Broccoli City
VIBE/ Stacy-Ann Ellis

7 Reasons Why Broccoli City Festival Is A Damn Good Time

...and this is coming from someone who always wants to be in the house.

If I'm being honest, 10 times out of 10 I'd rather be in my house on my couch. Call me a fuddy-duddy or call me 30. However, as someone who enjoys being gainfully employed, when my editor told me to cover Broccoli City Festival in Washington, D.C., I threw on some sweats and mozied on down to our nation's capital preparing myself for crowds, drunk attendees and folks who were most likely going to be too turnt by noon, only to have experienced the complete opposite.

Broccoli City Festival is the antithesis to all that can suck about festivals. Attendees were welcoming, jovial and warm, which was sorely needed since the 50 degree temps made it feel like November (which is great for November and a major buzz kill at the end of April). There was more to do than simply wait around for Future's set to begin. Friendships were made, art installations happened in real time, local venders sold clothing, scarves and jewelry, which will no doubt merit you a "Where'd you get that?" from a stranger on the street. Romances blossomed, selfies were taken and the proverbial "Get it boo!"—which is the national slogan used when the beat drops and the body moves to the rhythm—were all abundant at Broccoli City.

As VIBE's resident homebody, I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had. Check out seven other reasons why you need to add Broccoli City Festival to your festival season line up.

 

1. It's unapologetically black.

Centered in the heart of southeast D.C., Broccoli City Festival brings out all of Washington's beautiful black and brown humans who only have one mission: to take in the good music, eat tasty festival food and emit positive vibes. While fans patiently waited for the Trap's Godfather of Music, Future to grace the stage, the diversity within the African-American community was breathtaking to be a part of and witness. Women with long hair, short hair, natural hair, dreadlocked hair and braided hair galavanted with preppy men, skinny-jeans wearing men, men who looked as though they just stepped out of a GQ magazine and men who were simply happy to be there. All were welcome, all were appreciated and it was all love.

 

2. It's a lowkey HBCU reunion.

Hampton University graduates, Morehouse men, the beautiful women of Spelman College and of course, Howard University alum and students were all in attendance at Broccoli City Festival. You couldn't go 10 feet without seeing a familiar face, a friend who gave you the notes that helped you pass your midterm, or the one homegirl who sold you last semester's book for a third of the price online. Beaucoup hugs, lots of "How you been, girl?" and selfies for the 'gram were plentiful. Old friends caught up on the latest, while new friendships kicked off right then and there.

 

3. The local acts were just as good as those on the main stage.

BJ The Chicago Kid brought the soul (and desperately needed sun) during his set. Anderson .Paak's excitement could be felt whether you were in the front row or way way back, and Nayvadius did what Nayvadius has been known to do to a crowd. However, D.C's local talent were no slouches either. They showed up, showed out, and gave those gathered at the "One Love Massive" stage who may have been unfamiliar with D.C. culture and music, brief insight. The small grassy area also gave attendees permission to lose their cool for a bit and let loose. Go-Go music, which is as much a part of D.C. as the White House, ignited the crowd who weren't solely about the big names on the festival line up.

 

4. The message behind Broccoli City Festival is dope.

Between checking your Instagram to see who's been lurking, your DMs to see who slid in, and getting your Snaps off, life in 2016 is distracting and oftentimes leaves no room for a nutritious lifestyle. While the musical line up was great, the entire purpose of Broccoli City Festival is to promote and encourage urban millennials on the importance of healthy eating and environmental sustainability. You literally can't get any better than that.

 

5. The festival gives you an excuse to go to the Nation's Capital.

If you too often worry about what your balance will be after your pending transactions clear, then maybe traveling to extravagant places right now isn't the best idea. No worries, D.C. is just down the block and gives you that get-away feeling you may need. Yes, D.C. is the Nation's Capital, where Obama lives and has a lot of monuments, but beneath the surface, Washington, D.C. is small city with big personality that's waiting to be explored. After you take in all that Broccoli City Festival has to offer, stay and chill for a while. I guarantee you'll have a great time.

