TIDAL x 1015
Tidal x 1015
You knew I was going to blog about it, but I will spare the nuts, bolts and fancy details to say this is more of a thank you letter. Sorry for the delay, but this will be in several parts. There were a lot of acts, and the show ran a glorious four and a half hours. I may not mention every performance, but I will say I think this is sort of what it must feel like to go to a big music awards show. Shoutout to Angie Martinez for keeping the flow going between performances and giving us valuable reminders about the importance of education and how a good teacher can change the lives of their students for years to come.
Thank you, D'USSE
First off, if you follow me on Instagram, you may think I have my life all together and that I have such fabulous connections or enough money to get floors seats for the TIDALX1015 Benefit concert at the Barclays center this past weekend. This couldn't be further from the truth. As an artist, you are often described as "starving" and "struggling". This may be the case for many, so I am thankful I am not quite there, yet, but I've seen it, I've lived it, and any more missteps, I'm right back to it. I entered an Instagram contest to win these tickets. I know, I know, some say entering contests is addicting, while others may say it's just a ploy to store your information for future nefarious uses. Perhaps. But as someone who chooses to live their life as their art, I am less worried about the misuse of my information (although no one wants to be the victim of cyber crime) than I am for using my platform to show that being yourself is ok, but I digress. It was as simple as uploading a photo and tagging it. And that's what I did. And I won!
I think I followed D'USSE Cognac on Instagram after I wrote a blog post about my experience at this year's DC D'USSE Day Party, which you can read all about here. I might be mistaken, but they don't post a ton of pictures, but what they do post was a source of inspiration for my entry. I am a "read the fine lines" type of girl, so I made sure I knew the rules before entry. And then I waited, honestly not expecting much. Then I got the DM that said I was a finalist! But having read the fine print, I was like finalist for what? This just created a whole slew of issues and potentially avoidable miscommunications. Like, what was I going to wear if I win the tickets? Where am I going to stay? How am I going to tell the people that can't come with me? And this was Thursday afternoon, 48 hours before the event was supposed to start! So, as mentioned, I'll spare the now dramatic details and go back to being grateful. I got it together, hopped in the "Miracle Whip", drove to Brooklyn streaming Tidal the whole way, and made it just in time. And if it being a charity/benefit concert wasn't enough, the proceeds went to Robin Hood , "New York's largest poverty-fighting organization, and since 1988 has focused on finding, funding and creating programs and schools that generate meaningful results for families in New York's poorest neighborhoods." Many of the attendees were actually New York City teachers and educators. It just so happened that my guest (Brooklyn's own, DJ Sid V) fits that description to a T. He is one of the co-founders of Label X Music, so please read more about his organization here.
Upon our (slightly late) arrival, we received our envelope filled with the details and the passes, and we ascended to the Barclay's version of the 40/40 Club which was brimming with people, food and, of course, D'USSE cocktails. We had enough time for A drink and some snacks before we descended to our floor seats.
I can't thank D'USSE enough for the VIP treatment. Although we missed the "afterparty" which was from 11-12 (the show didn't end until 12:30), we were still incredibly grateful for the close-up view of such a well executed and organized event. Thank you!
Thank you, Tidal HiFi.
I've been a loyal customer from the very beginning and well after the initial 3-month free trial. I've had the fortune of winning tickets to see the Jay-Z's B-Sides concert in NYC and Pusha T at the 9:30 club in DC. If it weren't for Tidal, I may not have been able to afford tickets to see Kanye West ON MY BIRTHDAY at the Verizon center (if you know me, then you know) nor would I have been able to watch the live stream of his fashion shows even, all while I was supposed to be working. My experience so far tells me my membership has been well worth it, and I stream so many throwback hits, I don't even need my well-maintained CD collection that is still stuffed in it's original Case Logic carry case.
Thank you, Male acts.
Thank you for reminding us that although there maybe Blurred Lines, there are times where we just need to Go, Go, Go on the count of three. To Dev Hynes, thank you for sharing "Sandra's Smile"-an ode to Sandra Bland. I can't sing your praises enough. And perhaps I need hip-hop more than most people do, so it's refreshing to know that we have hope personified in Dave East.
T.I. had me the most "turnt" on he night reminding me I'm am a little southern girl at heart. He along with Common gave me added belief that hip-hop will continue to be the voice of the people and will forge ahead to shine a light on the struggles within the black community and a bridge to search for the solutions.
