As a first time attendee to the Baltimore AFRAM 2 DAY EVENT, I was immediately impressed with the organization and accommodations. It was evident that this 43rd Annual AFRAM Festival was well put together and destined to be successful with tons of memorable enjoyment and excitement to follow. In this case, the transition from Zen to Turn up, happened in the blink of an eye.
Things kicked off promptly at 12 PM with Mayor of Baltimore Jack C. Young leading a parade through the roads of the park that lead to the official festival grounds…those grounds would serve as the footprint of why many people really come to AFRAM. Yes, this festival is all about celebrating our African American culture and features various local vendors, specialty food concessions and varied other sources of entertainment, but the city truly comes out for the live concerts.
What I definitely love about this event is that they actually show a lot of love to many local and rising Singer/Songwriters and give them enough time on stage to fully represent their artistry, while also giving them some good credibility to add to their achievements.
It is hard to believe that this is a FREE event because the VIP experience you get, in terms of being gifted an up close and personal performance with whomever and as many guests as you choose to party with, is nice, with just enough class, much pizzazz, and of course your choice of seating and space. There were people who positioned themselves closest to the stage and people who were far away from the stage with a whole set up of lawn chairs, coolers and coverings that also enjoyed the live music as if they were right in their back yards.
This year brought hugely impactful heavy hitters within the music industry. Saturday’s lineup was chock-full of musical artists that can be found dominating today’s airwaves. First up was Baltimore’s own A1 Chops. If you’ve been anywhere around Charm City lately, particularly in the vicinity of the Inner Harbor, you may have noticed two young brothers who go off of the beat of the sound of their own drum. Recently being featured on the Ellen DeGeneres show, this duo is known for drumming along to the beats of some of the hottest songs out, along with hair raising tricks and tight dance moves, all while staying in perfect cadence. It was a great idea for AFRAM to start off with some of Baltimore’s most promising rising talent.
R&B and pop belle, Ms. Sevyn Streeter kept the good vibes going with a high energy set. Backed by a troupe of four female background dancers, Sev didn’t play any cut cards as she seduced the crowd with her enchanting looks and matching vocals. During her 30 minute set, we were taken down a brief memory lane with some of her biggest hits “Before I Do“,”I Like It” and it “It Won’t Stop“.
Not to let the crowd think that she was an artist who mainly relied on hits of the past to define her, DJ Quicksilva dropped her latest single “Yernin” (which was a honest hit in the city), and we watched the the whole entire audience go up a few levels. So much so, that she jumped down off the stage and into the audience and feel the entire moment along with them.
To keep the momentum going, one of the most famous families in popular music today came out to showcase their undeniable talent. The Comb Brothers came through and did what needed to be done. Justin Combs was the official MC for the show, and in typical Combs fashion, did it with such ease. I mean, he has had YEARS of watching his father Puff Daddy (one of the greatest hype men in hip-hop history) hone his craft. It seemed like a revolving door of young, black talented men as Niko Brim, Kai Ca$h, King Combs and Quincy all graced the stage. These brothers certainly brought New York to the Charm City. It was a memory that none of them will ever forget, as this was all of their first time playing a major festival, and one aimed at the empowerment of African Americans at that!
As the night drew upon us and the stars took over the sky, “The Bawse” Rick Ross closed out the show and had the crowd going absolute nuts. We will say that we were a little disappointed in his show, for that fact that he only performed for what seemed like 35 minutes, and didn’t perform any tracks from his just released album “Port of Miami 2“.
It was a peaceful day full of positive spirit, one that we as a city can be proud of.