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Soulful Sundays

Who in the heck broke the sprinklers, last night?

The rain scattered across Charlotte without postponement. Just as I stepped into the building, the showers came pouring down with a vendetta to hold everyone else captive in their homes for the remainder of the evening. I’m kidding, and that’s not entirely true.

Although the weather was dreary and messy—that didn’t stop people from coming out to enjoy the resonances or music coming from the Red @28 Hookah Lounge for their Soulful Sundays series, presented by Tiger Eye Management Group, and Power 98’s radio personality, J Pragmatic.

J Pragmatic introduced this melodious succession about two summers ago at the Tropix night club on Tryon St. The live band provided wonderful entertainment. However, that was one band, maybe a singer or artist that performed hip-hop at nine o’clock in the evening. The band really didn’t get warmed up till about ten o’clock at night, and for us old-fashioned folks—we clonk out at that time.

I did good to stay at eleven-ish, without squirming uncomfortably in my seat cause I had to wake up early the next morning. During that time, it was really catered to a much younger crowd that can hang with the big dawgs on the last day of the weekend.

Soulful Sundays has grown tremendously from its infant stage till now. There’s a welcome- marker at the entrance. Granted, they always had a haute little hostess working the door and collecting the monies. Now, he or she gives each customer a personalized “SoulfulSundays” hand-stamp upon entry. This says a lot about the branding. J Prag didn’t create a fly-by-night event. He implemented uniformity for a legitimate business.

There was a DJ before. But, not this DJ. DJ Strategy plays hit after hit whether it’s from the nineties or now. True story: DJ Strat went from playing Run DMC to R Kelly in less than five minutes apart and still ripped it. The DJ starts and finishes the sets. He's a major attribute to the series.

The acts are diverse and multicultural. J Pragmatic developed an atmosphere for Jazz, Neo Soul, Poetry, Painting, and Comedy lovers, swathed into one night of fun. Where the evenings started out extremely late, J Prag took that into consideration and started at seven o’clock. So, you actually get to enjoy the ambiance without stretching, wincing, and yawning, once.

They now have an off-the-cuff act added to the evening, presented by Power 98’s, Tab D’Biassi, and the Impromptu Squad. You know, I’m all for a chill environment, and date night ideas. This is certainly one of those eclectic happenings that you can come out looking super cute with a date (hint hint), or relaxed with a gang of friends, and can still have a great time. In fact, I sat and scanned the area. The bar was lined with chattering people, and the seats were filling quickly with couples and groups of friends. All jokes aside, someone stole my seat when I walked away for a brief spell.

Kevin Sandbloom, was the featured act for the evening.

Sandbloom is a national, traveling, guitarist, and vocalist that influxed from Los Angeles. He’s been at it for eight years. So, he isn’t a newbie. Sandbloom’s style is a mix of Carlos Santana, a little of Maxwell’s “Mid-Summer Night,” some traditional Rhythm and Blues, as well as Funk. I know… Heavy, isn’t it? Dude, has a sound that you gotta hear for yourself… Kevin beat-box, plays guitar, and spits bars. Yes, bars! Talk about talent! Sandbloom is performing again at Red @ 28 on November 15th. He’s also performing at the Poetry Slam on November 20th.

The evening wouldn’t have been right if I didn’t get to speak with Josh Davis, AKA, J Pragmatic about his journeys with the Soulful Sunday attraction. JPrag knows that although Soulful Sunday has been going on for a year and seven months, he has to give thanks to the faithful followers and newcomers as well. “What it’s about is pretty much building a hub, and community for musicians, comedians, poets, and different talents. You know, different backgrounds that want to share their talents with the world. We’re pretty much preparing and setting up a room for them so they can get their talents out,” says Pragmatic.

Pragmatic acknowledges the growth with his cabaret. “Within the next coming year, I’d like to get some sponsorship to help further the brand itself, Soulful Sundays, especially the entertainers. The biggest thing for me is watching these entertainers and they not have a platform, or being compensated properly for what they do.

Again, me, giving them this platform is a big deal. And on top of that, I can hopefully gain sponsorship to secure this brand and help these artist out for compensation. It helps get their products out-- and, they are hard workers. Some of these people come from a background of working a nine-to-five, and doing music,” says Pragmatic.

J Prag isn’t in competition with anyone and is pretty pleased with their level of entertainment. “I would say that we are a consistent, weekly event, that provides Spoken Word, Live Music, and Comedy fused together. Again, we are thankful to have everyone under our belt. We’re looking for another couple of years, or a few more years. For me, it’s a big deal that everyone has supported me thus far. I believe the future will get bigger and better for us.

We’re a clean and fun show. Our comedians joke. We have the Impromptu Crew with Tab D’Biassi. He’s a coworker of mine at Power 98. They come in biweekly, and they offset the acts. The Impromptu Crew provides interactive games with the audience and give gifts. It’s real fun and engaging. I’d say it’s a date night event, or if you wanna come hangout with the fellas, relax, kick back, smoke a hookah, and enjoy the vibe, as well as network.

This was the vision I had when I created Soulful Sundays--to be that hub. That’s what’s so beautiful about it. A lot of our talents have gone on and worked on their own projects, events, and productions. To me, it’s beautiful. My vision came full-circle, and I’m thankful for that."

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