2016 Bonnaroo Arts And Music Festival - Day 2
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#HappyRoo: The 13 Best Performances Of Bonnaroo 2016

These performances have us wishing we were back on the Farm.

For the second year in a row, VIBE traveled to Manchester, Tennessee to experience Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, known for its good vibes and even better music, for four full days of musical madness on the infamous farm.

With 2016 marking the long-standing festival's 15th anniversary, it was surely one for the books: memorable, momentous and unreal, bringing together the likes of hip-hop heavyweights, appealing alt acts, R&B's newest vanguards, genre-bending DJ's and much more that kept festival-goers jamming 'til sunrise.

Below, we rounded up the best performances of Bonnaroo 2016, from Chance The Rapper's impromptu Silent Disco listening party to Lizzo's refreshing girl-powered set to Bryson Tiller's festival debut.

Chance The Rapper

Since his 2014 debut on the farm, Chance The Rapper and Bonnaroo have become best buds in a sense. He's camped out on the grounds with fans in true Roo fashion. He's had unforgettable surprise appearances alongside Kendrick Lamar during Earth, Wind & Fire's set. And who could forget his 2015 SuperJam performance that included covers of Notorious B.I.G.'s "Juicy," the Fresh Prince's "Summertime," Montell Jordan's "This Is How We Do It,", and Bell Biv DeVoe's "Poison?" Honestly, you never know what the 23-year-old has up his sleeve when it comes to the multi-stage camping event. And last week, he rivaled himself, going down in Roo history with a new nickname as the mayor of Bonnaroo. While he wasn't on this year's lineup, that didn't stop the South Side-bred rapper from attending the four-day festival, giving his fans many rare musical moments ranging from popping up onstage with J. Cole, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Miguel, and sprinting to the stage during Bryson Tiller's set and hurling his fists in the air as the beat to "No Problems" dropped. Complete pandemonium ensued every time.  And for those that were lucky, like us, they'd spy Chance chilling in the press area amongst us common folk and taking in various artists' sets. To close out the weekend in a major way, he'd pull out all the stops on Sunday (June 12) with an impromptu listening session of Color Book in the Silent Disco, where 500 fans packed out the venue to (silently) witness the greatness of Chancelor Bennett. Oh yeah, and the next day, he tweeted, "Hey @Bonnaroo I love you. See you next year."

The Internet

There's something very ethereal about The Internet. So much so that 10 minutes into their set, you forget about the blazing Tennessee heat and the beads of sweat rolling down your face. Most times, singers with sensually sweet voices become lost in translation on festival stages, but it's apparent that front woman Syd Tha Kyd has been hard at work for the past year to make her anomaly of a voice her own since their rise to critical acclaim with their third studio LP, Ego Death. For day one fans and those that just caught their wave, the band balanced their show out with throwbacks, newer jams and some of their more high-energy tracks to keep the crowd energized. But it was their performance of "Curse," a bonus-like bass and falsetto-driven track, in which guitarist Steve Lacy flexes his vocals alongside Syd's that had the crowd at a loss for words. And when Pharrell secretly shows up to your set, you know you're pretty much the s**t .


Only Casanova-like crooner Miguel could pack out a tent well past midnight, after the festival shut down all of its stages for 65 minutes while a thunderstorm blew through Manchester. Throughout his damn near flawless set, he'd rock the crowd with a handful of his chart-topping hits dating back to 2010. It was the kind of set where you'd see couples discreetly grinding to "Adorn," proud singles smoothly body rolling to "Quickie," while reminiscing about some of their best low-maintenance lovers, and genre-less music junkies partaking in air guitar to "face the sun." Our Assistant Editor, Stacy-Ann Ellis, was in awe to the point that she equated his Bonnaroo debut to that of "an electric moment worth reliving."

