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The Taste of Soul 2009: Cobbler and Bean Pie

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by Eddie North-Hager/Exclusive to LAist

The Taste of Soul 2009 was hot, hot, hot. And that’s even before you start talking about feasting on the hot links and Cajun-spiced fare. The festival of food and music that turns Crenshaw Boulevard into a state fair kind of ambiance happened during last Saturday's steamy afternoon.

But the heat didn’t stop the beat or the aroma from permeating the spirit of the fourth annual Taste of Soul billed as L.A.’s largest street festival.

Gourmet from Chef Marilyn’s 99 cent Soul Food Express, Shabazz Good Foods (Home of the Bean Pie), The Cobbler Lady and Harold and Belle's kept tummies full, while performers such as Bebe Winans and Eric Benet commanded the crowd’s attention as they wandered down the ’Shaw between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Rodeo Road. 

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The closed-to-traffic boulevard was lined with more than Southern, Cajun and soul food. There was info on the Expo Line light rail tardy arrival, local politicians, vendors peddling art, music and clothing and a traveling preview of Tavis Smiley’s exhibit America I AM: The African American Imprint opening at the California Science Center on October 30. Even free flu shots.

The four stages of music, sponsored by Radio Free 102.3 KJLH and 94.7 the Wave, not only had such locals such as Dante's Inferno and Indira Milini Khan, the daughter of Chaka Khan, but also drum lessons for the kids.

It's hard to tell how many braved the heat, but in years’ past the more than 100,000 stood shoulder to shoulder to hear legendary performers like Bobby Brown, Angie Stone, Brian McKnight and Evelyn “Champagne” King.

The Taste of Soul, championed by the L.A. Sentinel, was also a Taste of Crenshaw for thousands of Angelenos.