June Archer, the founder and brainchild of Hot Chocolate Soul, hosted an evening of entertainment on Friday that contained a trifecta of poetry, music and spoken word at Anthology.
Local singer/songwriter D-Masi, opened up the evening with a rhythm & blues love song backed by Karl Browne's Smooth Improvisation Band. Next up, 24-year-old San Diegan Mike Eddie performed Musiq Soulchild’s "Just Friends," displaying a very nice vocal range that reminded me of John Legend's.
Heshima Moja soon stepped onto the stage to perform a cover of Luther Vandross’ "Superstar," sending shock waves into the crowd. With a voice so full of soul and emotion, he likely touched the hearts of every woman present. Citing many R&B artists as influences, the Italian-Puerto Rican Heshima stated, "I grew up in churches in a predominantly African-American community. "Luther is my idol and made me want to sing."
Heshima released the album, Round & Round in April, and the song "Beautiful," is currently in radio play rotation.
Mind Evolution, born Tracy Caldwell, changed the mood with her eponymous poem. The lyrical goddess stamped her name into the audience's minds with the lines:
Yo, you never heard of her/
She’ll take your head off and shove spoken word down your throat/
Quickly put you back together before you croak/
The crowd was mentally stimulated as her powerful voice exploded inside Anthology; even the bartenders paused to listen.
Latoya Bosworth, a.k.a., Brenda’s Child, recited her poem "I Love Me," emphasizing that curvaceous women should love themselves. Another highlight: Omar Wilson performing Donny Hathaway's "Love You More Than You'll Ever Know" in a smooth tenor voice.
Intimacy was the foundation for the artists and music, spotlighting the importance of venue selection for Hot Chocolate Soul. Anthology’s décor was a brilliantly backdrop for the evening, offering a soft, intimate, visually stimulating environment. Excellent views of the stage from all areas inside the venue made it unnecessary to vie for center floor seating.
Hot Chocolate Soul isn’t for the typical party-goer; rather, it's for the art enthusiast wanting to revel in local and national raw talent, all delivered in an upscale environment. It had to be seen with your eyes, heard in your mind and felt in your soul.
The San Diego Association of Black Journalists featured the event as a part of the 35th anniversary conference of its mother chapter, the National Association of Black Journalists, which took place during the course of last week. The proceeds from the event will benefit the local chapter's annual journalism scholarship program.