Tyler, The Creator

Odd Future may now be a defunct collective with a bunch hopefuls waiting with fingers crossed for a reunion, but fans still come out in hoards to pledge their allegiance to its group members, including Tyler, The Creator. But even still, he divulged very shortly into his set that he wasn't sure if Tennessee "fucked with him." "I've got 50 minutes, can I just jump around and yell?" he asked the crowd, turning up the This Tent with his longtime pals Taco on the turntables and Jasper on the mic. Tyler is the type of artist who suffers from severe asthma, but doesn't abandon his stage presence because of it. While performing tracks like "48," "Domo 23," "IFHY," "Tamale," "What The F**k Right Now," "DEATHCAMP, and "Tron Cat," the crowd repeated the lyrics word-for-word while T hit his smoothest Dougie and Harlem Shake. 

Cashmere Cat

DJ sets at festivals can sometimes be chancy, contingent upon both the crowds energy and the turntablist's vibes. But Bonnaroo-goers gave a warm welcome to Norweigan musican/producer/DJ and turntablist Cashmere Cat, whose dreamy electronic dance sound controlled the crowd, even though he never actually addressed them like most DJs. His actual stage set up was nothing fancy to gawk at, just a simple black stage with intense, iridescent lights beaming every moment the beat of a track dropped. For those that weren't familiar with his catalogue, the music was surely infectious enough to keep you entertained. But it was his live edit of Kanye West's "Waves"  and "Wolves" (which he has a producing credit on from The Life Of Pablo) that grabbed the attention of most. And a spin of his unexpected 2015 collaboration with Ariana Grande, "Be My Baby," solidified his set as a full-fledged lituation.

Vince Staples

Twenty two-year-old LBC-born rapper Vince Staples embarked on a cross-country trip to for his Bonnaroo debut and didn't disappoint. Staples live is in ways a gift that keeps on giving. He doesn't just run through his set with agility and ease (with his asthma pump not too far behind), but he's also down for cracking a joke or two and trolling the audience. And it also doesn't hurt that you can genuinely feel his energetic vibes draw in the crowd with a single wave of his hand from left to right while performing tracks from Summertime '06, his critically acclaimed double album debut.


DMV rapper Goldlink has a festival-filled summer ahead of him, performing at Soundset, Firefly, Wildlife, Lovebox and many others well into the end of August. Bonnaroo, the second of his 12 stops, got to experience his dynamic live set featuring the quirky future bounce sound he birthed from influences ranging from rhythmic Go-Go to the hip-hop-tinged R&B of the 90's. Goldlink brought along his whole crew (Louie Lastic, DJ Kidd Marvel, and Brass Tracks) to jazz things up with a live band element, performing tracks like "Ay Ay," "Spectrum," "Late Night," "Dance On Me," and many more. An honorable mention goes to Marvel's remix of Ludacris' "What's Your Fantasy," where we witnessed Goldlink let loose and cut up.


Chicago-based DJ duo Flosstradamus brought the ratchetness to Bonnaroo, and we mean that in the best way possible. There was a bunch of hair tossing, twerking, and turning up when they hit the stage to party with their fans, better known as, #HDYNATION. J2K (Josh) and Autobot (Curt) both forerunners of the EDM trap wave of the 2010s, took turns holding down the turntables and rocking the mic, while keeping hits like Desiigner's "Panda" and Rihanna's "B***h Better Have My Money" in rotation. The highlight of the night was a synth-heavy revamp of Soulja Boy's "Pretty Boy Swag."

Bryson Tiller

We've got five words for Bryson Tiller: the glo' up is real. No one currently occupying the lane of the newly-adopted fusion genre Rap&B has seen quite the career trajectory the 23-year-old Louisville, KY artist has, flipping his SoundCloud success into 2015 debut, T R A P S O U L. His success was also fermented with three tracks charting the Billboard Hot 100 within three months, venturing on his own North American tour, and taking the main stage at Hot 97's legendary Summer Jam. So, when it came to Bonnaroo, his first festival performance ever, things fell right into place and without a hitch. When it comes down to the particulars, there was nothing new or life changing about his performance for those that have already experienced him live. "Exchange," "Been That Way," and "For However Long" all cranked with the same smooth, slow-rolling tempo and Pen Griffey quotable bars music junkies have grown to love him for. A highlight of his performance did present itself when Chance The Rapper hopped on stage and turned up the crowd with "Blessings." Tiller closed out his set strong with the single song that took him from working at Papa John's and UPS to chilling in the Hollywood Hills, "Don't," as the crowd sang the entire song in unison, word-for-word.

