Don’t worry, there is still plenty of time left in the Summer. But at the midway point, veteran writer Shaheem Reid takes a look back at the first half and tells us all of his favorites so far.
Best Music Festival → The Essence Music Festival
It was an oasis of Black excellence. Sponsors from Coca-cola, to Verizon, to McDonalds to Proctor & Gamble to My Black is Beautiful to Belvedere put up major dollars to partner up with Essence mag for their 16th annual mega musical explosion. The investment was well worth it, New Orleans, LA was absolutely the place to be during Independence Day weekend. The streets of NOLA were electrified with unity love and excitement and inside the city’s signature landmark, the New Orleans Superdome, volcanic ash was left on the stage during three nights of concerts. All three headliners, Usher, Kanye West and Mary J. Blige put on epic, performances but the showstoppers award go to 30 year veterans New Edition.
Watching Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Ron DeVoe, Michael Bivins, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant was historic, the first time all six members performed together in over five years. But it was also, taking Marty McFly’s Delorean back to the past as the flawless dance moves, smooth vocals and magnetic chemistry of the collective—who all look like they drink magnum bottles of water culled from the Fountain of Youth daily—took grown men and women back their childhood with timeless hits from their catalog. Fantasia, Doug E. fresh, Trey Songz, Jennifer Hudson, Jill Scott and El Debarge were also among the performers.
Best Song → “I’m On One” by DJ Khaled ft. Rick Ross, Lil’ Wayne & Drake
The new King of posse cut collabos, DJ Khaled, puts together arguably his best tag team record with his Young Money/ MMG brothers. Drake’s melody alone makes the song an instant winner (“I’m getting so throwed./ I ain’t went this hard since I was 18”) and Ross’ swag is in engulfing; “ever make love to the woman of your dreams in room full money out in London.../ Call mark Jacobs personally to make a pair…” And don’t sleep on Weezy’s laid back simplistic flow. The Fireman’s slugging percentage puts MLB All-Star Jose Bautista to shame, as Mr. Carter spews acidic quotables in succession such as “You know the Feds is listenin’./ Nigga what money?”
Best Movie → Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon
Director Michael Bay is flat out the new King of summer. He delivered this summer’s top shotta so far with the second sequel to The transformers. It made big bank, but forget the numbers, this third installment delivered with several intricate action sequences, a story with heart and characters the whole family could love and fear!