Last night, DJ Jazzy Jeff saved my life with a set that blew the spot UP!
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Last night, DJ Jazzy Jeff saved my life with a set that blew the spot UP!
This morning, I had the opportunity to witness Michele Norris of NPR’s “All Things Considered” give a keynote presentation at the University of Michigan’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium.
I do not know Michele, did not know what she looked like until about 6 years ago but I have loved her for the last 12+ years. It is that voice… The magic of radio. Her interesting since of humor. How she processes and conveys information to her audience. I love it all.
When I learned that she was taking a break from “All Things Considered” during this election cycle, I was bummed…. Like really. So when I saw that she was going to be in my area, I KNEW that I would be there….
As usual, I was running late & got to the address just as it was starting.
When Michele hit the stage, I actually closed my eyes for a while. It was like some kind of large live NPR episode. Kinda nerdy of me but you know how I do.
Her talk centered around activism, leadership & history. She told several family stories about her father and grandmother that were penetrating. She shared with us how her grandmother used to dress as Aunt Jemima and travel throughout the Midwest doing pancake demonstrations. She told us how in 1946 her father was attacked and shot by the police before being jailed in Birmingham after coming back from war. And much more!
The jarring thing about the stories is that she did not learn of much of her family history until her father and grandmother had passed. She linked this to “ The Grace of Silence.”
Why be silent? Can silence breed a form of activism? Does this change the dynamic of family secrets? Forbidden information???
Additionally, throughout her talk, she dropped tons of historic knowledge tied to the civil rights era & before. She mentioned Isaac Woodard, Timothy Hood, The Boswell Amendment, Smith v. Allwright, Martin Luther King Jr.’s last meal of catfish & hush puppies…
After the presentation, the audience was presented with “race cards” where we were encouraged to discuss race in six words or less. I was pretty excited about having some race cards that I could play at will.
Michele’s presentation overall was a great way to kickoff my day. I mean, it was a very good day. Spent time with friends, had a good dinner & got a new graphic design project.
This MLK Day, I stayed winning.
Last Friday, I photographed The Parade Company’s “Hob Nobble Gobble” black tie event.
The event always has a host of local & national celebrities that guest have the chance to interact with up close & personal.
I’m not usually one who is star struck but this time around, I kind of was because Doug E Fresh was one of the celebrities this year.
When I saw the celeb line up, I got excited & hoped that he would perform. I believe at the time I saw the line up, it was unknown if he would perform.
When he arrived at Ford Field, fans young & old were excited to see him. Everyone was taking about the Dougie. It was fun to watch and listen.
Once the entertainment for the evening started, the crowd was surprised with Doug E Fresh rocking the stage. He was hype. Super hype. Between snapshots, I hit my Dougie while maintaining my professional image. I think….
Funny thing is, Doug E Fresh was not even the headline act but he totally stole the show & offered energy that was not matched for the rest of the evening.
I mean, how do you follow up to a hip-hop legend? Well, you don’t.
I did have a chance to kick it with him for a bit & I had to let him know that his song “Summertime” is WAY better than Will Smith’s “Summertime.” He just laughed…. I wonder if there was a mini beef behind that? I’m just saying!
One of the VERY 1st CDs that I EVERY purchased was Rachelle Ferrell’s self titled album “Rachelle Ferrell” back in 1992. I purchased the album because I fell in love with her voice on “No Rhyme, No Reason” by George Duke, where she was on background vocals. I was infatuated.
The “Rachelle Ferrell” album didn’t leave my CD changer for at least a year because it had everything that I needed musically.
Many Many Many years later when she released “Individuality,” that CD too never left my changer. Rochelle’s voice is just simply ridiculous and so very easy to love.
When I saw her in concert in Detroit after the release of “Individuality” I was shocked to see how contorted her face became while she performed. It was CRAZY. But then, I thought about how Al Jarreau makes these same crazy faces. They both have powerful voices so I guess it all makes sense.
Fast forward to this weekend and her performance at the 29th African World Festival downtown Detroit….
Come hell or high water, I was going to see Rachelle Sunday evening. Neither hell nor high water came but I was there to capture Rachelle in all of her glory.
She gave a stupendous show that rocked the crowd. It was almost spiritual in a way. Emotional. Powerful. Moving.
The show was already AWESOME, then Rachelle announced that Anita Baker was in the audience. The crowd erupted with thunderous applause & screaming. Erry-body in Detroit loves Anita Baker.
To the audience’s surprise, Anita later joined Rachelle on stage for a song that I believe will be on Rachelle’s yet to be released album. There was no mention when the album would be released, however she she did share that she is partnering with Ledisi, Rahsaan Patterson, Lalah Hathaway & other friends.
