The Roots kick off Week Three of the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, followed by Skip Marley, and Vijay Iyer with an All-Star Jazz lineup. 

The heat advisory warnings did not keep hundreds of fans away from the cool sounds of THE LEGENDARY ROOTS CREW on Thursday night. The multi-member band delivered a high energy show with Black Thought on vocals and Questlove on drums.

With Captain Kirk Douglas on guitar and Damon Bryson on sousaphone, the band leaped around on stage as a sea of hands in the air sprung  up and down to the beat. The Roots have become one of the best known and most respected hip-hop acts in the business, with over a dozen GRAMMY nominations, and four GRAMMY wins under their belt. The Roots serve as the official house band on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Their Brooklyn performance kicked off the beginning of their first tour since the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The evening included an opening performance by R&B songbird FELICIA TEMPLE who received a round of applause as she introduced herself as not only a cancer survivor but also a registered nurse who has been putting her life on the line to save others during this pandemic. Temple then sang “How You Do That” and other melodic tunes that put the crowd in a soulful mood.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams also stopped by the summer stage to remind us that we are not out of the woods yet in terms of this pandemic, and encouraged all to stay safe, wear masks and get vaccinated in order to bring our city back better than it was before.

Friday evening of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn festival saw Roots, Rock and Reggae lovers of all ages. SKIP MARLEY, the grandson of the reggae legend, headlined the night with an energetic blend of rock, rap, and pop. Marley wowed the crowd with his hit single “Slow Down” while showing off his guitar skills to his other tracks. He also treated the audience to sing-a-longs of his grandfather’s classics like “Redemption Song” and “Is this Love.” The Philly-based rapper and producer Ivy Sole, who emerged from the collectives Indigold, Liberal Art, and Third Eye Optiks, kicked off  the show by dedicating her set to her late uncle who she lost during covid. The indie rapper had the audience in trance with harmonic rhymes and tracks like “Dangerous” that rocked the crowd.

BRIC concluded the weekend with a special tribute show. To commemorate and acknowledge the immense impact COVID-19 has had on the Jazz community, BRIC commissioned four artists to create new works meant to honor their beloved fellow musicians lost during the pandemic. Each artist premiered a new piece created with this intention as part of their set.

VIJAY IYER, whom the NY Times called the “social conscience, multimedia collaborator, system builder, rhapsodist, historical thinker and multicultural gateway” of the NYC scene, headlined with his collective by the name of Tempest composed of Moor Mother, Arooj Aftab,  Ambrose Akinmusire, Tyshawn Sorey, and Daryl Johns. The ensemble captivated the audience for their nearly 80 minute set.

The renowned poet, author and educator Mahogany L Browne warmed the crowd with poetic works, sprinkles of Brooklyn colloquial sayings, and jokes in between her set. The concert goers gladly obliged as Browne invited all to be vocal and participate by saying “wow” or “nice” when they heard something they liked. She performed several spoken word pieces including a powerful work entitled “Black Girl Magic”.

Over the past few weeks, nothing has brought us more joy than seeing our communities come together for show after show throughout the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival season. We’re just getting started — and in order to keep the music going, we’re implementing a new policy to help keep us all safe.

Beginning this Thursday, Aug. 19, all BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival shows will require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours for entry. You can view the policy in full HERE

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