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Taste of Soul Spotlight: Malik Books

LOS ANGELES SENTINEL — One of the great things about Taste of Soul (TOS) is it introduces Southern California residents to a wide array of businesses, organizations and vendors. Malik Books is one of those businesses that has been serving the community for decades. Malik and Aprilia Muhammad run the bookstore, which offers a wealth of information, merchandise and gifts to its customers.

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Photo by: lasentinel.net

By Brian W. Carter,

One of the great things about Taste of Soul (TOS) is it introduces Southern California residents to a wide array of businesses, organizations and vendors. Malik Books is one of those businesses that has been serving the community for decades. Malik and Aprilia Muhammad run the bookstore, which offers a wealth of information, merchandise and gifts to its customers.

“Our selection of products has help create a positive impact on self-reflection, self-esteem, and self-awareness,” said Malik. “Malik Books motto is ‘Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life.’ Our goal at Malik books is to give our customers and community an African American experience of self-pride.”

Malik was born and raised in Washington, D.C. and later attended USC excelling as a track and field athlete, which took him to the 1984 Olympic Games. Malik graduated from USC in 1987 and received a BS in public administration. After graduation, he established a career in real estate as a mortgage consultant helping hundreds of people become homeowners. Aprilia was born in California and is a nurse by profession. She has worked with multiple medical institutions and received honors based on her worth ethic. As an entrepreneur, Aprilia formed a wellness program called the Natural Gut Check, which is a program that helps people live a healthy way of life. Together they have two children together in addition to three from a previous union.

Malik Books was originally established in 1990 on the corner of Crenshaw and King Blvd. In 1994, the bookstore moved into the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. The bookstore answered a need that was in a community that was underserved according to Malik.

“Knowledge is a gift that keeps on giving,” said Malik. “In the 1990s, our communities lacked certain knowledge and products that promoted a positive reflection of self.

“We firmly believe people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. Our desire at Malik Books is to transform the negative image of Black people through books and gifts.”

After 20 years, Malik Books closed the business in 2009, but it would be the TOS festival that would bring the bookstore back again.
“In 2018, Malik Books decided to vendor at the Taste of Soul,” said Malik. “The response from the community was very positive.

“The experience was eye-opening and the community was very thankful that we were there vending at the Taste of Soul. All day, one customer after another, thanked [us] for being open and providing our selection of African American books, calendars and gifts.”

He continued, “The Taste of Soul provided the inspiration and motivation to imagine bigger. After the [festival], Malik Books shortly entered negotiation with the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza to lease space.

“Malik Books opened a new bookstore on Nov. 15, 2018.”

Malik Books is an independent African American bookstore that specializes in books, African American calendars, and African American gifts full of cultural diversity. The bookstore is one of the many Afrocentric bookstores in America that was part of the,

“Black Book Revolution” that swept across America during the early 1980s.

“Our doors at Malik Books has always given voice to the independent and self-published authors,” said Malik. “Malik Books has hosted, over the years, hundreds of book signings and discussions as well as organized public debates and cultural events that speak to the upliftment of the Black community.”

This will be Malik Books second year vending at TOS and they are looking forward to connecting with the community again.

“Malik Books believes children are 100% of our future,” said Malik. “Malik Books has the largest African American children’s book selection in Los Angeles.

“Malik Books is a community neighborhood bookstore that gives voice to the voiceless. Awaken your spirit by visiting Malik Books—the total African American experience of Blackness.”

Malik Books will be doing a huge promotion at Taste of Soul on October 19. All books will be 2 for $10. They welcome parents, teachers and the entire community to come by their booth.

For more information on this vendor, please visit www.malikbooks.com

For more information on Taste of Soul, please visit tasteofsoul.org

Get the Taste of Soul App for up-to-the-minute performer & stage info, interactive maps, exclusive offers, discounts, contests and more available on Apple App Store and Google Play. You can follow Taste of Soul on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

This article originally appeared in The Los Angeles Sentinel.

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