J. Cole

Don't let Jermaine Cole's sleepy disposition fool you. The man knows how to take any lifeless stage and set it ablaze come showtime. All six feet and some-odd inches of J.Cole sprinted across Bonnaroo's What Stage with a ballplayer's energy as he ran the through the most hype selections from his six-project plus discography. He maneuvered from The Sideline Story selects like "Nobody's Perfect" into the major 2014 Forest Hills Drive faves like "A Tale of 2 Citiez," "No Role Modelz" and "Wet Dreamz." A special shout out to Cole for sonning the unfortunate Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in "No Role Modelz." As a treat for his day ones, he even pulled goodies like "Lights Please" off The Warm Up out his vault. And of course, how could we forget how the Rapper's Champ brought out the Peoples' Champ Chance The Rapper for a surprise performance of "No problem"? Talk about an experience like no other at a festival like no other. —Stacy-Ann Ellis

Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington is an artist that embodies the many wonders of music with a single tenor saxophone. From his contributions to To Pimp a Butterfly to his own impressive 2015 record, The Epic, a 172-minute, triple disc brimming with an undeniable rhythm. Washington & Co. brought the same grand gesture to Bonnaroo feeding the home of Johnny Cash smothered, down-home soul.


Beyoncé and 20-year-old French-Cuban twins Ibeyi may be pretty much synonymous at this point after B randomly teased a short clip from a video from her September Vogue cover story featuring an excerpt of their track "River." And then months later, the magical, multi-cultural music duo popped up in Lemonade. But Bonnaroo was the best place to show that beyond B's co-sign, they've got something worth listening to. With Naomi on the percussive instruments of the Cajon and the Batas, and Lisa on the keys, the ladies slayed the stage.


Twenty eight-year-old alt hip-hop artist Lizzo wasn't even on our list of artist sets to catch, but her DJ was so lit that we scarfed down our sugar-tinged funnel cakes and scurried to the half-packed tent that was quickly filling. An answer to this generation's Missy Elliott, Lizzo is super duper fly. She's got thorough bars and a set of powerhouse vocal chops that boast of a theatrical "it" factor. "Good As Hell," "Let 'em Say," and "Batches & Cookies" were just a few of the tracks that drew us in instantly and had us two-stepping with strangers. With an all-gal crew of dancers, MCs, and DJ holding her down and lyrics boasting of body-posi sentiments (listen to "My Skin"), more than her talent, we're sure the tentful of people were feeling what she symbolizes in the industry's male-dominated setting, converting people over to her Big Grrrl Small World movement.

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Devi Love and Charlamagne tha God attend AfroTech 2019 at Oakland Marriott City Center on November 08, 2019 in Oakland, California.
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At AfroTech, Black Tech Innovators Ban Together To Make Their Voices Heard

Entrepreneur Delane Parnell made history last year after his esports software company PlayVS raised $15 million for its Series-A funding round, making it the largest Series-A ever raised by a Black founder in consumer internet. In September of this year PlayVS, which provides a platform for competitive high school esports competitions, again made headlines when it announced that it raised an additional $81 million in funding from a group of notable investors that included Adidas, Samsung, Sean “Diddy” Combs, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Over the course of 15 months, the company raised a combined total of $96 million in funding to expand the business and a 27-year-old Parnell, who serves as the company’s CEO, became one of the most talked-about Black founders in tech.

During a time when only 1 percent of venture capital funding is going to Black founders and only 0.2 percent of venture capital funding is going to Black women founders, Parnell’s recent success represents an anomaly in the tech startup world. Despite a major increase in press concerning the lack of access and opportunities that Black founders in tech receive and an incredible growth in minority-focused venture capital funds and resources, the PlayVS founder remains a part of a small but growing crop of Black millennial tech founders that have created innovative business solutions so desirable that even the predominantly white-male dominated tech world has been forced to recognize and support them.

