Every inaugural event will have its handful of kinks. The MeccaFest Arts & Culture Festival is no exception to the rule. The Howard Homecoming season event made its big debut in Southeast Washington, D.C.’s open-air park, Gateway DC with a few minor hiccups. Yes, the performances started late, which pushed back the end time. Also, for reasons unbeknownst to the public, Elle Varner and headliner Future never made it to the stage. Glitches aside, the end result of the first ever MeccaFest was hands down more good than bad.
Before the performances even began, attendees had a host of other on-site attractions like craft vendors, food trucks, hookah stations, mechanical bull, a mural in progress and of course the bar to keep their attention. Aside from the bigger names that were slated to take the stage—Teyana Taylor, Rae Sremmurd, Jeremih and friends—openers like Good Girl, Marshall Sims and the infectious go-go group Backyard Band perfectly set the tone for the rest of the evening. While Jeremih did turn the party up with his hit “Don’t Tell Em,” an appearance from “Yayo” rapper Snootie Wild and by teaming up with surprise guest Wale for “The Body,” the strongest performances of the night came from Teyana and the brothers of Rae Sremmurd.
Teyana came out and commanded the stage with the dance moves, confidence and sex appeal that’d make you think she was headlining a sold out Barclays Center show. Not once did Teyana’s vocals falter. From start to finish, the G.O.O.D. Music first lady (and her killer body) performed. She dabbled on both ends of the choreography spectrum, mixing signature moves from Divine Nine fraternities with trendy hip hop steps and personally demonstrating her lap dance skills for three lucky males from the audience. The icing on the cake was when she surprised the crowd during “Maybe” with cameo appearances from Yo Gotti and Pusha T.
Young’ns Rae Sremmurd brought a different kind of energy to The MeccaFest. Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee came out onto the stage already on 100, jumping down into the crowd within the first song, sharing their mics with the overly excited girls at the front of the stage, taking Hennessy swigs to the head and showing off chest tats. Their set—which included party favorites “No Flex Zone” and “No Type”—showed just how amped they are to be where they are in the music game.
With the blueprint festival already rolled out, imagine what next year’s MeccaFest will hold? In case you missed out on the fun in person, flip through to experience the festivities.
All Photo Credits: Stacy-Ann Ellis