Host Charles Babb interviewed panelists from different industries interconnected with technology. (Kimberly Shelby/L.A. Sentinel)



Innovative nonprofit TecLeimert dazzled attendees of Taste of Soul’s Digital World on Saturday, Oct. 15, just three weeks after its Black to the Future Conference with live podcast recordings of panel discussions with industry experts, immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences, a 360 photo booth machine complete with bubble gun fun, and multiple gaming stations, all highlighting the creative side of technology.

TecLeimert co-founder Rashidi Jones was able to apply some of the successful elements of the Black to the Future conference to the showcase at Taste of Soul.

“One thing we did this year that we’d never done before is, for every panel — gaming, film and tv, music, fashion and technology, each one had a throughline to an activation…an experience tied to it. It was amazing. It gave you [an opportunity to] look, see, feel, and touch what was just learned or heard about,” said Jones.

Children enjoy virtual reality experiences. (Kimberly Shelby/L.A. Sentinel)

Producer and creative designer of anime, video games, virtual reality experiences and much more, Charles Babb spoke about his background and expertise during a podcast recording, and Taste of Soul attendees had the opportunity to interact with the VR equipment and video games throughout the day. These markets are expanding, and giving young people, especially, the opportunity to negotiate these devices will prove critical to their skill-building and employability in the future.

Babb, who has spoken at schools to scores of children over the years, noted, “You put a child in a headset for the first time, they’re like ‘oh my God.’ [I tell them] you can make this, and as a matter of fact, you’re going to be better at making it than I am…Start now, all the tools are free, they’re finally free; there are no gatekeepers.”

Young people play at the Game Station. (Shelby Stephens/L.A. Sentinel)

Babb co-produces The Geekish Network and has navigated a career path that has found him exploring many facets of technology and of himself. He emphasized, “We have to teach our kids failure is part of the process. We have a school system that punishes failure. It should reward failure for people trying and educate them to be better. Celebrate successes.”

Successes of all kinds were celebrated in the panel discussions at Taste of Soul’s Digital World, which were lively and informative all around, featuring thought leaders from a range of backgrounds. Next week’s issue will delve into the stories of other Digital World panelists.

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Darrell Booker, Corporate Affairs Specialist and NTA Lead, James Fauntleroy II, Founder of 1500 Sound Academy, Singer, Grammy Award-Winning Songwriter, Producer, Sunny Jones, TEC Leimert Brand Strategist, Real-estate Agent. (Shelby Stephens/L.A. Sentinel)
Digital World x Microsoft x TEC Leimert Virtual Reality booth. (Shelby Stephens/L.A. Sentinel)
Bakewell Media Digital World step and repeat up close. (Shelby Stephens/L.A. Sentinel)