Overtown Gospel Brunch: Platters, KC & the Sunshine Band, and Red Velvet Cake

​This weekend​, dozens gathered in the 115-year-old Greater Bethel AME Church to witness the talents of locally born and raised gospel musicians.

Amy Rosenberg of the Overtown Music Project, organized this beautiful event to support a jazz and blues residency to support a talented young musician from Overtown or Liberty City. Dave Lawrence read "I Dream a World" by Langston Hughes and a touching speech by Ray Fauntroy, MLK's driver and friend encouraged us to look past race and come together for a common dream.

There was jazzy, funky, and soulful gospel music by the Wright family, who grew up only blocks from the church. Dr. Philip Wright formerly played with Sam Cooke and Patti LaBelle, among others; his sister Jeanette Wright was part of KC and the Sunshine Band as was Margaret Reynolds. Their brother Charles Wright played the final song of the day. Coconut Grove born Bobby Stringer, formerly of the Platters, received a standing ovation for his spirited song.

Later the crowd headed downstairs to eat a hearty breakfast from Jackson Soul Food of sausage, bacon, eggs, biscuits, and hash browns. The highlight of the meal ware the desserts made by Vivian Dunn. She baked the most scrumptious red velvet ever to touch our tongue. This was the best. Also amazing were her lemon butter pound cake and banana nut bread. We talked to Ms. Dunn about the cakes, and why she was at the event.

New Times: How long have you been baking?

Vivian Dunn: Since I was 14.

What is your favorite thing to make?

Really, I like pound cake, because I don't care for icing a lot. But I do a lot of creating. I'm an alumni of Johnson and Wales, but I learned it from my grandmother.

You said you created this red velvet...

Recipe, a new one, I did the other night.

It's just so fluffy. It's amazing.

I even called a girlfriend of mine who makes it all the time and told her I have to bring a piece over so she could taste it, cause it's different from the ones we usually makes. Usually, they're dry.

Or too thick.


It's perfect. Why'd you come here today and bake?

Amy and I are friends. I do most of her fundraisers for her. I've been doing them for a while now. We've became very close together. So, when she needs things, she calls me. I also do catering, private catering.

You also cook at Roots in the City. What cook over there?

I usually do a lot of vegetarian foods. I do the lasagna, the vegetables, and the meat. I used ground turkey, I do the stir fry for them. Of course we do the lima beans for those who like those, the mac and cheese, a number of things.

What's your favorite part about being here today?

Supporting Amy. I'm a people person, and I love working with people. I came by myself today, usually I bring my whole staff with me. Because Amy calls me and I come.

There's nothing like having a reliable, good friend that knows how to bake or interviewing the baker who lets you bring home leftovers to you roommate!

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