Blavity Inc. Founder and CEO Morgan DeBaun is also a member of this burgeoning class of Black millennial startup founders making noise in the industry. Last year, Blavity Inc., which owns Black millennial media and event platforms Blavity, Shadow and Act, Travel Noire, 21 Ninety, AfroTech, and Summit 21, raised a $6.5 million Series-A funding round and grew the company from one office and 30 employees to two offices and over 80 employees. DeBaun, who founded media company Blavity Inc. in 2014 with her three co-founders Jonathan Jackson, Jeff Nelson and Aaron Samuels, is vocal about the struggles not only Black tech founders face but the ones Black tech employees experience working at large white tech companies. Last month, DeBaun once again had a platform to speak on these issues during Blavity’s fourth annual AfroTech Conference, a tech conference geared toward Black millennial founders.


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#AfroTech has information and knowledge for everyone. You can find advice from other founders, VCs to pitch your company to, or the tech talent you may need to get your idea going. Don't miss out on new connections that can help you succeed. #linkinbio #careeropportunities #careergoals #venturecapitalist #founders

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AfroTech was created in 2016 as an event to highlight Black tech innovators and provide more opportunities and information for them to succeed. The first three years of the conference took place in San Francisco, Calif., the U.S. epicenter of technology startups. This year, the festival was moved to Oakland, Calif., a strategic move meant to honor a city with a rich Black history and patronize the small Black businesses, that despite aggressive gentrification, are still operating today. During the second weekend of November, Downtown Oakland hosted 10,000 Black tech innovators from around the U.S. looking to form meaningful connections, learn from one another, and celebrate the rising profile of Black people in tech.

One of AfroTech’s primary missions is to address the lack of information Black millennials have about the technology industry. The dozens of high-profile guest speakers, which included Parnell, The ShadeRoom founder Angelica Nwandu, lawyer and political commentator Angela Rye, and media personality Charlamagne Tha God, were carefully selected to provide Black founders, college students, and employees access to knowledge that would better equip them to lead successful tech careers. Across four different stages, speakers shared their experiences and advice on venture capital funding, coding, the cannabis industry, media, and blockchain.

“We don’t always have the vocabulary to frame our success so that we can have opportunities like getting venture capital,” DeBaun tells VIBE prior to taking the main stage at day one of AfroTech. “Part of AfroTech is creating information so that people know how to talk about what they are already doing. We don’t have to change much besides just the vocabulary and breaking down some of the biases we have been taught about ourself.”

Although knowledge plays a big part in enabling Black people in tech to receive greater opportunities, a supportive and well-connected network pipeline is another key factor necessary to fuel the group’s success. In tech, warm introductions and word of mouth rivals technical skills and ability during the job selection process. Ivy League and country club connections make it difficult for non-white people to penetrate the exclusive tech veil. A harsh reality that new diversity and inclusion departments and new executives are apparently working hard to change.


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Reports revealed #Al's discriminatory instincts — including mislabeling Black people as gorillas — are only getting worse. What can we do to improve the future of artificial intelligence and remedy the tech industry's diversity problem? #Tech #Afrotech #Al #artificialintelligence

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“Unfortunately we have been trained to have a mindset of deficit, that we can be one of only,” says DeBaun about the lack of representation in tech spaces. “The vision of AfroTech is that we show that it’s an abundance, it’s unlimited potential, unlimited power. So if you have access you should give it to someone else. That’s your duty and your responsibility because you wouldn’t have gotten here if someone hadn’t given you access most likely. AfroTech is actually designed to try to speed that up.”

AfroTech’s socialization component may be the most valuable part of the weekend. Dozens of high-profile tech companies from Google to Twitter, Lyft to YouTube, sent representatives to set up booths to recruit potential job candidates and share valuable information about its diversity efforts. Diversity-focused venture capital firms like Harlem Capital Partners and Precursor Ventures were also engaged with founders and swapped business cards during the conference’s designated networking periods. For Black people who did not attend an Ivy League school or grow up with a country club membership, these moments provided a valuable and direct pipeline to the world’s largest companies.

