Voodoo-2016
Caitlyn Ridenour

6 Fan-Favorite Artists You Missed At Voodoo Fest 2016

While last year’s waterlogged event lost an entire day due to torrential rain, the 2016 Voodoo Music + Arts Festival in New Orleans was blessed with picture-perfect weather and a stacked lineup full of amazing artists and powerful performers over the celebratory Halloween weekend.

After running from stage to stage across City Park and taking in a plethora of performances over the weekend, here's a rundown of six of the best acts we saw at Voodoo Fest 2017.

The Weeknd

The Weeknd wasted no time in galvanizing the massive crowd of fans (many sporting his signature “XO” logo on clothing and even inked on skin) that packed the main stage area for his headlining set on the festival’s opening day, opening with “The Hills” before launching into his most recent single, the frenetic “False Alarm,” taken from his soon-to-be-released full-length, Starboy. Reaching as far back as his legendary debut mixtape, House of Balloons, and offering up an inspired set list (including his raunchy remix of Ty Dolla $ign’s “Or Nah”), singer Abel Tesfaye’s stage presence is both immense and immediate, even without his recently shorn crown of dreadlocks. Stalking the stage beneath an ominous illuminated triangle while delivering his angelic croon, he ended the set with the menacing pulse of the Starboy title track, produced with the assistance of notorious French disco robot duo, Daft Punk.

Tory Lanez

Lanez continues to vie for the title as the hardest working man in R&B as he moves closer to the breakout moment that will make his the superstar he’s clearly ready to be. Spending as much time out in the crowd as he did on the stage, the singer’s efforts to connect with his fans paid off handsomely as they carried his crowd-surfing body deep into the audience and back again, performing songs including “LUV” and “Say It” the entire time without missing a beat. Leaning heavily on his latest album, I Told You, Lanez earned every bit of love he wrung out of his adoring masses.

DJ Mustard

DJ Mustard took over the mostly EDM-focused Le Plur stage to preside over a massive hip-hop dance party that attracted one of the biggest and most enthusiastic crowds of the entire festival. Rolling out a panoramic set that covered everything from old-school classics by Snoop Dogg, DMX and Black Sheep to current hits by Drake, Future and Kanye West, Mustard’s rapid-fire style and crowd-hyping MC skills kept the multitudes of party people jumping for every moment that he was onstage.

Rae Sremmurd

Whenever Swae Lee and Slim Jimmy take the stage, it’s safe to say that the turn-up is real. Jimmy (who like the Weeknd has cut off his dreadlocks) hit the stage in a Dragon Ball Z Halloween costume that he peeled off piece-by-piece, tossing most of it into the crowd for clamoring fans to covet. Their set is nonstop energy, bouncing through party anthems “No Type,” “Black Beatles,” and “No Flex Zone” in what felt like a blur, with fans rapping along to seemingly every word. Running through the front rows and at times scaling the scaffolding along the stage, the duo’s infectious exuberance was not to be denied.

Sir The Baptist

This Chicago native makes music with a higher purpose than most: Sir The Baptist wants to save lives. Bringing a loud and clear message of self-empowerment, economic responsibility, and community building, he goes out of his way to spread love and unity through song. “You’re going to dance to a lot of stuff this weekend,” he stressed at one point. “Let me feed your soul.” Between songs from his debut album, The Preacher’s Kid, Sir The Baptist even went so far as to give out his phone number at the end of the set, calling it a “personal prayer line” for his fans.

Anderson .Paak and the Free Nationals

Paak fully embraced the Halloween spirit, as he and his band, the Free Nationals, took to the stage dressed in ‘80s metal drag to the opening of Guns ‘N Roses song, “Welcome to the Jungle.” It was the perfect jumping off point for Paak’s all the way live hip-hop heroics, with him going so far as to man the drum kit for a series of tracks. His huge main stage crowd was packed with fans that sang the lyrics of songs including “The Season/Carry Me,” “Room in Here” and “Come Down” right back at him. His star power is readily apparent, and it shouldn’t be long before he experiences a major crossover breakthrough that will elevate his superstar status to an even higher level.

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A$AP Ferg (L) and A$AP Rocky attend A$AP Mob Yams Day 2019 at Barclays Center on January 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

2019 Yams Day: A Millennial Hypebeast's Wet Dream

It's somewhat fitting that the theme for the 2019 Yams Day is WWE wrestling. While it pays homage to the late Yams' favorite sport and pastime, it perfectly encapsulates today's concert culture for the millennial hypebeast.

After wading in the brisk weather of one of the colder Thursday's of Jan. 2019, 20-somethings and late 90s babies flocked to their assigned sections of Brooklyn's Barclays Center to pay tribute to the founder member and enjoy A$AP Rocky's "Injured Generation Tour."

