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The Great Shakeup brings the first national black bartending competition to Charleston

Black mixologists make up less than 6% of U.S. bartenders, according to job search company Zippia. Charleston native Latoya Vickers hopes to shine a light on that disparity — and spotlight the Black mixologists serving drinks across the country.

On April 26, Vickers invited four talented Black mixologists from across America to participate in The Great Shakeup (TGS), the first national Black bartending competition (and daytime party) of its kind. TGS will be held at The Coan event venue in Ladson from noon to 5pm and will feature a bartending competition, an open bar and appetizers and music from DJSCrib. Tickets ($75+) can be purchased online.

After working in corporate sales, Vickers decided to pursue her dream of curating experiences and founded her company Festival Noir.

“Festival Noir brings together all the things I have learned in sales and marketing, along with two things that really bring me passion and joy, wine/cocktails and events,” she said. “My goal is to create experiences for people that they love and (focus on) the small details. So, taking the things you would normally have and taking it a step further… what I call “achievable luxury.” So often people think, ‘Oh, I can’t have that,’ but of course you can.”

Although Vickers currently lives in California, she grew up in West Ashley and visits her home as often as she can. “I think growing up in Charleston plays a big role in the expectations of hospitality,” she said. “I think I take that foundation everywhere I go and that’s kind of my barometer.”