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Come Together

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Jmalo Torriel (pictured) knows a thing or two about growing up in the 'hood. He knows living conditions can determine how people in a community treat one another. He sees the fighting, the gangs, the drugs, and he's not pleased.

In an effort to boost morale in his North Memphis community, Torriel and Ed Brittenum (both members of the hip-hop duo Brotha's Keepa) are hosting the second annual Unity Festival at the Hollywood Community Center on Saturday.

The free family fest will feature live music by reggae artist Phucha and rapper Lil' Chris as well as spoken word by Powwah and Brotha's Keepa.

"There won't be any booty-shaking, though," says Torriel. "Nothing that promotes black-on-black crime."

They'll also be providing free turkey dogs and turkey burgers. Torriel, a vegetarian, says he'd like to see more people in his community exploring healthy options.

"It's hard to find healthy food in the 'hood," he says. "You go to the Schnucks in Midtown, and there's all these [soy products]. But they don't have anything like that on Frayser Boulevard."

Three hundred people turned out for last year's Unity Festival, and Torriel expects an even bigger crowd this year.

Unity Festival, Hollywood Community Center, 1560 N. Hollywood, Sunday, September 24th, noon-6 p.m.

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