranking in the Top 5 of overall BET weekly programming. In addition to his work for BET, Jones produced and hosted a similar half-hour program for WDCN-TV (now WNPT), Nashville’s public television outlet, during the early 1980s. Bobby Jones Gospel lays claim to offering the first prime exposure to several Gospel music solo artists and groups including Kirk Franklin, Mary Mary, Yolanda Adams, and Smokie Norful. Other artists featured have included Albertina Walker, Patti Labelle, and Dorothy Norwood. Jones also hosts shows for other television networks including Bobby Jones’ Next Generation on the Gospel Music Channel and Bobby Jones Presents for The Word Network. On radio, he is the host of “Bobby Jones Gospel Countdown” in addition to the “Bobby Jones Radio Show,” which is heard on Sheridan Gospel Network. Jones also oversees the Nashville Super Choir. The choral ensemble boasts prominent soloists and serves as the vocal collective for his BET series. Jones is also the recipient of a Dove Award, three Stellar Awards, and a presidential commendation from President George W. Bush. Jones has authored two books, his 2000 memoir, “Make A Joyful Noise” (St. Martins Press). In 1999, Jones released “Touched By God” (Simon & Schuster), a collection of inspirational stories by top Gospel artists about how God has changed their lives. Dr. Bobby Jones, leader of The Nashville Super Choir, has now opened his own production studio, Visions, located in Nashville, TN.
Faithe C. Herman started working in the Entertainment Industry doing background work with Kids Management. In August 2014, she signed with BMG Model & Talent, going on numerous auditions. Faithe had her big break when she auditioned for her first pilot, then titled, “The Untitled Dan Fogelman Project.” After two auditions, Herman landed the recurring co-star role of Annie Pearson in December 2015. Soon after shooting the pilot in January 2016, The Untitled Dan Fogelman Project, became “This Is Us.” Faithe is now a series regular on the show. In 2019, Herman starred in the superhero film “Shazam” with Zachary Levi, where her adult version was portrayed by actress, Meagan Good. When Herman has free time she loves taking ballet classes, dance & art.
Wendy Raquel Robinson is a Best Actress NAACP Image Award recipient, known for her groundbreaking roles as ambitious, leading women on television. With a plethora of projects under Robinson’s belt, some of her credits include, Comedy Central’s scripted Motor City comedy series, “Detroiters.” She also has a recurring role on Netflix “Dear White People,” and HBO “Insecure.” She recently portrayed “Mrs. P” in ABC’s bold, provocative drama “Grand Hotel.” Her additional film credits include “Miss Congeniality,” “Something New,” “Rebound,” “Two Can Play That Game,” ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” Nickelodeon’s “See Dad Run,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” “The Parkers,” “One on One,” ABC’s hit animated show, “The Proud Family,” “Family Guy,” “Cedric the Entertainer’s Presents!” and NBC’s “Minor Adjustments.” Her recent theatrical roles include JeCaryous Johnson’s “Things Your Man Won’t Do” and “Extremities,” directed by Brent Jennings. Her passion for educating youth interested in the performing arts allowed her and the late Tracy Coley to create a platform for youth; they co-founded Amazing Grace Conservatory, a theatrical training institute, that for over 20 years has been servicing at-risk youth, ages 5-18 years old, training and developing them as emerging well-rounded, culturally-aware artists. Notable alumni include: Issa Rae, Ashton Sanders, and Aldis Hodge to name a few. Robinson was honored as one of KJLH 102.3 2017 Proven Achievers, the 2017 recipient of Selective Corporate Internship Program (SCIP) Humanitarian of The Year Award, and Junior Achievement of Southern California’s, and a “Spirit of Achievement Award.” She was also honored with a Torch Award, “Spirit of Dance Award” for her philanthropic work in the Los Angeles community. In 2019, Amazing Grace Conservatory was named as one of California’s 2019 Non-profits of the Year.
Versatile contemporary R&B singer and songwriter Lindsay Fields combines her love of both music and acting under the alias Jade Novah. After working as a backup singer and a songwriter-for-hire, she made her recording debut as Novah with the “Shades of Jade” mixtape in 2012. Novah is also known for her musical sketch comedy videos and her fully produced cover videos, including a version of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” that got over ten million views on YouTube. After a random meeting, Missy Elliott, she sang backup on her 2003 album “This Is Not a Test!” Later, Fields earned a spot as a backing singer on tour for the Tyler Perry show “Madea’s Big Happy Family.” Deciding to focus on songwriting, she began attending writing camps while networking as a songwriter in New York and L.A. She eventually landed a publishing deal, and wrote songs for the likes of Mya, Melanie Fiona, and Christina Milian as part of the writing group the PenUp Dolls. Over the next few years, Fields continued to find work as a songwriter and touring vocalist (Rihanna, Lady Gaga), all the while continuing to work on her own music. Jade Novah’s official debut album, “All Blue,” followed in mid-2018 via Let There Be Art/Empire.
Taste of Soul is a community event that highlights SoCal’s Black cultural experience fused with diverse cultures and traditions. The COVID-19 pandemic canceled the street festival due to social distancing guidelines. The 15th Annual Taste of Soul Goes Virtual event will keep the tradition going, keeping everyone safe and bringing the best in entertainment.
For more exciting line-up announcements, go www.tasteofsoul.org or follow us on Instagram and Facebook! Stay tuned in your weekly L.A. Sentinel (print and digital) for more information on how you can support Black businesses.