The crowd is more salt than peppered, even more than a Lil Wayne concert. Puffer jackets decorate the rows of the rickety stadium chairs. And young clear girls donning cornrows, tube tops, cropped shirts, and a rainbow of colored, high-waisted camo pants weave in and out of the aisles. Boys in beanies, florescent skullcaps, and cross-body bags are seen down below migrating in huddles by the main stage and sub-arena masquerading as a wrestling ring. If you needed a gentle reminder of just how influential black culture can be, you found it here.

Rocky, the mob's fierce leader, encouraged the crowd to form a pit in the center of the venue. And just like WWE, a single spotlight highlights the pit as shirtless boys crash into one another, limbs failing and heads bobbing. It surely looks like it hurts, but as mentioned several times throughout the night, it's all for show, and for fun of course.

Each mosh is ricocheted off of one another so much so that from the lower level (which is actually one level above the floor), looked like a violent sea rolling up to shore.

The only thing keeping these kids up, besides the body of the person beside them, seems to be the revolving doors of performers which included a long list of ragers like Ski Mask the Slump God, Flatbush Zombies, Joey Bada$$, Metro Boomin, and of course A$AP Mob.

Weed fogs the air as fans light up to commemorate the fallen members of hip-hop. That includes more than Yams today, as XXXTentacion recently passed away in 2018. And it wouldn't be a night if someone didn't yell "Free Tekashi 6ix9ine." "No one deserves to be locked up," it was stated.

"Millennial" and "hypebeast" haven't always found the perfect harmony, but when they do it produces a unique experience. Black boy joy is one of the better products. A$AP Ferg and a variety of other friends and family partake in a fun-loving game of dance-tag, flinging their arms and bodies around as Lil Wayne and Swizz Beatz's "Uproar" cuts on. Other jams of the present and past like Crime Mob's "Knuck If You Buck" and Kendrick Lamar's "M.a.A.d city" also blast through the speakers, while the n-word echoes through the spot.

 

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$ummer $lam or #YamsDay? 😂

A post shared by Barclays Center (@barclayscenter) on Jan 17, 2019 at 6:08pm PST

Millennials are fearless. What's more courageous than the kids entering the pits of destruction, are the musical acts that run off the cliff of the stage into the audience. They are so certain their fans will catch them, they often dive head first, flipping into piles of extended arms.

The surprise guests of the night, Meek Mill and Soulja Boy, are perhaps the most trending acts in the social realm. Soulja Boy reenacts comedic interview from The Breakfast Club, reciting "Draakee" as he walks from one end of the stage to the next. Meek creates a "moment," performing "Dreams and Nightmares (Intro)."

 

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Bedtime is approaching but there's not a yawn in sight around this crew. If you're looking for the millennials, you can find them turning up at Barclays.

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Mahershala Ali Addresses 'Green Book' Backlash After Golden Globes Win

Mahershala Ali took home the Golden Globe for Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance in Green Book on Sunday night (Jan. 7). Following his acceptance speech, Ali addressed the backlash regarding the film's plot.

Critics appeared to be upset about the film's storyline which depicted the true relationship between jazz pianist and composer Dr. Don Shirley (played by Ali) and Tony "Lip" Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen). In the movie, Shirley, a black man from the deep South in 1962, hires an unemployed, white bouncer from the Bronx as his security to escort him during a the segregation era. During their journey, the two develop an unbreakable bond while confronting their differences. The backlash came after Shirley's family stated that the film and Ali's portrayal was inaccurate and filled with lies.

"I will say this," Ali said in response to the controversy, “my job is always the same: I have to look at what I am doing and be responsible for it."

He added: "I respect the family…and Doc Shirley. I spoke to the studio and the family and at the end of the day you wish everyone was happy and you don’t want to offend anyone in any capacity."

This is Mahershala Ali's first Golden Globe win. Check out his acceptance speech above.

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Regina King Makes Vow To Employ Women On Everything She Produces

Regina King took home the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her role in If Beale Street Could Talk on Sunday (Jan. 7). While it was the Hollywood star's time to shine, King took a moment during her acceptance speech to acknowledge other women in the industry with a courageous pledge.

After thanking various contributors who helped her nab the win, King addressed a more important issue. "The reason why we do this is because we understand that our microphones are big and we are speaking for everyone," she said. "And I just want to say that I’m going to use my platform right now to say in the next two years, everything that I produce, I’m making a vow — it’s going to be tough — to make sure that everything that I produce that is 50% women."

She concluded: "And I just challenge anyone out there — anyone out there who is in a position of power, not just in our industry, in all industries — I challenge you to challenge yourselves and stand with us in solidarity and do the same."

King is now a two-time Golden Globe winner. She previously won the award in 2016 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television for her role in American Crime. She was also nominated this year for her performance in Seven Seconds but did not win.

Watch Regina King's acceptance speech at the 2019 Golden Globes n the video above.

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