AfroTech’s opportunities for connection and knowledge distribution did not simply end once the conference did. The AfroTech app, website, and Slack channel have continued to provide helpful resources and opportunities for Black people in tech to communicate with one another. With platforms like AfroTech, Black Women Talk Tech, Black Girls Code and Black Founders, Black people in tech are provided with opportunities to not only empower themselves in this industry but support and empower other Black people in the process.


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"A lot of the opportunities I have is because I invited myself instead of waiting to be invited. I don’t often wait for people to validate whether or not I should be in the room. I make that decision myself. In this world, you can’t be afraid of “no” or “sorry, I can’t help you”. You let that be fuel to keep going no matter what. 👊🏾" - @carterlove⠀ ⠀ We found this story in our mentions and just had to reshare these inspirational vibes! We know many #BlacksInTech can wait forever to "be invited" to the table, so it's so important to be the change and invite ourselves! ✊🏾Or better yet, make our own 💁🏾.⠀ ⠀ What are some ways you invite yourself to opportunities? Let's talk about it!👇🏾

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Solange Uses Her Divine Spirit To Calm The Mind And Body For "Bridge-s" Performance Piece

There's a serene feeling over the bodies standing in the iconic architecture at the Getty Center Museum. Jazzy horns, peaceful keys, and crisp guitar riffs gently interrupt the soothing silence as dancers dripped in marigold threads swayed to "Counting," a composition created by Solange. A series of odd numbers like "5", "7" and "9" are recited on a loop by half of her dancers while the others chant "6", "4" and "2." It's just a preview of her latest creation Bridge-s but felt like a dynamic meditation.

Bridge-s brings yet another magnetic piece into her series of interdisciplinary works that spawned after the release of her magnum opus, A Seat At The Table. The world was introduced to Solange's artistic side thanks to performance art pieces at the Guggenheim in New York and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles.

Composed by Solange and choreographed by Gerard & Kelly, Bridge-s was created with the pillars, beams, and columns around the museum in mind. Dancers and the orchestra used the space to their advantage, with tuba players catching the peripheral of attendees from afar.

Four rollouts will take place November 16-17, curated with a selection of films that include Black to Techno by Jenn Nkiru, AFRONAUTS and Boneshaker by Nuotama Bodomo, The State of Things by singer-songwriter Kish Robinson (Kilo Kish) and more. In its entirety, Bridge-s was designed to explore "transitions through time."

This was felt throughout the performance piece as dancers move with the intent of love, internal struggle, and unity. In a stunning zine designed by Sablā Stays, Gerard & Kelly shared the emphasis behind their modernist and inclusive approach.

"Our work, like hers, is part of an interdisciplinary effort throughout the arts and humanities to redefine modernism by critically engaging its prevailing narratives. By accounting for differences of gender, sexuality, and race. By focusing on intimate and collective histories. By centering our work around the body, dance and movement," they said.

Solange also opened up about the importance the museum and the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg played in the performance piece. "Both Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Getty Museum have sure strong distinctive voices spatially, and so the intention is that all of the work, the movement, the language, the songs all align with those principles," she said. "Working with Gerard and Kelly, who share many of the same philosophies on their approach to interpreting time and space through performance has really built the foundation [for] the spirit of this collaboration."

Like the rest of us, the artist watched closely the dancers glide across the floor, while bandmembers release enchanting sonnets with vocalists dropping a few high notes in between. Guests like Thundercat (and his Pikachu backpack), Kilo Kish, Dev Hynes of Blood Orange and Tyler, The Creator were also left speechless after the performance.

“I just want to thank you guys for allowing me the space to evolve, experiment and express new frontiers,” Solange said to the crowd after the assembly provided endless cheers.

Learn more about Bridge-s and get free tickets here.