 

6. Broccoli City Festival isn't as overly saturated as other festivals.

We're not naming any names, but there are other festivals that after you purchase your expensive ticket, you have to deal with pushing, and sometimes a not-so gentle shove. That isn't the case at Broccoli City. This isn't to say the four-year-old festival isn't packed with attendees. On the contrary, those who know about Broccoli City can attest to the good vibes and fun that's had. However, all the not-so cool stuff that comes with festivals—super long lines, gross porta-potties and belligerent drunk attendees—are all absent from Broccoli City, leaving ample room to enjoy the day, enjoy the music and enjoy each other.

 

7. There's More To Experience Than Just The Music

If for whatever reason you're not a fan of Future (which isn't something we suggest you use as an ice breaker) there's a lot more to do than check out the music. Local artists are on hand creating amazing pieces. For those not interested in tattoos but may want to entertain a Henna, you can try that as well. Awesome T-shirts and unique pieces of jewelry are all for sale along with a a host of other activities to keep you occupied all day. Broccoli City Festival, although still very new, isn't trying to compete with other festivals and in doing so, creates an environment that's solely for the festival attendee looking to simply have a damn good time, sans the foolery.

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Cardi B And City Girls Close Out The BET Experience With Black Girl Rap Magic

Hip-hop is the nation’s most popular genre, from underground house parties in New York, where rappers and MCs would display their capabilities through a devilish delivery, worthy of snatching the breath from your body. Over the past thirty years, rappers have ascended into modern-day rock stars; sold out stadium tours, overt interactions with the law, and for City Girls and Cardi B; the assimilation of popular phrases like, “Okurrr”, and “Periodt” into America’s vernacular.

Their cultural influence was felt among concertgoers on Saturday (June 22) at Staples  Center for BET Experience as fans armies like the Bardi Gang and City Girls transformed the venue into an old school kickback, as they went word for word with their favorite rappers.

Snatched waists, icy gold chains, furs, and the occasional twerk from a group of aunties, (they turned BET Experience into a millennial’s version of Girls Trip); featured fashions from the night resembled one of Cardi’s promotional shots for her Fashion Nova campaign. The diverse composition of fans provided evidence about Cardi and City Girls longevity in hip hop, despite claims about the womxn rappers only be worthy of “15 minutes of fame.”

“Hit 'em with that wet wet, I put a ring on it for a check check,” Yung Miami started her twenty-minute set with a live performance of “Soakin Wet “with Atlanta-based rapper Marlo, as fans witnessed the City Girl demanded the stage, twelve days after her pregnancy announcement. Followed by a live performance of “Throw Fits,” a Bounce-inspired summer anthem with G-Eazy, who performed his verse alongside Miami, and gave her a hug, an acknowledgment from the Oakland rapper, who exited the stage, as murmurs of “Act Up” quietly thumped in the background. “Shout out my bad b***hes in b***h! Who got two phones; one for their suga daddy, and one for they shoota. Free JT, QC until I die,”

Miami’s closing statements as she transitioned into the set’s closer, “Act Up.” Decked in a blue satin crop top, and high waisted tiger pants, Miami squashed rumors about her inability to rock the City Girls brand as an expecting mother with a “PERIODT,” and prepped the audience to secure their frontals for Cardi B’s headlining performance.

“I waited my whole life just to s**t on ni***s. Climbed to the top floor so I can spit on ni***s”, the Grammy award-winning rapper proclaimed her seat as one of the hardest working professionals in the game, among a packed stadium, and started her sixty minute set, with a South Bronx energy, that backed her up claims as “King of New York.” From pouring water on herself during “PRESS”, jumping on top of the stage’s speakers for “Money”, and an intermixed medley of throwing ass, twerking, and grinding on stage; her utilization of the stage is reflective of Cardi’s beginnings as a dancer, because every eye in the Staples Center were fixated on the rhythmic movements of Cardi on stage.

