We had the good fortune of connecting with Charles Southward and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Charles, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Risk taking to me is a leap of faith. When I truly believe in something I will not loose faith or belief that what I desire will manifest itself in time, my job is not to give up.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a USAF Veteran very proud of that, served 1975-79. In 1980 I created and established “Charlie’s Original BBQ sauce and catering company in Phoenix, Arizona, In what seems like no time, I became known as “Caterer to the Stars”, exclusively providing the best barbecue in Arizona only to Political figures or the entertainment industry, to name a few; Miles Davis, Ted Nuggent, George Benson, Hall and Oates, Della Reese, Luther Vandross, Jullio Inglesses, Marvin Gaye, Culture Club, Manhattan Transfer and on and on. This was no easy undertaking, I was the only African American in the state, at that time working for such famous patrons. Believe me there were some traps laid before me in that industry. It was my extreme faith,belief and actual proof that my product was the best available therefore I would let know one stop me from providing my services to whom ever wanted them. One example, I was booked for Eddie Murphy at PHX Coliseum and was told to pick up info at the facility via phone call from NY. Management tried everything to stop me from doing the show, I petitioned then Governor Mecham to have the facility(state owned) to release the date to me, which he did. What I learned from the entertainment industry is that you have to be able to “Fight”. Fast forwarding to current times, I use the lessons of my past to guide my future. I grow 100% Organic High quality produce currently being grown and donated to the homeless at Bell Shelter for the homeless, Bell, CA. soon to be available to those that demand 100% quality in there lives.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
1. Disneyland 2. Hollywood 3.Venice Beach 4. Malibu 5. The Grove 6. The Getty 7. Big Bear. 8. Rodeo Dr. 9. Overa street downtown, The Staple Center, 10 Palm Springs, and finally the Mission Inn in Riverside. There are so many great restaurants in every location, just can’t mention them all.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Ms. Tracy Hannah, manager for Jazz recording artist Azar Lawerence. This marvelous woman was with me back in the catering days. A great help to me, and native of Flagstaff, AZ.

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Image Credits
Albert Viera