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Rick Ross' ‘Port Of Miami 2 Tour' Is Motivation To Hustlers Far And Wide

“I can spot a millionaire—from the guy working at the carwash,” Rick Ross said to a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Gramercy Theatre on his “Port of Miami 2 Tour.” “He got the rag hanging out of his pocket, to the way he rock his [pants]. I see the millionaire in him,” Rozay continued.

For nearly two hours on Tuesday (Oct. 15), the MMG bawse galvanized the hustler’s spirit, thanks to the preciseness of words used to explain his “came from the bottom” narrative combined with first hand accounts of the imperative mental spaces that dope boys experience.

But before Rozay graced the stage at the Gramercy Theatre, MMG’s baby boomer Yowda entertained the crowd for a brief set before passing the mic to lifelong MMG soldier Gunplay.

Rocking a black Dickies outfit, the Triple C member, who has been vocal about his cocaine addiction, stormed the stage with coke-like energy while mouthing lyrics to his sobering verse from “The Great Americans,” a song from MMG’s Self Made, Vol. 3.

Gunplay, who was actually born in the Bronx, nimbly bounced across the stage like a point-guard maneuvering through defense closed out his set with his under-the-radar street classics “Blood on the Dope,” “Bible on the Dash,” and his verse from Waka Flacka’s “Rolling.”

With marijuana smoke clouding the venue, liquor relaxing some concert-goers, and the clock inching toward 9:15 p.m., Rozay slowly walked toward the center of the stage—indirectly egging on the standing ovation by confidently nodding his head. Lex Luger’s “B.M.F.” instrumental blasted from the speakers for what seemed like minutes before the Dade County native dived into his verses.

The motivational concert commenced with the words: “I think I’m Big Meech, Larry Hoover,” here Ross is claiming his declaration to be financially independent---probably his No. 1 goal in life.

Less than two minutes into the start of Rozay’s set, The L.O.X.’s Styles P surprised the crowd by appearing onstage to deliver his verse from “B.M.F,” which was followed by ”Good Times (I Get High).” Surprises continued when Jadakiss appeared on stage to help his partner-in-rhyme run through their classic, “We Gonna Make It.”


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Elite Mc’ing last night with @richforever . #Dblock #Lox #NYC

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After working up a sweat, a slimmer-looking Ross shedded his beige designer trench jacket. Dressed in all white—like the cocaine money that he raps about—with shining jewels wrapped around his neck and wrists, Ross played the visual representation of success to kids from every coast.

Ross proceeded the show with his get-money classics like “I’m Not a Star,” where when he rapped: “Nine for the slice, dummy that’s a Dan Marino/Talking quarterbacks, meaning talking quarter kilos,” concert-goers enthusiasm seemed to max-out as they rapped with words with Ross.

After performing a list of favorites like “Aston Martin Music” and “Hustlin’,” the Box Chevy anthem that set the rapper’s career in motion, and “Where My Money (I Need That),” Rozay surprised New Yorkers by inviting Brooklyn native Fabolous onstage.

The Young OG entertained the Gramercy with hits like “Breathe” and “Cuffin Season” before closing his set with his verse from Meek Mill’s “Uptown.”

As the night grew to a close, Ross decided to remind fans that it’s totally fine for hustlers to shed tears. With that, the 43-year-old delivered his masterful verse from Kanye West’s “Devil in a New Dress.”

The place erupted with emotion with lines like “Whole clique appetite had tapeworms/Spinning Teddy Pendergrass vinyl as my J burns/I shed a tear before the night’s over.”


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Tears continued to fall as Ross ran through the CeeLo Green-assisted “Tears of Joy,” a woeful hip-hop ballad that shows the imperativeness—from a dope boys POV—of financial freedom.

Overall, Rozay’s performance is not filled with animation and routines. His stage presence isn’t as strong as fellow hustler-turned-rappers Jay-Z and Pusha T. However, Ross’ words of encouragement are powerful tools that incites the “give me liberty or death” mentality that birthed the hustlers spirit of America, and birthed America.

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