October 16, 2014


By Brian W. Carter

LAWT Contributing Writer


There is no doubt that Taste of Soul will be bigger and better than ever. This year especially shows promise with the addition of our new celebrity chair Queen Latifah, an exciting list of artists and performers, tasty food vendors and multiple events for everyone.


Latifah  made an impromptu appearance two years ago with her mother to show her support of the event that celebrates Black culture. Over the years, the multi-talented talk show host of The Queen Latifah Show has consistently showed her love and commitment to culture and diversity. Now, she will be doing it as its first celebrity chair of TOS.


Danny Bakewell Sr. had a vision of a family-oriented event for the community that celebrated the community. Along with Brenda Marsh-Mitchell and countless others, that vision became TOS.  As it celebrates 9 years, TOS has become one of, if not, the largest event showcasing food, live entertainment and fun in South Los Angeles and the greater Los Angeles area.


Every year, during TOS, Crenshaw Blvd is transformed into a bustling crowd of happy, fun-loving folks enjoying music, food and each other. Extending itself three additional blocks, from Rodeo Blvd to Stocker, TOS continues to grow by leaps and bounds. Vendors from all over Southern California come to TOS to get exposure and share their passion because it is the place to be.


The event has steadily been gaining on Facebook and Twitter, which helps in serving as a powerful economic engine among African American small businesses and providing citizens with much valued transportation tips from Metro.


Metro is definitely the transportation of choice for TOS Nation as the light-rail station is within a block of Rodeo Road, where the festival begins. The Metro line can transport TOS family and friends to the Crenshaw district from all over L.A. County. The lines run from the San Fernando Valley to the Orange Line to the Red Line, to the Expo Line, or from Long Beach traveling to the downtown Los Angeles Blue Line, which connects to the Green Line at Willowbrook Station and to the Expo Line at Pico Station. From Pasadena or East Los Angeles, ride on the Gold Line to Union Station and transfer to Red/Purple Line to 7th St/Metro Center and then hop on the Expo Line. 


TOS Nation will be able to walk along Crenshaw Boulevard sampling delicious food from multiple vendors such as Fun Time Kettle, Fresh & Meaty Burgers, Goodies Galore, Maddox Entertainment, Uniquely Sweet L.A., Chasecakes 2, Those Cupcakes, United Teachers L.A. and many more. Metro will also have a booth to provide information about the Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line project. Community Relations Rail Safety staff will be available to talk about how to be safe around trains and tracks.


The entertainment will definitely be worth coming to TOS for with a mix of old and nu school artists. The 94.7 Wave Stage, located at Crenshaw Blvd and Stocker St. featuring artists Howard Hewett, On Tour, Pete Escovedo, Dominique Toney and more. The KJLH Stage will be located at Rodeo Blvd and Crenshaw featuring artists Tyrese, Ann Nesby, Syleena Johnson, Tank and more. This will definitely be a TOS loaded with great artists and feature up-and-coming artist from StarQuest as well.


TOS’ premier talent competition, StarQuest is back with a new slew of up-and-coming talent. The adult and children’s competition took place on October 3 and 4. StarQuest provides a tangible platform and opportunity for local rising stars to realize their dreams. This year will offer another chance for 20 finalists to be seen and heard at the TOS, where they will perform in front of the TOS Nation of over 350,000 people.


The life, memory and dedication of Brenda Marsh-Mitchell was honored recently at the corner of Coliseum and Crenshaw—now Brenda Marsh-Mitchell Square. TOS won’t be the same but will continue in the spirit for which it was created—unity. Marsh-Mitchell understood the importance of TOS and what it meant to and for the Black community. Her passionate voice and spirit will forever live on in the festival.


Get ready for October because the 9th Annual Taste of Soul Family Festival is here. Make sure that you’re here Saturday, October 18. Come out and taste the soul of the community.


For more information, please visit www.tasteofsoulla.org.

Category: Community