The Taste of Soul celebrated 10 years of bringing hundreds of businesses to the Crenshaw community on Saturday, Oct. 17.
Since its inception, the festival that brings hundreds of thousands of people out has worked to showcase the different businesses in the Crenshaw and Black communities throughout the city.
“I started doing the Taste of Soul back in 2013 and it’s been a really good experience for me. It’s gotten me a lot of business. I’ve picked up a lot of references from doing Taste of Soul,” said Shawn Black, owner of Big Ronnie’s barbecue.
“It definitely shows unity for the Black community. You don’t see any problems out here. Everyone is being patient waiting in line. There’s great food, great entertainment. It’s just awesome all the way around.”
The festival, that’s reminiscent to a giant block party surrounding Crenshaw Blvd. and Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd., isn’t just about the party it was built for community-based economic impact as well.
The Taste of Soul continues to benefit and build long-term relationships with different businesses.
“We’ve been here all 10 years and it keeps us visible in the community. We’re located in the community, so we like to stay relevant and we like to support everything that goes on in our community,” said Vincent Paul, sales and marketing manager of LRS Plumbing.
“It brings the neighborhoods out and shows that Black businesses are flourishing and that people should support Black business.”
One business, and TOS regular, notes that this year is especially beneficial for them.
“A lot of people think that we’ve closed so a lot of people have been looking forward to seeing us here because we’ve been closed since the end of May with our remodeling,” said Jessica Legaux, one of the owners of Harold and Belle’s.
“At a time when we’re closed, it’s having a huge impact on our business. This lets people know that we’re still here, we’re still in the community.”
The Taste of Soul also builds a network for different resources offered outside of the Crenshaw community.
“We were here last year and because of Taste of Soul, we were able to recruit 500 new patients to our center so I really appreciate being here every year,” said Desirie Thomas, staff member of Watts Healthcare.
Taste of Soul was more than food, entertainment and fun. One of the major participants of the Taste of Soul was LA County. They offered a variety of health and welfare community services to the public.
Every year, the Taste of Soul continues to grow and showcase what Black communities have to offer throughout Crenshaw Blvd. It circulates money and creates a network for many different resources throughout the community.
“We’ve gotten lots of business, lots of likes, lots of attention and people knowing us throughout the city based on this. It’s great for the businesses, it’s great for the community,” said Byron Purcell, a partner at Ivie, McNeill and Wyatt, the largest Black law firm in the city.
“Eleven years ago, nobody thought that this could happen and it’s growing every year. It’s a wonderful partnership and we want to do it for the next hundred years. You get clients here that stick with you, so it’s great.”
Learn more on our Facebook and Twitter pages and download the Taste of Soul mobile app to see what businesses participated in the 10th Anniversary Taste of Soul Celebration.