Spotify is celebrating R&B and Black voices with the return of their ‘House of Are & Be’ activation at the 2022 Essence Festival this Saturday, July 2.
The one-day experience consists of an Emerging Artist Showcase, a special Are & Be Brunch, “The Power of Audio Storytelling” panel, plus a variety of curated events.
In a statement to VIBE, Spotify’s Head of Hip-Hop and R&B, Artists and Label Partnerships, Sydney Lopes shared what guests can expect at the House of Are & Be this weekend. “In 2019, we created our first-ever House of Are & Be experience, paying homage to women throughout the decades, and this year we’re returning to the same incredible location with even more live music, and conversations from our podcast creators. With an even bigger lineup of rising and established talent, Spotify’s House of Are & Be continues to highlight the breadth of sounds that affect our mind, body, and spirit.”
Kicking off the day is the Are & Be brunch featuring performances from SiR and Mereba. The Chasing Summer crooner exclusively told VIBE in a statement, “I’m excited for my first experience at Spotify’s House of Are & Be. Being a part of this incredible weekend in New Orleans means so much and I’m looking forward to performing a couple of new songs off my album with TDE.”
Following the performances is “The Power of Audio Storytelling,” hosted by Rachel Lindsay. The panel will feature panelist Danyel Smith, host of the Black Girl Songbook podcast and former Editor-In-Chief of VIBE, Lovelyti, host of Tea Time UNFILTERED with Lovelyti, along with Dr. Titi Shodiya and Dr. Zakiya Whatley, hosts of the Spotify Original podcast Dope Labs.
Smith spoke to us about the power of a female-led podcast panel. “There are so many brilliant podcasts from Black women audio creators and hosts, from chat shows and narrative pods to pods centering style, history, sports, entertainment, politics, social justice and more!” she began. “My own Black Girl Songbook, a Spotify Original show committed to telling detailed stories about Black women in music, is but one amazing example. That’s why I am so thrilled to speak with my fellow hosts: Rachel, Dr. Titi, Dr. Zakiya and LovelyTi, about the amplification of Black women’s audio voices at Spotify’s House of Are&Be. It’s beyond time for us to engage even more with each other — and the world — about the necessary, educational, and entertaining content we are making.”
Lindsay expressed, “I could not be more excited to moderate a discussion on the power of audio storytelling with fellow Black women storytellers at Spotify’s House of Are & Be. This opportunity comes at a time where Black women in particular need safe and dedicated spaces for fellowship with one another and to tell their honest truths to other Black women who uniquely relate to our shared experiences. I could not be more grateful to Spotify for prioritizing these conversations and asking me to facilitate these important discussions this weekend. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to party with a purpose in a magical city like New Orleans!”
Prepare for the festivities by listening to the official Are & Be playlist below.