Dr. Jeanette Parker (file photo)

(Thanks for reading) It’s fascinating to watch the growth of an idea, a seed, a dream. More than 350,000 neighbors attend yearly, Taste of Soul Festival. Many might like to know about its beginnings. “It’s been 14 years, now since beginning Taste of Soul Family Food Festival on Crenshaw Blvd. Bakewell Media boasts multiple thousands yearly visitors; an institution in the Crenshaw community and draws people from L.A. and beyond.

They come to enjoy live music and entertainment on more than five stages, delicious food from hundreds of vendors and shopping – including blocks and blocks of art, jewelry, clothing, beauty products as well as a plethora of free community services. The festival is family-friendly.  and known for being one of the largest and safest events in Southern California.

Originally founded by Bakewell Media CEO Danny J. Bakewell, Sr. in 2005, Taste of Soul has exponential growth over the years.  “The evolution of Taste of Soul has simply been about the care for Black people and wanting the best for our community,” says Mr. Bakewell,Sr. who wears a lot of hats: founder and creator of Taste of Soul; executive publisher of the Los Angeles Sentinel and L.A. Watts Times Newspapers and one of the founders and serves as Chairman of the Board for Mothers in Action, a founding member; chairman and former president-CEO of The Brotherhood Crusade and Chairman Emeritus of NNPA (Black Press of America).  Taste of Soul was birthed to reenergize the historical newspaper.

It’s ‘The Voice of Our Community Speaking for Itself’ for the newspaper, and It’s been a theme of my life; what I have lived for, trying to do things right here on Crenshaw BL with the community in mind,” says Mr. Bakewell. I wanted Taste of Soul to be in the community, for the community and hosted by the community.” With the help of his dedicated, longtime executive assistant, community activist Ms. Brenda Marsh-Mitchell, a key component to the Taste of Soul Legacy, who also served as the President of Mothers in Action – a Taste of Soul non-profit partner since its beginning — Mr. Bakewell got straight to work on the planning of the festival. “Brenda was at the core of everything at the Sentinel and of Taste of Soul.” We miss her dearly.”

Together, Bakewell & Marsh-Mitchell, The Sentinel & Mothers in Action put into action the task of developing a plan to bring Bakewell’s vision to Crenshaw.Mr. Bakewell chartered the support of city officials: L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks, City Council President Herb Wesson of District 10 and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Taste of Soul’s original radio partner was 100.3 the Beat, owned by Radio One (Cathy Hughes).  Following the sale of the Beat, 94.7 the WAVE and 102.3 KJLH became Taste of Soul’s radio partner and CBS2/KCAL9 joined as a TV partner.

Mr. Bakewell credits the media partnerships as well as the dire support of major corporate sponsors, city public safety agencies, public health agencies, universities, and more, for making Taste of Soul possible each year.Jeanette Grattan Parker, PhD. Founder/Superintendent Today’s Fresh Start, Inc. www.todaysfreshstart.org; www.askdrjeanetteparker.com; Inquiring Minds Want To Know© Read more online.