“This is for all the bad b***hes in the building. I did it for the bad b***hes, and you ugly a** b***hes too,” as she performed verses from charting singles, such as “No Limit,” “She Bad,” “Money Bag,” “Motorsport,” and “Thotiana.” A solo performance, Cardi’s presence engulfed the arena, and went non-stop in calling out haters in “Wish Wish.”

The self-described “ brightest motherfuckin star,” backed it up with, “All of that talk and I'm calling it out, Public opinions from private accounts, You not a check, then you gotta bounce” from "Clout," her collab with hubby Offset. 

Mixed throughout the set are essential comedic moments from the rapper, such as a little dance to her repeating “I ain’t going to jail. F**k you mean. I ain’t going to jail” after being charged with 14 counts, dancing like an auntie at the cookout to "Finesse," and camp-inspired moments of fake tears to emotional standbys, "Ring" and "Be Careful." The Cardi B experience closed with "Bodak Yellow," the second song to top Billboard Hot 100 since Ms. Lauryn Hill, is a Cinderella ending to Cardi’s show, a living testament to the rapper’s growth and development in the game, since its release date, two years ago.

In the beginning, music industry executives categorized hip hop as a short-lived phenomenon that scheduled to fade away as its content was too explicit and lacked the range to establish fan bases outside of the boroughs of New York. Similar to Cardi and Yung Miami, hip hop’s 15 minutes of fame will never be up, and thirty years in the future, attendees will still be playing the female rapper’s discographies at family cookouts, a testimony to Cardi and City Girls’ longevity.

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Jennifer Lopez performs onstage for herIt's My Party Tour at The Forum on June 07, 2019 in Inglewood, California.
Rich Fury

Jennifer Lopez Throws Her Own Extravagant Birthday Bash For The ‘It’s My Party’ Tour

Two decades ago, Jennifer Lopez made her official foray into music with her debut album On The 6. After heightened success as the star in the 1997 biopic Selena, she released the album — an amalgamation of chart-friendly pop mixed with dance floor-ready R&B and Latin soul — on June 1, 1999. Its title and sonic influences were nods to her roots, specifically the 6 train which runs from her native Bronx to other parts of New York City. On the second night of her sold-out stint at Los Angeles’ The Forum (June 8), the triple threat not only celebrated twenty years of infectious earworms with a two-and-a-half-hour set but hosted a lavish birthday celebration as proof of how far Jenny from the block has come.

A montage of J.Lo’s iconic career opened the show, depicting the former Fly Girl from In Living Color reminiscing on her milestones from humble beginnings to motherhood. “I was just a dancer from New York and I was trying to make it,” she said in the video. That hustle manifested into superstardom as she pumped out albums, tours, movies, fashion and beauty franchises that have kept her brand — and cash flow — from going stagnant.

As a summer-long pregame for her real-life birthday, Lopez set the Party off with a decadent Moët & Chandon champagne bottle parade and 20 dancers in tow (including finalists from her dance show World of Dance, Swing Latino, season two winners The Lab and dancer Briar Nolet). “Everyone’s a VIP member,” her DJ proclaimed as Lopez proceeded to host an extravaganza that could only be described as balling with no budget. With roughly eight wardrobe changes, cinematic vignettes that provided opportune moments to switch ‘fits, elaborate sets, and enough confetti showers to rival New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve, Lopez made every attendee feel like it was his or her life’s anniversary, too.

For those still hung up on the 2000s, J.Lo catered to the day-ones with updated versions of her early hits. Her inaugural hit “If You Had My Love” set the mood for a burlesque performance that included a sultry lap dance from her and two dancers for a lucky male audience member. She also worked a hefty, black chaise chair with a steamy striptease that quenched the thirst of anyone at the show without a beverage. This later transitioned into a candlelit performance of Drake’s Scorpion slow jam “Teenage Fever,” which sampled the 1999 song and perhaps, served as a gratuitous thank you to the 6 God for showing love. “Waiting For Tonight” ditched the green laser aesthetic from the iconic video for a more vibrant, Pride Month-friendly set-up as Lopez slipped into a lime green catsuit and her dancers vogued ball-style in neon colored outfits that exposed their taut bods.

