The Art of Cool Journey through Fresh Eyes


Written By: Alaina Bloodworth

Photo Credit: Lanette Lee of Write Productions

This year the Art of Cool Festival celebrated two milestones: the festival’s 5th anniversary and new ownership. The Art of Cool was originally owned and created by Cicely Mitchell and Al Strong. The AOC is a Durham-based festival centered around music and culture. Early in 2018, Sulaiman and Lesleigh Mausi purchased the AOC festival. Based on Friday night’s festivities, the ownership transition was seamless. Our blog hosted a meet-up mixer at The Unscripted Hotel. The music, atmosphere, and amazing sunset were just what you needed to embark on your AOC journey.

The next stop on this journey was Anthony Hamilton at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. He was absolutely amazing. His band played every note meticulously. And those Hamiltones. They live up to all of the social media hype. Anthony performed some of his top hits such as “Best of Me” and “Charlene”. But the way he mixed some old school songs into his songs, like mixing “Until the End of Time” by the late, great Prince with “The Point of it All” had the crowd jumping to their feet. Maxwell then hit the stage singing one of his most popular songs “Pretty Wings” followed by “Bad Habits.”

Our Friday night journey ended at the Durham Armory for 95 Live with DJ Spinderella of the world-renowned Hip Hop group Salt N Pepa. Everyone was in awe of her beauty and skills on the turn tables. But when NC homegrown producer, rapper, record exec, and DJ 9th Wonder hit the stage, the screams were deafening. His blend of house music, old school music, and hearing “Cash Money taking over for the 99 and 2000” had the crowd singing along and rocking into the early morning hours.

From my fresh eyes, the Art of Cool Festival celebrates beautiful people, great music, and an amazing culture.

Follow Alaina at @DSTHunni on Instagram

Kimberly Knight