Unity Within Our Community
By Charles Davis, III
“We need to feel more to understand others. We need to love more to be loved back.” These opening words were the start of the poem ‘One Moon, One Sun, One World, One Heart’ which also serves as the inspiration for the Pensacola Community Soul Fest annual event.
This past Saturday on June 10th, many gathered in the West Pensacola Ball Park to witness the Pensacola Community Soul Fest held by husband and wife duo Johnny and Georgia Blackmon.
The Blackmons began this Community Soul Fest not only to promote Black cultures but all cultures that you find in minority communities and to focus on the youth.
“We have been doing this festival, my husband and I, for 25 years and it was mainly for our grandkids to show them other cultures. We started the Soul Festival because there wasn’t anything like it in Pensacola, the cultural part of it. I have 5 grandchildren and I don’t want them to think that hate is the way,” stated Blackmon.
The Pensacola Community Soul Fest will continue to happen once a year to offer a taste of culture so that we all can come together. All the proceeds go to the Gathering and Book Center bookstore on DeVilliers.
The musical guests that performed had certainly brought a diverse look at different cultures. Musical acts such as Latin music group, El Revelde and jazz troop, Da Band represented two different backgrounds to show unity within the community.
Jay El Revelde, a Pensacola originated Latin group, supported the event because the mission of the Soul Fest is to show unity and love within a community that could use the love.
“My interest in this event was naturally being the soul festival that we have to pull up with soul in anything that we do. Right now we are going through tough, tough times so why not talk about it here. We as a community should come together and become one,” stated El Revelde.
The jazz troop, Da Band, have been together for 5 years and came out to support the unity that the soul festival inspires.
“Each one of us has our own individual projects but we can come together because we are each secure in our own selves as musicians,” stated Roland Cobbs.
While the festival offered diverse musical acts there were also some town vendors who came out to show support and share their products.
Tracy Clanton of Traci’s Cherished Creations was in attendance and gave some insight on her business. She shared that she is currently at the T&W flea market at booth 19 and she makes and sells all sorts of jellies, jams, and relishes.
Learning about preserves came from Clanton’s grandmother and mother who first taught her about making preserves and such. “I went to culinary school but I learned this from the family,” said Clanton.
Clanton goes on to share that nothing is ever frozen with her preserves and all fruits and vegetables are fresh with no preservatives. “When you get one of my products you get that real fruit freshness without all the extra additives,” said Clanton.
Clanton also said, “we as families need to get involved with our children and listen to what they have to say. Not just parents but church families and friends”.
“I was one of those kids who was deemed bad but really just needed someone to listen. It may be cliche but it really does take a village,” Clanton said.
With various musicians, vendors, and cultures the festival was a joyous time for all in attendance.