On Saturday, October 17, the 10th Annual Taste of Soul (TOS) accomplished what it set out to do—celebrate 10 years of food, family and fun along the historic Crenshaw Blvd. Once again TOS proved why it’s the largest and best family festival in Southern California. Presented by Bakewell Media, TOS was created for the community to come together and promote unity and brotherhood within South Los Angeles.
The festival was attended by over 350,000 SoCal residents who came out to have a great time with friends, neighbors and family.
TOS has evolved into such as massive extravaganza that there is often not enough time for attendees to absorb it all. This year, the festival brought everything from Kaiser Permanente-sponsored free blood pressure exams, to four jam-packed entertainment stages, to vendors selling everything from BBQ, soul food, funnel cakes, to clothing and jewelry.
This was, by far, the most successful Brenda Marsh Mitchell Gospel Stage in its 10 year history. At least 400 hundred people kept the area directly in front of the stage filled all day. Danny Bakewell, Sr., Pamela Bakewell, CA Attorney General Kamala Harris and CA State Senator Isadore Hall were on hand to greet and thank Rev. Sauls, McDonald's Black Operators and the crowd for its support of TOS and the BMM gospel stage.
This year saw the addition of the Taste of Beauty Pavilion with an all-star cast of celebrity hairstylists and educators including Patric Antonio Bradley, DaRico Jackson (Wella), Team Kim Kimble ("LA Hair"), John Mosley (Andis), Neeko (Salon Sessions), and Rhonda Smith (729 BEaUty), who joined industry legends Jerry & Lucky White of Kizure and clipper manufacturing giant, Andis. The Beauty Pavilion was nothing short of a total success and a welcomed addition to the TOS festival.
The KJLH Buffalo Wild Wings Stage delivered pure R&B with the sounds of singers Angie Stone, Monica, Mint Condition and Joe to name a few. Gospel artist Deitrick Haddon also blessed the stage with a full choir to back him up.
The 94.7 The WAVE stage saw its fair share of special guests as it welcomed the old and new school sounds of Mark Wilson of Lakeside, Zapp, Jon B and DW3. Additionally, attendees got a special treat when Mayor Eric Garcetti hopped on the WAVE stage and played a bit of piano to entertain the crowd.
The Fox Audience Strategy-sponsored StarQuest stage presented local talent in the Adult and Kids Competition, last year’s winner went Tim, Jr. went on to star in a popular Apple watch commercial. All the contestants gave a rousing performance but in the end, it was Tia P. won the adult competition and Terrance Smith took the winner’s title in the kids competition.
“Ten years!” said a TOS attendee. “It’s been 10 years they’ve been doing this.”
“They just have so many vendors—so many vendors,” said another TOS attendee. “Different cultures, different food, different variety of entertainment.”
“It’s always good to see and hear when people taste [our product] for the first time and you see the reaction—it’s an amazing thing,” said Stephen Washington of vendor, Sharon’s Heavenly Cobblers.
Bakewell Media, the Sentinel and the L.A. Watts Times would like to thank all of our sponsors and partners: 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, Wells Fargo, Radio Free 102.3 KJLH and 94.7 The Wave, CBS2-TV, Brotherhood Crusade, Metro, Ivie, McNeill and Wyatt, CHP, LAPD and AAUC.
Special thanks also goes out to our chairs and co-chairs this year: Mayor Eric Garcetti, Council President, Herb Wesson, Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Congressmember Karen Bass, Senator Isadore Hall, III, Councilmember Curren Price, Assemblymember Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Assemblymember Autumn Burke, LAUSD District 1: Dr. George McKenna, KCBS-Channel 2, Pat Harvey and law firm Ivie, McNeill & Wyatt.
THANK YOU TO TOS NATION!!! YOU ARE THE HEARTBEAT OF TASTE OF SOUL!!!
(Taste of Soul photo coverage provided by: Robert Torrence, Dana Brazil, Nell Davis, D’Aughn Thomas, Keith St Cyr, Larry Russell, Mark Day, E. Mesiyah McGinnis, Malcolm Ali.)