Soul Mama: YolanDa Brown to launch new London restaurant after Kickstarter raises a record-breaking £248,000

Record-breakers: YolanDa Brown and Adetokunbo  ‘T’ Oyelola will open in Islington  (Press handout )
Record-breakers: YolanDa Brown and Adetokunbo ‘T’ Oyelola will open in Islington (Press handout )

After breaking records on Kickstarter, MOBO-winning British saxophonist YolanDa Brown is to open an Afro-Caribbean restaurant in Islington Square this autumn.

Within eight weeks, Brown manage to draw in £248,000 for her project — the highest amount ever received for a restaurant start-up on Kickstarter, anywhere in the world — which will be called Soul Mama. Brown is opening it in partnership with Adetokunbo ‘T’ Oyelola, the entrepreneur and promoter best known for founding management company Black Grape Global.

As well as aiming to serve “authentic tastes of Africa, the Caribbean and South America”, Soul Mama will lean heavily into YolanDa Brown’s and Adetokunbo ‘T’ Oyelola’s successful careers, with regular live music. The spot will support local and emerging recording artists, with a strong focus on jazz, soul, gospel and reggae.

The live music restaurant will act as a wider community hub, with development grants offered to under-represented talent and larger live music events for more established names.

 (Press handout)
(Press handout)

With black women receiving only 0.34 per cent of all venture capital funding, the Kickstarter campaign helped to ensure the musical duo’s dream could become a reality. CEO of Kickstarter Everette Taylor said of Soul Mama’s success: "We want to see more creators of colour thrive on the platform and I’m hoping the success of these two incredible entrepreneurs will inspire more creators of colour and creators in the food/restaurant space to chase their dreams."

YolanDa Brown OBE commented: "Throughout my career I have always had to think out of the box, innovate, find creative ways to be heard and seen, change perspectives all for the dream. My dreams are big, to add joy, light and laughter to as many lives as possible using music, education, food and more.”

Whilst the menu and opening date is not yet confirmed, we can expect the restaurant to launch at the redeveloped Islington square in late Autumn.

Islington Square, Upper Street, N1 1AB. For more information, visit and