AOC Saturday Night Vibes: Star-Power Hits the Bull City

Written By: Kimberly Knight

Photo Credit: Lanette Lee of Write Productions & Lynnie of LFJ Photography

Happy Friday Luvs,

The Art of Cool Festival was packed with so many cool things I had to break my posts down for you. I hope you enjoyed reading my Friday night recap and if you missed it check it out before you dive into this one. As many of you know I’m in grad school and even though I had an amazing time on Friday night I had class first thing Saturday morning from 9am-4:30pm. However, I have the coolest team and they captured a few moments from the daytime events. This included the official AOC Fest Carolina Waves & K97.5 Day Party that our photographer Lanette attended. Shout out to radio personality and event curator Mir.I.Am, Carolina Waves official tour DJ DJ RNB, and one of our fave performers the beautiful “Never Leave Quietly” singer M8alla! Our blogger AJ “V8ga” got a chance to catch up with “Innovate Your Cool” Founder Michael English and chatted with a few festival goers about the Jus Once and Dwele performances.

I mentioned in my previous post the heart of AOC Fest is the “Innovate Your Cool” Conference because it organically merges technology and music together for a creative programming experience.

Our blogger AJ “V8ga” got a chance to chat with Founder Michael English about this year’s conference experience and give his recap.

How does having this particular platform benefit community?

“The importance and impact of this portion of Aoc is immeasurable. This year Iyc partnered with Durham Public Schools, The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Kids love Beats, Super Junior Coders and a few other groups to provide The Steam Field Day. “

Who benefits from this workshop? 

“Over 200 Durham Public School students that were on free and reduced lunch were bused to Downtown Durham on a field trip where they got a chance to do coding workshops, beat making workshops, live science experiments, and different gaming experiences such as Fortnite.”

Students received lectures from Jason Mayden former sneaker designer for Nike and Jordan brands. Currently, he’s the owner of @Superheroic footwear and apparel. The amount of encouragement and teaching points from adult leaders was inspirational. The adult portion was geared more towards education, entrepreneurship, and early stage investing. There were several established brand representatives in attendance giving away a wealth of knowledge in regards to innovation, music, and culture. Notable attendees were @creativi_tay of The Durham-based Spokehub, CMO @erickampittman AQUAhydrate, Grammy-Nominated Artist @rapsody, real estate investor @mrjaymorrison. and My Spa Utopia owner Naya F. Powell @utopia_np who  provided free spa treatment during the events and workshops. - AJ “V8ga”

So now it’s time to check out the night time festivities and one of my fave NC bands is Jus Once. They were opening for Neo-Soul performer Dwele at Motorco. AJ “V8ga” took It to the streets to ask what people thought about the performances.

What did you enjoy most about @therealdwele performance?

“I never seen him live and was really impressed by his ability to entertain, he was more than a musician, I loved how he interacted with the crowd, taking selfies, and performing different genres of music”. - Darryl Walker

Being a musician yourself what did u think about @therealdwele performance?

“His band was tight, the performance as a whole was cool really professional, I like how he mixed in the old school with his material”. - T.Reid of Jus Once

So while at dinner at The Pitt in Downtown Durham Lynnie looks up at me from across the table to say “Kim, Little Brother is performing tonight”! The look of excitement for each us was intense with joy because AOC did it! This was a win for the home team like we have been waiting nearly 10 years for this so now this jaw dropping look becomes a “check please” moment. So The Lux Team heads over to see a sea of people dancing and singing to music powered by Durham’s own “Mr. Lawd Have Mercy” DJ Bro-Rabb spinning classic hits. Then R&B Crooner Bryan J performed Frankie Beverly & Maze’s “Before I Let Go” and it set a fun, family reunion type vibe. I liked how engaging he was with the audience and this fabulous smoke screen for our photos! Next up was what we all raced to the venue for, Little Brother with all of the original members. I’m talking about Phonte, 9th Wonder, and Rapper Big Pooh all on stage performing their classic hits. It was magical to say the least especially since we found out an hour before the performance. What a beautiful surprise for the festival goers and a historical moment in AOC Fest history. After their performance I saw AOC Fest Founder Cicely Mitchell. She said, “That was historic for us tonight that was beautiful”. I couldn’t agree more because even a week later it feels like a dream. We all hope this is the start of new music or more performances.

Next up on stage was Grammy Nominated Hip Hop Lyricist Nas. My love of his music was established in 1994 when I was just 13 years old and all you would hear my friends talking about was the Illmatic album. That album was raw, authentic, and most of all it told a story about his life. I’m sure many hip hop lovers reading this would love for me to elaborate more but I was too focused on how much I enjoyed his performance. This is my first time seeing Nas on stage and the best part was it was at Art of Cool Festival. His performance was engaging and he had me at “NY State of Mind” and “One Mic”. I’ve had him on my list of “artists to see” and right here in the Bull City I was able to experience because of curators like the Art of Cool team. Then to close out the night was Ms. Erykah Badu. She is literally breathtaking. I looked into her eyes and I got lost for 2.5 seconds lol. This is my 2nd time seeing her perform but this time I was able to be up close and personal with her performance. It was an intimate look at the range of her voice and her artistic side. I loved how she hopped off stage to see the crowd and really made the event personal. All of her classic songs had me in the zone of my high school and college days. However, it was when I looked around and I saw Cicely (Mitchell) smiling that I was reminded of the beauty of seeing your brand grow-up. Her brand was celebrating 5 years of success and it took sacrifice, hard work, team work, and consistency. Now the Art of Cool team has made history and she’s one of the change agents that has paved to way for more creatives to just leap for success. So yes I had an amazing time at AOC Fest 2018 it was everything. I would like to thank the team for trusting us to create content for their festival. It was truly an honor we will always treasure. I can’t wait for 2019!

Until Next Time Ladies & Gentlemen It’s The Lux Blog ! - K. Knight

Kimberly Knight