Never shying away from her hip-hop swag, several numbers saluted her rap ties like the J.Lo and Ja Rule collaborations “I’m Real” and “Ain’t It Funny” triggered instant nostalgia of Juicy Couture velour suits and dog days at the local park. The LOX-assisted “Jenny From The Block” featured Lopez in a cheeky jumpsuit and shimmery New York fitted cap. She broke it down to French Montana’s “Shot Caller” and the song’s sampled classics: 20th Century Steel Band’s “Heaven and Hell is on Earth” and Boogie Down Productions’ “South Bronx.” More contemporary jams like the money-loving anthem “Dinero” (with featured guest and fellow Bronx boo, Cardi B, projected against a backdrop of a golden bank vault) the rump-shaker “Booty,” and a random but here-for-it dance performance to Blueface’s “Thotiana” also got the crowd hype.

Any J.Lo set would be remiss without an emotional segment that harps on her incessant campaign of positivity. After slipping on a voluminous red gown, Lopez slowed down the tempo to deliver a rendition of “Limitless” off the soundtrack for her 2018 rom-com Second Act mashed up with David Guetta and Sia’s powerhouse number “Titanium.” To tug at heartstrings even more, Lopez’s daughter Emme joined her mother onstage and flaunted her vocal chops in an impressive sing-off. The night’s leading lady also admitted that birthdays, especially big ones (she turns 50 in July), often prompt deep self-reflection.

 

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I can’t take it! #Emme #Limitless #ProudMama #JLoItsMyParty

A post shared by Jennifer Lopez (@jlo) on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:59am PDT

After covering one of her favorite songs “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles, Lopez launched into a mini-TED Talk on perseverance. “Even though [“Gravity” is] a love song, it’s about a struggle. Life is like that,” she said. “But somehow, we always find our way back to ourselves when we make it through its tough times. You get to a certain point in your life and people start asking you for advice. It’s like, ‘What have you learned? Give me some secrets. What do you wanna teach your children? What do you want them to know?’

“And I always say, I just want them to know they can do whatever they want to do or they can be whoever they want to be,” she continued. “Life gon’ be hard sometimes and they’re gonna fall down but they gon’ get right back up and mommy’s always gonna be right there.” She turned her attention to the fans, injecting them with the same can-do attitude. “In some of the toughest times I’ve had, when I have fallen down, you guys have helped me get right back up. I want everybody to know that because we’ve really been on this journey together, haven’t we?” she asked. “Something I’ve learned... It took a long time for me, maybe just this year, it really clicked in, is that you can really do whatever you want to do.”

With her toast-worthy speech a wrap, Lopez resumed her boogie-down bash, bringing the funk with “Hold It Don’t Drop It” before repping for all the Latinos in the house with a medley of her Spanish-language bops like her verse on Nio García, Darell and Casper Mágico’s 2017 smash “Te Bote” as well as the Bad Bunny duet “Te Guste.” While Lopez has since secured a diamond from her now-fiancee Alex Rodriguez, “El Anillo” still rang off (pun intended) in the arena.

After shaking what her momma gave her all night, Lopez brought a different type of cake for the finale. After burning what was probably several hundred calories during performances of the club bangers “Dance Again” and “On The Floor,” she returned in a nude bodysuit surrounded a flurry of showgirl feathers as the centerpiece of a three-tiered structure mirroring a wedding cake. It was a fitting encore for a 49-year-old woman who has spent her entire career chasing her passions, even if the risks yielded some type of personal loss or failure both in private and in the public eye. Being an entertainer who can pull off a soirée of this magnitude across the country (while juggling motherhood, an acting career, and other entrepreneurial endeavors) requires the type of confidence only afforded by those who know and trust themselves. As pyrotechnics lit up the stage and metallic streamers and oversized white balloons fell from the ceiling, one particular J.Lo one-liner from the night mirrored her life in that moment. “I’m from the Bronx and this is my party,” she said. “I can do what I want.”

