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Author Archives: Naomi Bonman

The Heat was brought to the So Cal Region at the First Annual Los Angeles Soul Music Festival

By Naomi K. Bonman

Grooving, singing, kicking back, and just having the moment of the their lives are just a few words describe the emotions of soul lovers during this past weekend’s first annual Los Angeles Soul Fest. From July 22 to July 24, Southern California residents enjoyed a handful of activities at the Autry Museum of American West Griffith Park in Los Angeles.

The LA Soul Fest is the baby of Mark Douglas, CEO of Airborne Tickets that has blossomed and exceeded his exceptions. For the first annual Soul Fest, the event was very well attended and was an ultimate success. It brought out people of all ages and nationalities with everyone being there for one sole purpose—to enjoy some great soul music.

“Whether its vocals, instrumental soloists or a band, it doesn’t matter as long as each artist has the ability and talent to inspire and connect with an audience,” stated Los Angeles Soul Festival Head, Mark Douglas. 

This year’s talent included Grammy, Soul Train, BET, NAACP Image, Billboard, and ASCAP award-winners and nominees, as well as international and newly discovered talent. Highlighted acts included Eric Benet, Angie Stone, Marsha Ambrosius, Lalah Hathaway Lyfe Jennings, Jazmine Sullivan, Joe (Joe Thomas), Melanie Fiona, Eric Roberson, Rahsaan Patterson, Goapele, Vivian Green, Loose Ends featuring Jane Eugene, Avery Sunshine and Conya Doss. 

Great music would not be complete without good food and refreshing drinks. Guests were able to put their taste buds to the test with a variety of delicious food from several local food trucks. There were also smoothies and slushy trucks to cool patrons down from the heat. And of course, when it you’re groovin’ you usually want to have a drink in your hand. There was a 21+ drinking area that served a variety of beer and wine from vendors which included Stella Rose, Budweiser, Budlight, Stella Artois, Shock Top and Golden Road Brewing.

To keep up with the LA Soul Fest for the next year or to view photos and videos from this year, visit lasoulmusic.com or follow them on Twitter @LASoulFestFacebook and Instagram.

Inland Empire Black Millennial Entrepreneurs Speak Up about the Current National Race Issue

By Naomi K. Bonman

The week of July 5 was a very emotional and overwhelming time for not just our Black community, but for the Nation as an entirety. With the shootings of two unarmed Black men and then the event in Dallas, Texas, as a Black community we have become fed up.  We are tired. Tired of the same cycle that keeps happening and has been happening for decades with no hope of ever changing.

From protest after protest, stand-in after stand-in, and boycott after boycott, nothing is changing. It is like we are working hard to seek justice and for equality rights, but constantly being ignored by the system. We feel alienated from society, as well as used and abused. Our culture in America has constantly been mocked, mocked for centuries.

Since the 1960s Civil Rights Movement very little change has happened. Racism in America has taken a reverse turn. So what is the solution? What have we as a community been doing wrong and what do we need to do to start seeing REAL change? Three Black millennial entrepreneurs have spoken up on the issues that have seen in the years and what they feel needs to be done in order for change to prosper.

“When you do not know who you are anyone can come along and give you an identity! It’s time for us to know who we are, be proud of who we are, stop shaming,” Author T’ana Phelice states. “It’s time for Black men and women to begin to celebrate one another again. It’s time to raise our children as a village and take pride in having a disciplined community. It’s time to mend fences and break chains that are meant to separate us. It’s time to unite! It’s time to make God popular again!

Author and playwright, T’ana Phelice (31), from San Bernardino feels that in order for us to do better and make permanent changes that our community needs to be honest. We need to start being ashamed. We need to start being persistent. We need to educate ourselves on historical information; things that affect us and our children.

Marketing guru, Jay Parnell (33), of Perris speaks on the desensitization of our children. He believes that the current generation has been desensitized by how they are being marketed to through music, television, and social media. These media outlets have the power to develop and alter a person’s ideology.

Starh, owner of Fancy Cartel, from San Bernardino sums everything up with in order for change to come, the issues at hand need to be addressed. Once the current issues within our community are addressed we can then come to an agreement to start seeing the change that we all have longed for.

To listen to the full commentary, click below:

LyLuLs Mentoring Inspires Young Girls to Achieve Greatness at 3rd Annual Phenomenal Women Tea

By Naomi K. Bonman

The Tea Rose Garden in Pasadena, California was filled with such positive energy of women, young and seasoned, uplifting one another and supporting each other on their journey to greatness at the 3rd Annual Phenomenal Women Tea presented by LyLuLs Mentoring.

LyLuLs Mentoring, which stands for ‘Love Yourself Like You Love Shoes,’ was founded by Charmel Sanders has a mentoring group dedicated to the empowerment of young women ages 14 to 18. LyLuLs was launched two years ago as an event to provide young women with a safe shopping environment at Sanders’ shoe boutique called, “The Shoe Lounge.”

“As the event grew, I added guest speakers and partnered with the Art Institute of Riverside Fashion Club to provide the girls with life skills and self-esteem tools for success,” Sanders stated. “My Motto is, ‘Stepping up to help others Step out into Success.”

Saturday’s tea was MC’ed by Matumaini “Matu” Taylor who did an excellent job of keeping the afternoon flowing as she introduced each guest speaker and activity of the day. The guest speaker of this year’s event was Danielle Holloway. Holloway poured motivation and knowledge to the graduating seniors on how to succeed on the next step in their journey.

Spelman graduate, Sabra Marie, also gave the girls inspiring words through a spoken word piece that she wrote about the journey that we go through in life as girls coming up to womanhood. In keeping the creative energy flowing, the Epifani Dancers gave a dance tribute to the tunes of “I Rise Up” and Jimmy Soul Smooth serenaded to the young ladies with a neo-soul piece to show them how they are appreciated and to always know their worth. That wasn’t the only singing though, Jackie Coco-Ford did an inspiring acapella piece for the girls.

The afternoon ended with a raffle and an award ceremony for the mentors and mentees who have assisted in making LyLuLs Mentoring a success, and those who have shown great community service. Mentors of LyLuLs presented Sanders with flowers for her dedicated work to the community and said a prayer over her vision for the organization as it continues to move forward.

Again, congratulations to the graduates, Destinie Wortham, Taylor Evans and Christine Jackson.