Common Freestyles at the Tidalx1015 benefit concert at the Barclays in Brooklyn
To my ladies:
Thank you to the female guitarist of DNCE, JinJoo Lee for showing us that you can be a total rock star all while wearing a short skirt, have purple hair while simultaneously showing up the men in the group.
Thank you to Danielle Bradberry for bravely rising to the stage and singing a song so classically simple and breathtakingly reminiscent of the old days when Mariah and Whitney rules the airwaves.
Emeli Sandé, thank you for your power and poise on a stage set for such huge names all while leaving an impression that I'm sure will be remembered by more than someone who can entirely relate to your lyrics and experience.
Thank you Alicia Keys for your energy, positivity and talent. When you first dropped "Fallin'", I was at home watching BET, and I distinctly remember my mother in the background saying "who is that? She's got SOUL." Indeed, not only do you have soul, but your grace and presence is humbling, and I am fortunate to have finally seen you live. Your music is a large part of my life's soundtrack, and for that I am forever grateful.
My view of Beyoncé at the Tidalx1015 benefit concert
Beyoncé, thank you for blessing the stage not once but twice with your raw emotion, sex appeal and VOICE. I wasn't sure if I'd ever get the chance to see you live in my lifetime, so this was extra special. Thank you for Lemonade. Thank you for giving a voice to women who have suffered for love and have come out on the other side to tell their tale. Thank you for your ability to constantly reinvent yourself in a way that almost feels achievable. When I look at you, I see a Queen with an incredible platform who's not afraid to use it, yet still being a girl I just want to grab a coffee and chat with one of these days. Thank you for being so strong and resilient in the face of political pundits and the white supremacist agenda. Don't you ever fold.
Onika, I mean, Nicki Minaj, thank you. I thought I knew what I wanted to say before I started to write, but now I'm not sure where to start. Maybe it's the way you carry yourself, whether your jacket is on, tied around your waist or flung on the floor. Maybe it's the way your voice can go from schoolgirl sweet to the hood-bitch-you-don't-fuck-with in 2.8 seconds. Or maybe it's the hair, the lashes and the lace jumpsuits that leave nothing to the imagination. Maybe it's just dat azzzzz. But whatever it is for others, for me it's that clear and concise diction that cuts through the mic and straight to my ear drums. For me, it's that New York sass laced with a Caribbean bad gyal flair. For me, it's the fact that bar for bar, when it comes to the mainstream culture of hip-hop, you are the most powerful amalgamation of sex appeal and true lyricism we've ever had. To me, your talent trumps your controversial image, and I would never take that away from you, even in the harshest of criticisms from my reserved and slightly conservative side. You are the woman I try to be when no one is looking: unapologetic in her demeanor and über confident in her womanhood. For what it's worth, your true spirit still shines beyond the glitz and the glare of the lights. It's official: I'm a Barbie.
My view of Ms. Lauryn Hill at the Tidalx1015 benefit concert. "X Factor" realness.
Ms. Lauryn Hill, I don't believe there is a word in the English language to describe how much you mean to me. From the Fugees to The Miseducation, it was like your music was sent from heaven just for me. When I was a freshman in college, your album cover adorned my wall and reminded me to be proud of my black skin amidst the sea of white faces. In hindsight, I wish I had held on to that feeling longer than I did. As time passed, we both went through our shares of ups and downs, but I still had your music. I wish I could give you something back for all the times I felt lost and afraid and played "Forgive Them Father" just to make it through the day. I wish I could tell you how sorry I am for all that you've been through in relationships and in courtrooms. I wish I could take away all of the times people didn't believe you had the talent anymore. But any of those naysayers are eating their words if they've even had a glimpse of your transcendence. The first time I saw you live was at home at Miami's Bayfront, long before I could even claim to be a woman. What I remember most was how your aura shined brighter than any spotlight they put on you that evening. That has remained with me what is close to two decades later: 20 years of good and bad choices, a relationship, marriage, kids, a divorce and financial difficulties. And here we are again, you are my beacon of hope. The hope to finally transcend all of the bad decisions I've made to become the woman God always intended me to be--this is my goal as a human and an artist. You once said, "in order to be used by God, you really have to be used." True indeed. Thank you for taking me to church Saturday night. Thank you for your light. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for everything you have given this fan and this world as a vessel of the Most High. You are the very essence of what a Queen is and should strive to be. Thank you for even willing to put the messages out again that we so desperately need in this world. You elevate the collective conscious of this planet, and that more than solidifies your place in the history of music as the reigning Queen, in my eyes. Thank for continuing to be powerful, Black and proud.
To watch the show in its entirety, go to www.tidal.com/1015
"Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good."--Maya Angelou