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Reconnecting and Celebrating: Black Soul Summer's Impact on Philly's Creative Community

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

As a Temple University alumni and a business owner, I spent time looking for a way to reconnect and expose the brand to the local Philadelphia community post pandemic. Philadelphia is a great city, that I spent a lot of time in and one that I have a connection with and an affinity for. This need for reconnection wasn't just something I was experiencing. In the wake of the pandemic, communities worldwide yearned for reconnection and rejuvenation. Philadelphia, with its vibrant spirit and rich cultural heritage, sought unique ways to reunite and revitalize. Among the notable initiatives that emerged during this time were the collaborations between the Philadelphia and Temple University community. In the void emerged Black Soul Summer, a product of both of these communities. Founded prior to the pandemic by good friend and Temple alum, DJ/Brotha Taaj Sabree and his partners, was a festival vendor ecosystem called Black Soul Summer. The curated festival events were heavily attended and anticipated in their previous years, but hold even more importance post pandemic. With their events Black Soul Summer addressed the growing need of creating platforms for emerging business owners to promote their products/services. This blog delves into the Black Soul Summer initiative and how these connections played a pivotal role in reigniting the city's energy and fostering a renewed sense of unity.

The Power of Reconnection: Philadelphia, and Temple University

Philadelphia, often referred to as the City of Brotherly Love, possesses a distinctive charm that draws people together. Temple University, as an integral part of the city, serves as a hub for education and creativity. Black Soul Summer, a prominent movement within the community created by Temple alum, became a catalyst for reconnection, using their collective platform to bridge gaps and foster collaboration. Embarking on a journey to revive the city's spirit and provide a unique opportunity for DJs, small businesses, music lovers, and supporters to come together.

Black Soul Summer: A Creative Ecosystem for Independent Entrepreneurs

At the forefront of this reconnection effort stands Black Soul Summer, a remarkable initiative founded by Temple University alumni Saleem "Taaj" Sabree and Melvin Powell. This music festival series goes beyond entertainment; it created a dynamic ecosystem that empowers independent entrepreneurs. By blending the vibrancy of a music festival with the essence of a marketplace, Black Soul Summer enriches the community by amplifying collective commerce. This holistic approach not only exposes vendors to consumers, but also introduces new consumers to vendors, fostering meaningful connections.

The Festival Journey: Rekindling the City's Essence

The festival series kicked off in June with a lively celebration of Juneteenth put together by Philly DJ Na$h and her movement called Interna$hional Bounce. DJ Na$h curates sets and events centered around Sounds of the Diaspora. This year's Juneteenth event was a testament to the community's resilience and commitment to cultural celebrations. The day featured a variety of vendors and creatives alongside amazing music sets by local DJs. As the energy soared and connections flourished, the event set the stage for what was to come. Recaps below:

In July, the 6th All Love Block Party took place. Supporters of the event braved the summer heat and one of the hottest days, reaffirming the unwavering support of the community. This event encapsulated the ethos of Black Soul Summer, creating a safe and inviting space for collective commerce, creativity, and collaboration. As music reverberated and festivities unfolded, attendees basked in the joy of shared experiences. The day was one for the books. Recaps below:

The final installment, the Hip Hop in the Park Festival, took place at the iconic Eakins Oval in Center City. Hosted by Philadelphia Muralist and Hip Hop Ambassador Tame Artz, the festival displayed the beauty of Hip Hop and the creative scene within Philadelphia. Drawing a diverse crowd, this event marked the culmination of the festival series. Against the backdrop of Philadelphia's vibrant hip-hop culture, vendors thrived, and the community celebrated the genre's 50-year legacy. The day was an amazing one featuring all of the elements of Hip Hop, DJ's, MC's, breakdancers, graffiti artists, along with thriving local businesses. Recap below:

Fostering Unity Through Creativity

This years Black Soul Summer Festival series was a journey of reconnection with the Philadelphia and Temple University community. The events guided and propelled by Black Soul Summer, proved to be a triumph of unity and creativity. Through these festivals, a tapestry of experiences emerged, woven with music, entrepreneurship, and celebration. The legacy of these 2023 events lingers on, reminding us that even in the face of challenges, the power of community and creativity can reignite a city's spirit. Much love to the Black Soul Summer team on another successful year of summer festivals!

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