February 20, 2014
By Edward Rice, III
LAWT Contributing Writer
It is no secret that within in any culture food is paramount to the cultural experience. No where does that ring truer than within the African-American community.
Over the years, soul food has meant more than mere sustenance to black people it has been the catalyst for bringing families together, healing relationships, and making big decisions. In the African-American community like many other communities, our food how we prepare it, how we serve it, how we share it is an expression of love.
In the hit movie Soul Food, our relationship with soul food and the role it played in the African American family during times of fun, tragedy, sadness, joy and happiness was laid out on the silver screen for the world to enjoy. Here in Los Angeles that tradition has been put on display annually in the fall during LA’s largest street festival the Taste of Soul. Each year more than 350,000 converge on Crenshaw Boulevard to experience our culture around food and music.
This year Fox Executives looking for an exciting and innovative way to honor Black History Month, determined a partnership with Taste of Soul to commemorate the DVD release of the movie Soul Food was the perfect vehicle to celebrate the occasion. This is the first of many events that will occur locally and nationally as a result of the collaboration between Fox Audience Strategy, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and the Taste of Soul.
“Because of Bakewell Media and Taste of Soul’s authentic connection to the African-American community and their entrepreneurship it was clear that it tied back to the audience strategy strategic plan, which was aligning core community values with businesses,” said Fox Senior Vice President of Audience Strategy, Nicole Bernard. “We take up a lot of space here in LA and we want to make sure that we connect with the local community and Taste of Soul is a great way to do that.”
On Thursday February 13 the Fox back lot was transformed to Crenshaw Boulevard as a “mini Taste of Soul” was brought to Fox studios. LeSassier Catering, Mel's Fish and Uncle Darrow's Chefs provided the food for the evening. Fried fish, red beans and rice, greens, black eyed peas, sweet potato pie, red velvet cup cakes and sweet tea were just a few of the culinary delights offered to guests in attendance.
Food was shared along with laughs, and plenty of good times as Fox employees, executives, the HBCU Media Alliance network and community members came together in celebration of Black History month. Some of the guest for the evening festivities included: Taste of Soul Founder and Creator, Danny J.Bakewell, Sr; Fox Senior Vice President of Audience Strategy, Nicole Bernard, stars of the hit Showtime series based on the movie Soul Food, Vanessa Williams and Darrin Dewitt Henson.
The evening culminated with a screening of the movie Soul Food. The audience was taken back to Chicago once again and afforded another opportunity to pull up a seat at the Joseph Family table.
All in attendance enjoyed reconnecting with Mama Joseph, Terri, Max, Bird, Lem, Kenny and the entire Joseph clan. It was a special evening where everyone received a sampling of our food and glimpse into our soul.
Photos by Robert Torrence
Photos by Valerie Goodloe