By Tia Williams
The Brown Sugar Vibe started in the living room of host, Lakara Foster, as a gathering to celebrate the release of her first book, “The Day the Truth Was Told: Poetic Confessions of a Liar” in 2005. Foster had only one mission — to bring together those who loved spoken word and live music no matter the race, religion, or sexual orientation.
It is now 2014 and Foster, along with longtime friend, DJ E, are about to celebrate their 7th anniversary of the show. Since its inception, Foster has sought to provide a unique combination of music and entertainment. The audience not only comes for the featured guests, but also for the playful banter between Foster and E. The Brown Sugar Vibe is one of the longest running poetry venues in Atlanta. Even though the crowd is primarily lesbian, many who do not identify as such feel welcome. Outside of the regular parties and prides, there aren’t many venues that stay open within the LGBT community of Atlanta that have that tenacity.
“The impact that the show has had on the educational community has been tremendous,” shares Foster. “Through The Brown Sugar Vibe, our celebrated artists have conducted many workshops and performances throughout schools and colleges in Atlanta promoting artistic expression, self-esteem, anti-bullying, and self-awareness and each year our artists attempt to cover as many as schools as possible. We are told by teachers and principals that our presence makes an impact in the number of kids who turn to the arts to boost their self-confidence.”
The 7th anniversary “Trophies” show, June 29, 2014, will honor six artists (former ELIXHER cover girl Red Summer, Look Alive, Theresa Davis, Ken J Martin, Comedian Reggie Jackson, and Nfared), who have been an integral part of the show, by inducting them into the first ever Brown Sugar Vibe Hall of Fame (Class of 2014) at the 444 Theatre in The Old Fourth Ward District.
Foster is also the founder of She Speaks! Inc., an Atlanta-based consulting firm that provides tools, support, and a voice to those seeking a more powerful existence. She Speaks! Inc. provides retreats, workshops, seminars, coaching, and mentoring programs focused heavily on relationships, love, life, and spiritual development.
Tia N. Williams is the woman behind The Buddha In Me, an agency of artists, speakers, poets, and activists based in Atlanta. The Buddha In Me specializes in providing quality programs to educate, enlighten, and entertain. Tia recently received her M.Ed. from the University of Georgia in College Student Affairs Administration.