Celebrating Color and Culture at “Afrodisiac”

Artwork being displayed and sold at Afrodisiac. (Photo Credit: Emily Martinez)

By Emily Martinez and Zoe Hines

The second annual Afrodisiac, a welcoming celebration of color, filled with music, art, and food was held at the Stood on Saturday March 18. Having arrived the moment doors opened, most people immediately flocked to the home-cooked and delicious food as the line for it increased by the second.

Along with celebrating black culture, the event emphasized supporting black businesses. Right besides the handcrafted lotions sat a woman with her uniquely designed fabrics, they were vibrant and beautiful. Amongst the original products were some vintage clothes and jewelry being sold as well. The paintings were vibrant and beautiful as they expressed joy, self love, and body appreciation. The constant theme between all of the artwork being “colorful”.

When the music started, The Reneissance woman was up first. Her voice was wonderful, it was soothing and had soul while still making you want to move. She had the energy to truly get the party started. After her was Dianna Lopez, her music was fun and her performance was upbeat which left the crowd eager for the next performance.

Jesse Boykins III performing at Afrodisiac (Photo Credit: Emily Martinez)

The next performer up, Jesse Boykins III, performed his song “B4 the Night Is Thru”. Half way through his song he got the audience to sing along, seamlessly covering up the fact that there was an audio malfunction and microphone was not working. He had the audience finish up the song before allowing time for the problem to be solved. After 10 minutes Boykins got back on stage to perform his song one more time but was unfortunately unable to because the sound was still off. His disappointment seemed to bring down the crowd as well, leaving them wanting more. Unfortunately his time one stage was over. It took another 20 minutes to get the sound going again, just in time for the man with spunk; Dave Langston whose his confidence on stage was exuberant despite his music not being the best of the night.

From 7:00 until the after-party, the venue was filled with enthusiasm.  Female rapper Nitty Scott MC took the stage with a vibrant pink nylon jumpsuit, shining jewelry, and pink nails that coordinate with her outfit. Backup dancers decked out in Fila stroll behind her. Her aura is full of light as she begins her strenuous set. She performs one of her notable tracks “Flower Child” featuring Kendrick Lamar. The chill track swayed the crowd back and forth as she spits about taking your time when it comes to growth. In between each song, she discusses her Afro Latina identity establishing a connection with audience members. Nitty Scott’s track “Feng Shui” is dominated with trumpet reverberations on the chorus. The crowd raised their hands as she screams with her hands up. The backup dancers move sharply to the slow beat. Nitty Scott ends her performance with a bang. Instead of hyping the crowd up with a lurid song, she ends with a freestyle called “Talk my Shit” which received shrieks of “Let’s go Nitty!” and “Yaas Nitty” from exhilarated students.

“I felt total acceptance and good vibes,” she said after her set.

The crowd dispersed throughout the Stood but quickly moved back to the stage when Mal Mero’s thundering voice took the mic. He started of with a “Black Lives Matter” chant and the audience responds immediately. Mal Mero does multiple spoken words regarding police brutality and hardships for people of color. As he expresses societal struggles, he asks for students to raise their fists. He powerfully delivers “Clap once if you’re with me” symbolizing he isn’t the only one feeling deep emotions of angst within civilization.

Anfernee Jordain and Q Capital both had a lively set for a small group of listeners. They performed their Q Capital’s track “Wildin” featuring Jordain with stimulating chemistry. JVHxDNVN excited the crowd with EDM fused hip-hop beats before the man of the hour, Isaiah Rashad, started his 10:30 ending set.

Students pushed to the front and waited anxiously for the Tennessee native rapper to appear. He enters wearing a jean hat, Adidas jacket, blue jeans and a Herschel fanny pack. Rashad opens up with “Smile” moving his skittish body to the smooth beat. Before continuing, he clarifies a few rules including not

Headliner Isaiah Rashad taking the stage at Afrodisiac to hundreds of rabid fans. (Photo Credit: Funmi Onadipe)

touching any women inappropriately. Throughout his performance, there were technical issues but he was able to shake it off and continue with positive attitudes. Rashad would crack jokes and engage in conversations with students.

Guitar riffs pounced from the speakers as he starts rapping his popular single “Free Lunch”, off of his recent album “The Sun’s Tirade”. The crowd jumps up and down as they rap along with him “Meal ticket, meal ticket, ticket.” Students in the front of the stage recite almost every verse for each of his songs performed. Song requests could be heard from fans shouting in all directions. One of those tracks was “4r Da Sqaw” which is what he closed the show with.  As soon as the audience heard the melody, they went crazy. One girl constantly persisted for this track, and when it finally came on, he pointed to her and smirked. By the end of his set, students were exuberant with his excellence and interaction.

Connection with the audience is a key component to having a charismatic performance. Each artist, no matter the audience size, capitalized on bonding for one thing everyone came to Afrodisiac: good vibes and good music.