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Taste of Soul Empowers Community
By Brian W. Carter, Staff Writer
Published October 1, 2015
For 10 years, Taste of Soul has been an engine circulating the Black dollar throughout the Black community. Sentinel File Photo

For 10 years, Taste of Soul has been an engine circulating the Black dollar throughout the Black community. Sentinel File Photo

Presented by Bakewell Media, Taste of Soul (TOS) celebrates 10 years of being so many things—a community celebration, an entertainment extravaganza and the #1 family festival in Southern California. In a decade, the number of attendees has grown from an estimated 35,000 to over 350,000 attendees that come to Crenshaw Boulevard every year. One of the most important aspects of TOS is its ability fuel the economic engine in the Black community.

Over the years, vendors, businesses and mom-and-pop shops have become a part of TOS nation. Founder and creator of TOS, Danny J. Bakewell Sr. laid the blue print of a vision that not only celebrated food, entertainment and community, but created a foundation for economic empowerment.

TOS’ broad appeal allows for many small Black businesses to come face-to-face with their consumers and new customers. Corporate sponsors have been lured back over and over again by the sheer over powering numbers of individuals with whom they could not reach otherwise.

The festival helps business and start-up ventures to gain a foothold and become a brand. It’s a positive ripple effect that creates an engine for financial success that generates a wave of revenue in the Black community.

TOS has been fortunate and blessed to have partners and sponsors who have seen the value and importance in the festival. Some of those sponsors include: AT&T, Southcoast Air Quality Management District (AQMD), Bank of America, California Endowment, Charles R. Drew University, JPMorgan Chase Co., Comerica, County of Los Angeles, Easy Choice Health Plan (HMO), Fox Audience Strategy, Buick, L.A. City Workforce Investment Board (WIB), Metro, Metropolitan Water District, Nestle Waters, Nielsen, California Resources Corporation, SEIU Local 2015, Southern California Edison, Southern California Gas Company, US Bank, Verizon Foundation, Walmart, Walsh/Shea, Watts Healthcare and Wells Fargo.

Bakewell media and TOS welcomes McDonalds as a sponsor bringing the Inspiration Celebration Gospel Tour to the Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Gospel Stage this year, which debuted last year. Being one of the co-founders of TOS, the late Marsh-Mitchell also designed and managed the gospel stage at every TOS and arranged for appearances by both local and national artists. The stage was renamed in her honor.

In recognition of the Ronald McDonald House Charities 41st anniversary, this year concertgoers will have the opportunity to learn about the charity and the important role it plays in helping families heal and thrive in their local community and worldwide.

The festival has also attained an impressive list of partners that have contributed to TOS becoming what it is today. Those partners include: Radio Free 102.3 KJLH and 94.7 The Wave, CBS2-TV, Brotherhood Crusade, Metro, Ivie, McNeill and Wyatt, CHP, LAPD and AAUC

“We Are Incredible Together”, “Let’s Celebrate” are themes that Bakewell has coined over years for the festival. This year “We Are Beautiful Together” and Taste of Soul says thank you to the community for continuing in making this an annual success. Come celebrate our 10th Anniversary on Crenshaw Blvd. (between Rodeo Rd and Stocker) on Saturday, October 17 from 10-7pm.

For more information, please visit www.tasteofsoulla.org. Don’t forget to download the Taste of Soul mobile App for the up-to-date information, prizes, giveaways, vendor locations, food and entertainment throughout the day. Please visit and like Taste of Soul on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

brian@lasentinel.net

Categories: A Taste of Soul | Local | News
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