LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDKY) – After a year of restrictions, challenges, and unrest over social injustices, a week and a half long celebration of Black owned restaurants and venues is coming to central Kentucky.
SoulFeast week will kick off in mid-June and celebrate Black-owned restaurants, chefs, farmers and caterers. Organizers want to promote their successes after facing so much adversity.
“We really want to do our part in highlighting the hidden gems,” said Marcellus Barksdale, SoulFeast week co-founder.
Gems that represent some of the best Lexington has to offer—and the 11-day event will celebrate the soul of Black owned businesses and restaurants around central Kentucky.
“People of all races, backgrounds, especially in Lexington wanted to do their part. We feel like SoulFeast Week is a tangible opportunity for people of all backgrounds, and all races to come together and to celebrate and highlight our Black owned restaurants, chefs, and farmers,” Barksdale said.
SoulFeast Week will shine a light on Black owned establishments from June 17-27. It’s a spinoff from an initiative started last summer during the height of the pandemic and talks of social injustice that supported Black businesses in the area.
“Last June during the pandemic, my sister wanted to do something special to drive business to Black owned businesses in Lexington. So she did a 19 days for Black business challenge and for 19 days straight, she supported a different Black owned business,” Barksdale said.
Barksdale and his sister Martina are the founders of SoulFeast Week. They’re working with Black Soil Kentucky, which is an organization that promotes Black owned farms in the commonwealth. With SoulFeast Week, they’ll be supplying ingredients for restaurants to use for specialty dishes.
“They go hand in hand. Farms need restaurants to sell, and restaurants need that marketing and promotion to let their consumer know that they’ve taken the thought and intention of supporting a locally owned business such as a farm,” said Ashley Smith with Black Soil Kentucky.
It’s a week designed to come together to celebrate culture, success, and diversity after a challenging year for the industry and their community.