Photo Credit: Yusuf Muhammad
The first time I heard the phrase, “Music makes the people come together”, I automatically agreed. However, this past weekend in the “City of Brotherly Love”, I learned even more how true that statement was. People from all over the east coast gathered together in Penn’s Landing for an amazing event put on by the Multicultural Affairs Congress (MAC) known as the Global Fusion Festival. With a crowd of approximately 30,000, the festival proved why Philadelphia will always be a place of love, peace, and good music.
“This is what culture is about,” states Concheiva Washington, National Accounts Manager for the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau*, “How many times do you hear about multicultural festivals but every culture isn’t represented? Our vision is to see that everyone- Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian- come together. It is the music that brings them out. No fighting, no beef, no drama. Just music.”
The show opened with an up and coming group known as Vega Music Group. These 4 kids from hometown Philly proved to open the show with warm responses and and energetic flow. Next up for the first set included Ty Ward, Ryan Corbin, Kontraband, Cody Kahmar, Luke James (2012 BET Music Matters Artist), and one of my favorite emcees from the west coast, Kendrick Lamar. Between the the first and seconds sets, many special guests decided to make an appearance and take the crowd to another level for the second half of the show. Tisha Campbell, Affion Crockett, Q from 112, Lil’ Mama, and AJ from ET came out to get the audience hype. With an impromptu freestyle battle on deck, folks were ready to see what was next.
To lead off the second half of the show, Grupo Fuego dance group performed bachata, salsa, and the tango to bring the Latin flare to the show. R.K.M & Ken-Y came all the way from Puerto Rico to hit the crowd with a little reggaeton. 2012 BET Music Matters Artist, Elle Varner, took the stage and the audience went ballistic. Performing her new single “I Don’t Care” as well as her first Top 10 hit, “Refill”, the audience became lost in the beauty and the energy of the L.A. native. For the grown folks in the audience, the handsome and talented Kenny Lattimore performed some of hits such “For You”, and “Never Too Busy” and his new single “Find A Way”. Shout out to the festival putting up barriers between the audience and the stage because I’m almost sure that someone was trying to reach for the crooner and take him home. Guests such as Kyla Pratt, Faison Love, Tamala Jones, and Terry Crews and Family, continued to make guest appearances throughout the day to promote the unity of multiculturalism and music.
The headliner for the event was none other than the beautiful, talented, and gem of the industry, Brandy. If you have never seen her perform, don’t worry. She announced that she is going to be doing a world tour soon. For those who attended the festival, was she not a treat?? Performing ALL of her hits such as “Best Friend”, “I Wanna Be Down”, “Almost Doesn’t Count”, “The Boy Is Mine”, “Full Moon”, “What About Us”, as well as her new single “Put It Down”, Brandy created a new wave on the pier. Between folks in the audience crying from excitement and the old school Brandy heads like myself who were hitting the dance moves from the music videos back in the day, you could see on Brandy’s face that she was in her element. Brandy has not lost her step. I don’t even think it is possible for her to do such a thing.
Music is a universal language. It does not matter where you come from or what your background story is, music will always be the one thing that can successfully bring people together for a good time. I think the MAC figured that out. After all, it is their sixth year doing this.
*The Multicultural Affair Congress is a division under the Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.