THE 43rd ANNUAL BRIC CELEBRATE BROOKLYN! FESTIVAL STUNNED ON OPENING NIGHT FEATURING HEADLINER ARI LENNOX, A SURPRISE PERFORMANCE BY J. COLE, KAMAUU, ADELINE AND NESTA AT PROSPECT PARK
BRIC AND NYC PARKS UNVEILED THE OFFICIAL RENAMING OF THE “LENA HORNE BANDSHELL” AS PART OF THE CITY-WIDE INITIATIVE TO HONOR THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN NYC
BRIC, the Brooklyn-based leading arts and media institution, kicked off their 43rd annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival with an official return to live, in-person performances. While last year’s season of the free concert series was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and reinvented as a virtual two-day event, this season will follow in BRIC’s tradition of bringing the Brooklyn community together by celebrating the culture, music, and people that make the borough one of a kind.
The evening commenced with opening remarks from BRIC’s President Kristina Newman-Scott, the Executive Producer of Celebrate Brooklyn! Lia Camille Crockett, Comptroller Elect Brad Lander, President of Prospect Park Alliance Sue Donoghue, and NYC Parks Commissioner Mitch Silver. Commissioner Silver announced the official renaming of the Prospect Park Bandshell to the “Lena Horne Bandshell.” With a strong endorsement from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the historic concert venue has been renamed in honor of Brooklyn-born Lena Horne, who was a social justice and civil rights activist, trailblazing dancer, actress and singer in theater, film and television. The renaming supports BRIC’s commitment to championing diverse culture-shifters and elevating artists from around the world and around the block.
Queens-based artist Nesta opened the night of incredible music performances, paying homage to his Jamaican roots with an R&B twist, performing songs including “Str8 From The Heart,” “Poison,” “Brag,” “Frontin’,” “Why Not Love,” and “Already There.” Next, the politically conscious rapper, poet, and Brooklynite KAMAUU had his fans on their feet and singing word for word during his set, which featured songs “Purl,” “Bamboo,” “Switch Up,” “Ivy,” “Sunbogalo,” “Jambo,” his crowd-pleasing reinvited cover of “Hey Ya,” “Clover,” “Icarus,” “Gold,” and “Mango,” featuring French-Caribbean singer and bassist Adeline, who joined him on stage. KAMAUU also performed a special preview of an unreleased record for the fans.
Finally, headliner Ari Lennox graced the stage with soulful renditions of her songs “Whipped Cream,” “Broke,” “New Apt,” “Facetime,” “Chicago Boy,” “I Been,” “Up Late,” “40 Shades,” “Speak to Me,” and a medley of old favorites, “Goat,” “Backseat,” and “Night Drive.” Towards the end of her set, Ari Lennox treated the crowd to an unbelievable surprise performance with artist J. Cole, who sang his verse on her hit-single “Shea Butter Baby.” The Brooklyn audience was filled with palpable excitement and resounding cheers for J. Cole, who praised Ari Lennox before leaving the stage. The night ended with Ari singing “BMO,” and the energy of the park overflowed with pure joy.
The BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival will continue through September 18 with upcoming performances including The Roots, Wizkid, D-Nice with special guests, Glass Animals, Skip Marley, Vijay Iyer, Rita Indiana, Mr. Eazi, Trombone Shorty, Junglepussy, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Yaeji, and more!