Thousands eat, dance, support Crenshaw at Taste of Soul



Monte Hayes,71, had only to walk down the street from his home to check out the Taste of Soul festival for the very first time.

“To me it means, all people of all races are here and it’s like, ‘taste me, I’m good,’” he said.

The 9th annual celebration was held Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and took over a mile of Crenshaw Boulevard from Stocker Avenue to Rodeo Road, where families and friends from all walks of life danced in the street. Attracting 350,000 people this year, the street festival presented by The Sentinel newspaper bills itself as L.A.’s largest.

Signature South L.A. restaurants provided the “tastes,” including What the Funnel, Dulan’s on Crenshaw, Southern Girl Desserts, Post and Beam and Yo Halal’s popcorn.

The festival also brings out a unique blend of soulful sounds and artists each year. This time, the lineup featured Tyrese, Angie Fisher, AKNU, Michelle Williams and many other performers across four main stages, along with young artists featured on the “StarQuest” stage. [Read more…]

The West Angeles Church

By Jake O’Brien

Click on the photo below to watch an audio slideshow:

Churches are meant to serve as welcome places for people. A sanctuary open at all times to those who need guidance.

But as one drives through the Crenshaw District, it is surprising to see how many churches are either closed for the day or have been shut down altogether.

Even the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, which boasts a massive state-of-the-art cathedral, is not always open.

Ivan Cole, an elder of the West Angeles Church, says it difficult to fill such the cathedral, which seats 5,000 people, and that many in the congregation aren’t giving the kind of offerings they used to give.

The West Angeles Cathedral, which used to be open all week, is now only open on Sundays. Anyone who wants to pray on other days must visit their smaller church across the street.

But Executive Assistant Collete Johson, says the West Angeles Church is also serving the community through its West Angeles Community Development Corporation which assists people in need.

The program was founded in 1994 with the help of Bishop Charles Blake who saw the homelessness, lack of jobs and gang activity in the area as signs that improvement was needed.

Since its founding, the Community Development Corporation has increased its budget to over $3 million.