Casey Veggies
Casey Veggies ignites the crowd on the VIBE stage at the Toyota Music Den at Sasquatch. Photo by Erik Voake

VIBE at Sasquatch! 2016: Casey Veggies, Digable Planets, and More Light Up Toyota Music Den

The Gorge Amphitheater is one of the country’s most scenic treasures, and the annual Sasquatch! Music Festival delivered on its promise of sonic and visual stimulation. VIBE was on site for the long Memorial Day weekend at the Toyota Music Den, hosting a stacked bill — along with our friends at SPIN, Stereogum, and BrooklynVegan — featuring West Coast MC and entrepreneur Casey Veggies, U.K. party-starters Rudimental, Walshy Fire of Major Lazer, and the triumphant return of '90s Hip Hop trailblazers Digable Planets. Here's some highlights from the VIBE stage.

DIGABLE PLANETS

One of the most welcome surprises of 2016 was the announcement of the reunion of ’90s Hip Hop legends Digable Planets (Doodlebug, Ladybug Mecca and Butterfly). They’ve been sorely missed since their brief 2011 reunion, and creeping up on the 25th anniversary of their Grammy-winning debut, Reachin’ (A New Refutation of Time and Space), it’s a reminder of just how ahead-of-its-time that seminal record plays. Their groove-laden, smoky blend of jazz club percussion and laid-back, surrealist wordplay has influenced a legion of forward-thinking artists, felt in the likes of Vince Staples and Flying Lotus. With Craig "Doodlebug" Irving on the turntables, and Mary Ann "Ladybug Mecca" Vieira and Ishmael "Butterfly" Butler providing on-stage accompaniment and vocals, the trio brought a typically eclectic set. Spanning West African rhythmic beats to Debbie Deb’s classic club banger “When I Hear Music,” the luminaries closed with a fitting call and response of “Love, Peace, Happiness.”

WALSHY FIRE

Devotees of Miami producer Walshy Fire, one-third of electronic supergroup Major Lazer, had been circling the Toyota Music Den all day, some even brandishing multi-colored flags devoted to their hero. Their time finally came as Fire took the stage at 5:00 p.m., with the largely female demographic losing their minds. Walshy relished the love and delivered a high energy set, pushing his slated 20-minute set past the time limit. Blurring pop and Latin rhythms, Fire brought warm Miami vibes to the windswept Gorge fairgrounds. It was especially cool when Fire shouted out, “Raise your hands if you’re only getting high on music.” The decidedly younger crowd all shot their hands into the air, closing out his set in a burst of positivity.

CASEY VEGGIES

One of the West Coast’s brightest young talents, Veggies has been on the scene since his early teens. As one of the founders of the Odd Future crew, Veggies is also an entrepreneur, co-founder of LA’s clothing and management company Peas & Carrots INTL. The young MC arrived in style (a Metallica t-shirt) to the delight of his fans. The crazy-prolific Veggies knows how to work a crowd, and he pumped the already joyous festival-goers into ecstatic overload with old favorites “She In My Car” and recent tracks “Backflip” and “New Face$” from his latest, 2015’s Live and Grow.

RUDIMENTAL

U.K. party-starters and electronic, drum and bass genre-hoppers Rudimental kept the energy at a fever pitch. The assembled collective of Rudimental is deep, but the three core members — Piers Agget, Leon “DJ Locksmith” Rolle, and Kesi Dryden — are childhood friends from way back. Their ambitious blend of world, house, dubstep, soul and pop swirls into a propulsive party blend. Bridgette Amofah’s colorfully soulful vocals soared over the beats, while the Rudimental collective blew bubbles into the crowd. It was the perfect cocktail, providing fans a tasty treat before Rudimental’s headlining set later that night.

KEVIN GARRETT

The blue-eyed soul of Kevin Garrett, NYC-based crooner and Beyonce collaborator, served as a nice cool day from the afternoon sun. The 25-year-old singer/songwriter/producer is popping up on everyone’s radar, earning praise from Sam Smith and Katy Perry, while landing producer/songwriter credit for Beyonce’s Lemonade opening track “Pray You Catch Me.” Garrett’s intimate set delivered on the hype, and hidden behind dark shades, Garrett played it cool on the keys. The Den hushed as delicate keys announced “Refuse,” Garrett’s 2015, piano-driven hit single. It’s easy to imagine Garrett bringing an arena to giddy silence, as I’m sure we’ll see him doing in the future.

SON LITTLE

The literal son of a preacher man, Philly R&B singer-songwriter Son Little — a.k.a. Aaron Livingston — had more than enough soul to spare, preaching his gospel to the late afternoon Den crowd. While Livingston trades on his Philly soul upbringing, his self-titled Anti-Records debut LP shares more in common with Delta blues, as Livingston sings of rivers, floods and loser’s blues. Stripped of backing percussion, his set was haunting yet uplifting. As fans approached sheer exhaustion from the 4 day weekend, Livingston’s laments had the crowd shuffling slowly, eyes closed in rapture as they could felt his pain.