Being able to witness this amazing talent was everything that made my weekend over the top. Being able to photography one of my favorite vocalists is another notch in my belt. Getting it all done with an 85mm f/1.4 Nikkor lens, priceless!
Last night, I did something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, which was to attend the Detroit edition of The Moth story hour and tell a story.
When I learned that the theme was food for the most recent event, I made it my business to make sure that I attended.
Once I arrived at the event, I started to get nervous about telling my story but I sat with a table of friends and random strangers who encouraged me to just do it. After a Tanqueray and tonic, I had the courage and submitted my name.
The place was packed and many people were submitting their name for the random selection process, which I found comfort in because my name is NEVER called for anything.
Things jumped off at 7:30pm as the host walked up to the mic to call the 1st person to the stage. My fingers were crossed hoping that I was not called 1st. Going 1st in a competition is never easy. After the 1st person/story, I waited and waited nervously until my name was pulled from the hat. I believe I was 7th.
Actually, my name wasn’t called because the host could not read my handwriting. He asked 2 or 3 people in the audience to see if they could make out the name until they figured it out.
I was a little embarrassed but I do have fancy penmanship.
Now! I’m on stage under the lights and I have five minutes to tell my story about FOOD… Tons of people in the room watching me. May hair looking shiny & luxurious (not my words). A big video camera taping my every move, word, gesture, mistake!
My story was about a restaurant experience that I had with friends in Barcelona, Sp many years ago where I had the best fried chicken ever, got white boy wasted on sangria, rolled down hill and waking up naked in a hotel room with no sheets on the bed and a bottle of wine.
I can be very longwinded but I managed to get my story out in the five minutes. Along the way, I had the crowd laughing and I felt pretty comfortable. Guess I was nervous for nothing…
I walked off stage feeling confident but I didn’t feel like my story was as good as a few others but it was good.
When it all boiled down, I received 25.5 points out of a possible 30, putting me in 4th place for the night. I was proud of my score and happy that I was able to make this happen.
Next month, the theme is struggle. I have some great struggle stories and I think that I may give it a go once again….
2011 marks the 12th year for the Detroit Electronic Music Festival (D.E.M.F), which brought 34,820 lovers of all things beat driven to downtown Detroit on the 1st day.
While the festival boasted an all star line up of 25+ acts across 5 stages with the likes of Felix da Housecat, Carl Craig, Loco Dice, Soulclap & Fatboy Slim, the special guest seemed to be the schizophrenic spring weather.
The 1st two days of the festival were packed with rain, thunderstorm & tornado warnings. The rain was no big deal because I even put my camera up to dance as Tortured Soul performed on the Vitamin Water stage.
The tornado warnings became another story when many saw the swirling clouds above the Detroit River as people scattered to the four corners to avoid being raptured…
On the last day of the festival, the Gods smiled upon D.E.M.F with sun, 90º & gentle breezes.
Weather aside, the festival was nothing short the best thing on earth for an electronic music fanatic, especially for me; a true house music lover. I enjoy a little techno but house is my thing…
Some of the festival highlights outside of the ubiquitous after parties, club/candy kids & weed smoke were some killer performances! I mean KILLER!!!
Saturday was all about the Vitamin Water stage for me, which was were Tortured Soul, Kerri Chandler & Felix da Housecat brought the house down! The music was so good that it was a challenge to leave to capture the goings on at the 4 other stages.
Sunday, I spent most of my time at the Made in Detroit stage where some of Detroit’s best DJs had the crowd hypnotized with soul house beats and classics. DJs Al Ester, Hot N Funky (Mike Brown), Minx & Bruce Bailey (Google them) illustrated for those who “ain’t know” that techno & house all started in Detroit.
After my not so good experience last year, I can say that, I’m again down with D.E.M.F!
Not only did I enjoy the festival over all, I felt that the event organizers really worked hard to make things confortable for the media by providing plenty of workspace, fast and convenient WIFI, cold drinks and SNACKS!!!! Honestly, a better media experience than what I’ve encountered at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week.
You can see some of what I saw in my photos here. Hope you enjoy & had a weekend as good as mine!
After many years of being a huge fan of The Foreign Exchange, I finally had the opportunity to see them perform in Detroit with Sy Smith & Zo last night! My expectations for the show were quite high & they were exceeded. The crowd was super hype, the music was EVERY single thing, Phontae clowned on the stage & set the crowd off with a rendition of “It’s So Cold in the D” & Sy Smith was just WOW! Making it even better was that I got to enjoy some of my favorite music, laughs & dancing with friends.
I’m happy that they performed at the Magic Stick because it’s a more intimate venue & you can usually interact with the performers after the show. In this case, I was able to talk with Nicolay who literally gave me the shirt off of his back while he was on stage when the show wrapped. I chatted up Sy Smith who has wonderful presence. Even got a little groupie purchasing going on & copped this t-shirt. So happy they had husky sizes!
