For the first time ever, producer and emcee Pete Rock performed live with a jazz band. Aptly named Pete Rock And The Soul Brothers, the band’s set was a part of New York City’s Winter Jazzfest, a marathon music festival The New York Times described as designed to “encourage discovery” of new groups and sounds. I was very eager to hear the female saxophone player that Pete Rock was raving about on his instagram…
Pictured above: Pete Rock And The Soul Brothers – Maurice Brown (Trumpet) Lakicia Benjamin (Sax), Bigyuki (Keys), Mono Neon (Bass), Anu Sun (Percussion), Marcus Machado (Guitar), Daru Jones (Drums). Follow them on social.
Attending this concert felt like witnessing a historic moment for Hip-Hop. There was an urgency to my need to attend, an urgency underscored by our loss of iconic producers, emcees and other vanguards of the culture.
Pictured above: Maurice “Mo Betta” Brown (Trumpet)
These losses have shaken me, but I’ve found multiple lessons therein. One of those lessons involves not assuming that I can just “see someone another day” for another day is not promised. For these reasons and more, I made my way to Bowery Ballroom, despite the cold.
Watch the video mashup of a few of my favorite moments from the band who say they plan to do even more work together in the future.
As the band jammed, and guest emcee Smoke Dza crooned smoothly over the music, I look out at the crowd and was struck by the amount of lovers I saw. There were so many couples in attendance, they were wrapped in each-others arms, swaying and dancing together. There were groups of friends, and even strangers making new brief, joyful connections with the simple exchange of an excited glance and a smile.
Renee from Zhané was in attendance. At first, I didn’t know it was her! She had on a big, warm hat, and puffy jacket with a hood pulled over it. She was filled with energy as she danced in front of me. When she went live on social media, she spun in a slow circle, giving her followers a full view of the crowd. That’s when I was sure it was her in the legendary flesh.
As I waited for my friend after the show, I noticed Renee encouraged various artists in the band to see if there ways she could help them further their careers by making a few strategic introductions. She was doing what I want to do more of as a way to honor Combat Jack’s memory. Spread even more love, practice more collective economics, operate from a mindset of abundance, listen to my intuition, and be of service to others by connecting them to opportunities where I can. These are things I do, but can always do more of.
I tapped Renee and introduced myself. We had a candid conversation about New York’s arts and culture scene (endangered by gentrification), and supporting the growth of our Hip-Hop architects as they explore new avenues for their talent. I felt encouraged by her intense desire to see all of us help each other succeed.
When I noticed and introduced myself to Shara, (Pete’s manager for years), she greeted me with warmth. “Chevon? Wait, Chevonmedia, right?”
I nodded yes.
“I know you. You do good work,” she said smiling.
I smiled right back.
I admire many women in Hip-Hop, but the ones behind the scenes are some of the most inspiring, unsung heroes I look up to. It feels good when one of them recognizes my efforts. Salute to all the awesome women behind the scenes. And salute to Pete Rock And The Soul Brothers band, who put on a show that so many awesome women were delighted to attend.
Want more merch? Check out The Realness tour gear site collaboration at: http://550xcormega.com to pickup everything from limited edition Cormega skateboard decks, to hoodies, prints and short-sleeved tees.
Tonight is a big night for art, music and culture enthusiasts in Brooklyn. Check out the Schedule.
July 5, 2014
Visit Ai Weiwei: According to What? at the discounted admission price of $10 (regularly $15) during Target First Saturday.
Add your mark to sidewalk chalk drawings led by The City Kids, and hula hoop away with members of Hula Nation.
Matuto fuses Afro-Brazilian beats with folk and bluegrass.
Curious tales from Brooklyn’s history are told by a local historian. Free tickets (25) at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.
Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989, 120 min.). On the hottest day of the year, on a street in Bed-Stuy, racial and social tensions meet head-on, with tragic consequences. Free tickets (310) at the Visitor Center at 5 p.m.
Sketch from a live model to learn the art of figure drawing. Free tickets (330) at the Visitor Center at 5:30 p.m.
Filmmakers Paul Trillo and Landon Van Soest discuss their Brooklyn in 3,000 Stills project. Bring your smartphone and contribute to a crowd-sourced portrait of Brooklyn. Free tickets (25) at the Visitor Center at 6 p.m.
Talk and Music
Michael July on his book Afros: A Celebration of Natural Hair. Co-hosted by Malik Yoba, and Michaela angela Davis. Anu Prestonia of Khamit Kinks leads a natural-hair show. Book signing follows.
In his only NYC-area summer show, Blitz the Ambassador blends African popular sounds, vintage soul, and hard-hitting beats and lyrics. Opening set by DJ Ushka and DJ Beto (iBomba) at 6:30 p.m.
Erica Watson hosts a showcase of hilarious female comedians. Free tickets (310) at the Visitor Center at 7 p.m.
Remember “Move Ya Body”? R&B duo Nina Sky performs their biggest hits.
Sunday, Mar 23, 2014 7:30 PM EDT (6:30 PM Doors) at the Marlin Room at Webster Hall, 125 E. 11th Street, New York, NY. Lineup includes Talib Kweli, Tanya Morgan, Nemo Achida & 88 Keys, Soul Khan, Phony PPL, Yc the Cynic. The evening will be hosted by Maureen “Ma Dukes” Yancey and Jarobi of A Tribe Called Quest. Tickets are $25. Click here to snag yours.