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102-Year-Old Woman Evicted From Home To Make Room For Landlord’s Daughter

A 102-year-old woman living in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Ladera Heights is being evicted from her home of three decades. Thelma Smith was notified on March 8 that she has to move out so that the landlord’s daughter can move into the single-family home, after she graduates from law school.

Smith was on a month-to-month lease and has been paying “very low rent,” her longtime neighbor told the L.A. Times. She has to be out of the home by June 30.

While Smith’s eviction is legal, as landlords have the right to evict tenants to help relatives under L.A.'s Rent Stabilization Ordinance, Larry Gross of the Coalition for Economic Survival told the Times that the law is used to “target low-income paying tenants.”

Smith is a former director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, a Los Angeles-based charity aimed at serving underprivileged youth. She has yet to find a new home, and rejected her neighbor’s offer to move in, but it looks like she’ll be getting housing assistance from Arnold Schwarzenegger. The actor and former California Governor vowed to help Smith, whom he called a “dear friend for a long time.”

“Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless,” he tweeted Friday (May 24). Schwarzenegger went on to state that he will be reaching out to Smith. “Landlords, you’ll hear from me too,” he added.

Thelma has been a dear friend for a long time. Imagine doing this to a 102-year-old woman who gave back to the community her whole life. It is heartless. Thelma, I’ll be reaching out to help. Landlords, you’ll hear from me too. https://t.co/IJQrclGQ6I

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) May 24, 2019

Landlord Arthur Hilton explained to CBS News that the home was never meant to be a rental property, even though Smith had been living there for 30 years. “This property was purchased by my parents not for rental but for the Hilton family,” he said.

Smith, a widow who never had children, planned to live in the home for the remainder of her life.

See more on her story in the video above.

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Rey Ma Facing Additional Charges In Alleged Assault Against Brittney Taylor

Rey Ma has been hit with additional charges in an ongoing assault case in which she stands accused of attacking former Love & Hip Hop: New York cast member Brittney Taylor. The Bronx native appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court Friday (May 24) where she was arraigned on four misdemeanor charges, according to TMZ.

Although Remy was initially charged with assault, and turned herself in to authorities earlier in the month, she now faces two counts of third-degree assault, one count of second-degree aggravated harassment, and one count of second-degree harassment. She was offered the option to plead guilty to the top charge and enter anger management in exchange for having the other charges dropped but reportedly rejected the deal.

A trial date has been set of July 12.

Taylor claims Remy punched her in the eyed during a run-in at the Pretty Lou Charity Concert at New York City’s Irving Plaza last month. Remy was among the event performers along with Fat Joe, Jim Jones and more. She denies attacking Taylor and claims to have video evidence proving her innocence. TMZ reports that prosecutors have since changed the time of when the supposed altercation took place to line up with the time that Remy would have been at the venue.

Upon leaving the courtroom Friday, Remy didn’t mince words when speaking about going to trial. “Who looks forward to going to trial? I have things to do in my life,” she said according to the New York Daily News. “I have a real job, I have a family, I have a husband, I have a daughter.”

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34 black female cadets from West Point's Class of 2019 pose at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York.
Cadet Hallie H. Pound/U.S. Army via AP

Black Women Cadets Make History At West Point Graduation

A record number of black female cadets are set to graduate from West Point (The United States Military Academy). After completing four years of education and "testing their limits," 34 black women will be walking across the stage at the 2019 commencement ceremony for the first time in the school's 217-year history.

Earlier this month, the black female cadets came together for a pre-graduation group photo. Little did they know, the photos of them in traditional Old Corps uniforms with ceremonial sabers would make their rounds on social media.

“My hope when young Black girls see these photos is that they understand that regardless of what life presents you, you have the ability an fortitude to be a force to be reckoned with,” shared one of the cadets, Tiffany Welch-Baker, in an interview with Because Of Them We Can.

Although West Point admitted its first black cadet until 1870, the academy didn’t graduate its first black cadet until the Reconstruction in 1877. In 1979, Vincent K. Brooks was made the first black captain of the Corps of Cadets. In 2017, Simone Askew became the first Black woman to lead the Corps of Cadets.

Senior cadet Stephanie Riley told The Associated Press in another interview: “I just showed myself and those who thought I couldn’t do it initially that yes, I can. And not just, ‘Yes, I can.’ I can show other little girls that yes, you can come to West Point. Yes, you can do something that maybe the rest of your peers aren’t actually doing. And yes, you can be different from the rest of the group.”

The class of 2019 includes a total of 223 women, another milestone since the first female cadets' graduation in 1980. The total number of graduation African-Americans doubled to 110, while the number of graduating Latinos became the largest, 88, in the academy's history. West Point also appointed Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams as its first black superintendent in July 2018.

Not only will West Point be graduating its 5,000th female cadet, but it will also have its highest number of female Hispanic graduates, 19. The commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, May 25, with Vice President Mike Pence delivering the commencement speech.

Congratulations to the black ladies of West Point's graduating Class of 2019!

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