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Discovery, unity built into Soulful Food Truck Festival


by Shambreon Richardson, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

Tucked on the backside of Black Restaurant Week, the Soulful Food Truck Festival generated positive vibes that had attendees going in and out of Clayborn Temple in pursuit of mulitiple options to have good times.

There was easy access to 20-plus vendors offering food, T-shirts, desserts, jewelry, books, candles, sunglasses, scents and oils. Inside the historic church building, the options included the services of a chiropractor, who did on-site assessments for some complaining of nagging pains.

“This is my second year here,” said Crawford, Miss. native Carla Crawford, who was camped out with friends near one of the nine black-owned food trucks. “All the black businesses, entrepreneurship brings us all together for positive things.”

Black Restaurant Week kicked off March 3 and ended with the Soulful Food Truck Festival, which also featured live musical performances and an ample sampling of local beers and wine. The week and the festival are the creations of Cynthia Daniels.

Crawford raved about the food, noting that some of it came from places she hadn’t known about.

“I’m not a native of Memphis, and I would never see anything like this in my hometown,” she said. “So me not being a native to Memphis, it’s good so I can see what places to eat at and how I can support black businesses.”

Christin Curry said Black Restaurant Week and the festival provide an opportunity for many to do what they desire to do – “support businesses from the city, especially of your own kind, your own people. So it’s really good to have that connection and see that example that opens the door for a lot of people to come in.”

Oretta Smith, a retired teacher from Shelby County Schools, was making her first trip to the festival. “It’s great and we will be back. … I think this helps the community as far as the growing economies in our community.”

Evette Lockett was moved by “all of us coming together – besides something being negative – and also showcasing black businesses; that’s why it’s important to me.”

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