It's My Party Tour Set List

Medicine Love Don’t Cost A Thing Get Right Dinero I’m Real (Remix) Ain’t It Funny (Remix) Jenny From The Block If You Had My Love Teenage Fever (Drake original) Girls Booty Gravity (Sara Bareilles original) Limitless Titanium (David Guetta featuring Sia original) Ain’t Your Mama All I Have Hold It Don’t Drop It Te Bote 2 (Nio García, Darell and Casper Mágico original) Te Guste The Ring (“El Anillo”) Waiting For Tonight Dance Again On The Floor Let’s Get Loud

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Jae Vibes @jaevibesart

Ari Lennox Exudes Grown And Sexy Energy During NYC Shea Butter Baby Tour Stop

Summer hasn't arrived just yet in New York, but Ari Lennox provided plenty of heat during her stellar performance during her stop in New York for her Shea Butter Baby Tour.

The intimate yet lively cold-out set at Bowery Ballroom on Tuesday (June 5), had a little something for everyone. Her openers Baby Rose and Mikhala Jené provided lush performances with their style of R&B soul. Jené's "All I Want" and Rose's very rousing and classic vocals were beautiful discoveries. As natural babes and fellas filled up the venue, alluring blue-hued lights set the tone for the rest of the night.

The connection between the VIBE NEXT alum and the crowd was more than anyone could have hoped for. Stepping out in an all-black ensemble and signature high curly bun (with a very Diana Ross-like fur coat), Ari opened up with "Chicago Boy," which also happens to be the opener for her debut album, Shea Butter Baby. The setlist was a mix of the tracks from the project as well as her breakout EP, PHO. Fans were able to "bust it real fast" on Ari's command to tracks like "Broke," "Night Drive" and the sensual single, "Up Late." With trumpeter Theo Croker performing on "Chicago Boy," "Static" and "Whipped Cream," love and nayhoos were definitely in the kush-filled air.

Loosies like "40 Shades Of Choke" got their moment with Ari requesting everyone to say, "I will be consensually choked tonight and I will survive" before singing the track.

Ari's show was an embodiment of who she is and what her music represents–unapologetic with strong doses of grown and sexy appeal. Her stage was tailor-made for the D.C. native as well. First with the cheekily set up mannequins donning striking wigs behind her, and second with her own commentary throughout the duration of the show. At various points during the show, Ari and her packed audience maintained upbeat conversations.

A fan in the front row shared how the heartbreaking "La La La La" would be her future wedding song with the singer encouraging her by sending good vibes to her future hubby, dog and life.

There wasn't one low point during Ari's show, and it only got degrees hotter when she threw off her fur jacket, a statement piece in her video for "Up Late," and moved effortlessly to the beat of "Broke," her song featuring J.I.D. The Christo-created track got the crowd vibing, and the Bowery was quickly filled up with voices singing along to Ari's catchy lines, "I've been low before/Yeah you know I've been low before."

Hands were thrown into the air by girls sporting long, box braids and styled afros as they danced along to the song. Although J.I.D. didn't come out to perform their record together, the crowd was blessed with a surprise appearance from the brain behind Dreamville himself, J. Cole. With his now, trademark dreadlocks on display, Cole joined his signee onstage for a rendition of their hit "Shea Butter Baby."

The venue was already booming thanks to Ari, but with the two together onstage it may as well have exploded.

The image of Ari and Cole performing is one that can represent 2019 wholly; it's the year of Dreamville. While Cole may have been the icing on the cake for Ari's NY show, she was the entire slice and then some.

Tasting a piece of Ari's live shows is what everyone needs to feel as grown and as sexy and she does.

Check out more dates for The Shea Butter Baby Tour here.

 

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#PressPlay: #AriLennox brings out #JCole in New York for a 🔥performance of her track #SheaButterBaby 👶🏾

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on Jun 4, 2019 at 8:54pm PDT

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