It was a GREAT night & thanks to my peeps at Soulbounce, I was able to shoot the show, so you have to see the rest of the shots here because. They are pretty awesome. I’m just saying.
Last night, I braved the frigid Michigan temperatures to see my friends Fluxphonic perform at a local hip hop event. Ironically, they are not a hip hop group but that did not stop them from rocking the crowd with their brand of funk.
Last night was my 1st time seeing lead singer Steffanie Christi’an in a while & was shocked & happy to see her new short natural. A big change since I photographed the group almost 1 year ago.
Check out a few clips from their performance last night.
Clearly I am getting old or maybe it is the fact that I am too far removed from pop music. Since I stopped listening to popular radio I rarely know who all these young “singers/performers” are. My kids try to tell me but I have to tune it out. I cannot listen to their music.
Last Saturday I worked the Hob Nobble Gobble and one of the special invited guests was singer Shontelle. When I got to the job, I got the run of show & the who’s who. When my contact mentioned Shontelle, I asked who she was & he looked at me like are you serious, you ain’t know. It was too funny.
Well apparently, I was the only one not in the know under 40 because so many people seemed to be excited by her.
Then when it was announced that she was performing, the dance floor filled like a mad house. All the while, I’m like maybe I should to at least know some popular music.
She really worked the crowd with her set but by the time it was over, I had a headache. I can’t listen to this mess.
When I heard about the event, I was excited! I LOVE Rich, Minx & I was looking forward to seeing Suai perform (my 1st time of me seeing her). I like Bilal and some of his work but I am not someone that would pay to get up into one of his shows. I’ve seen him before & it was just like OK.
I got to the show late & missed Minx because I decided to see Harry Potter before hand but overall the event was truly great. Many of my friends were there, Suai really put on a good show & Rich was jamming on the turntables.
By the time Bilal hit the stage, the audience was pretty thick and excited. It was really interesting see the crowd react to him because they were all in hanging on to every scream he belted out. And trust me there was a lot of screaming!
At one point, I thought he was being attacked while having a seizure. Or maybe it was the Holy Ghost. SCREAMING. JUMPING. ERRATIC MOVEMENTS. It was a little too much for me but I was in the minority.
Shit, people were screaming back, lighting lighters, calling his name out etc. Like I said, it was interesting.
I have to admit that I did get a little hype when he performed “All Matter,” I love that song! I actually like the mellowed out version that he performed with Robert Glasper the best.
Bilal may get wild but he can perform! That is for sure…
The calm on Celia’s face the, the sweat on her chest and the applauding audience created perfect storm in my mind…
My favorite moment to capture at a concert performance is when the artist takes a step back and absorbs the audience’s vibe. I find this time to be especially intense when the crowd is at the height of excitement.
(L – R) Queen Aaminah, Helene Faussart, ME, Celia Faussart, Alexis Juliard
Last night Suite Suzy & I attended the Les Nubians concert at the Magic Stick midtown Detroit.
When I learned of the concert last two months ago, I was sooo pumped! I’ve been in love with Helene & Celia since the debut of “Princesses Nubians.” I know all the words to each song but like most I have no idea what the hell they are saying but it all sounds so sexy. Actually, I do know the understanding of many of the songs, I’m just saying.
So as I mentioned, I was totally hype for the concert then last week courtesy of Soulbounce.com , I downloaded their latest single “Liberté” from the forth-coming album “Nü Revolution.” “Liberté” is the type of song that I come to expect from Les Nubians as it refreshing, energetic and packed with soulful meaning.
My mouth was totally watering for more new vibrations and boy did they quench my needs last night.
They performed many of their popular songs, which can be seen/heard below and they also gave a healthy dose of what to expect from the new album.
So the show opens up with “Les Gens,” which was co-written with my friend Detroit house diva Diviniti. It was a POWERFUL way to start the show & making it better was having Diviniti on vocals.
After the first song, Helene & Celia expressed their love for Detroit and shared with this audience the story of how the upcoming album all started in Detroit with the production help of Piranhahead & Diviniti. The crowd cheered. It’s great seeing our local artist out on the scene getting their grind & shine on!
The night went on with dancing, political messages, a shout out to Barack Obama (the group dedicated “Liberté” Barack), afro shaking and a request that all the women in the crown “master their pussy.” It’s not often that you hear master your pussy at a live event.
Once the event was over, I was able to kick it with the entire band and get some photos. Actually, it started off with me getting photos of Helene & Celia, then Celia asked if I would photograph the band. Of course I’m like sure. So once the group was assembled, Celia was like wait, don’t we need more light? I explained that I come equipped with my own light & the rest was history. They loved the photos.
Oh & peep the shout out via Twitter…