Swag Snap of the Week: Fantasia

Dameon Christian with Grammy Award-winning soul singer Fantasia a few hours before she gave an unforgettable show when her Sketchbook Tour played Chaifetz Arena Sunday night. R&B newcomer The Bonfyre, Tank and Robin Thicke joined her as the evening’s featured performers.

Fannie May’s marvelous mix of hood and Holy Ghost. Listen, Fantasia lightweight pulled a Lauryn Hill/Erykah Badu when she brought The Bonfyre, Tank and Robin Thicke to town Sunday night by stepping on stage when she got good and doggone read. But I am still thrilled with how she gave me a show that didn’t end with Chaifetz shutting the mics off and turning the lights on. I didn’t know what size crowd she was going to pull for her first arena show, but Fannie May and her R&B squad brought the folks out – and on a Sunday night. And made it worth our while! I hadn’t really checked for The Bonfyre, mainly because I don’t feature her name, before she was on the bill for this show. But I’ll have my eye on her from here on out – mainly for how she kept it real with the crowd by saying, “I know y’all came for everybody else, but groove with me for a few little minutes.” Even though folks had just seen him at The Pageant, Tank and his shirtless seduction drove the girls wild. But I want to spend my time talking about that Robin Thicke! He hopped off the R&B milk carton ready to snatch crowns with that blue-eyed soul slayage he served up. I was a nervous wreck when he hopped on that piano to scoot around to “Blurred Lines.” Fantasia is never one to be outdone, so when she finally got up on the stage, her and that all girl band got it all the way in. And you know when the shoes come off after song three that it’s going all the way down. I can’t say I expected her to get ratchet (her words, not mine) and when the beat dropped and Fantasia got “low to the flo’,” I decided that the City Girls’ “Act Up” is to 2019-2020 what Juvenile’s “Back That Thang Up” was to 1999-2000. And I know a few folks were like “How you twerking to Young Miami and ‘nem one minute and filled with the holy ghost singing LaShun Pace and Donnie McClurkin the next?” Because she is all of us – well, if we could sing the stage down to the studs. She put on a whole show and scooted out about 90 seconds before curfew without making us feel like we barely missed a thing because of time constraints.

Art, Beats (heat) Lyrics and lines. I can’t think of a time that I’ve been more wrong than when I proclaimed last week that I was so happy that I would have plenty of breathing room thanks to the relocation of Jack Daniels’ Arts, Beats & Lyrics from Ballpark Village to Chaifetz Arena. Don’t get me wrong, I had an utter blast Friday night– and caught up with folks I hadn’t seen since B2K was in style. The massive crowd that came through made me think they may need to go ahead and drop a few coins to secure America’s Center for ABL 2020. I knew when I pulled up on Market Street that it was going to be an epic crowd. I was like, “This the same sized crowd that came through for the Charlie Wilson concert – and it was sold out.” The sheer mass of folks meant the line to get in was a monster. I promise you I haven’t seen folks patiently waiting to enter an educational institution auditorium since I stood in the financial aid line at an HBCU that shall remain nameless trying to get my refund check situation together. Hopefully the folks waiting to get into ABL formed lifelong friendships from standing in line like I did back in college. Those financial aid homies are still just a call away. But back to ABL. It was cute – as always – but that stairway to heaven from the floor to the exit is no joke with a couple of Honey Jacks in your system. I lost count of the near tragic tumbles that dear friends and kind strangers averted by being a shoulder to lean on. Baby, Okay, back to ABL for real this time. The art and fellowship were everything even amongst the close quarters that had all fiftyeleven of us bumping elbows and shoulders.

Stylish 5th anniversary fun with Saint Louis Fashion Fund. I made it my business to see what the Saint Louis Fashion Fund had on deck to commemorate five years of influencing the local style scene and they did not disappoint. Things kicked off Saturday afternoon with the “Speaking of Fashion” talk with style icon Dapper Dan and Tania Beasley-Jolly. It was life! I have never seen so much swag in the audience of a midday talk. On the stage Dapper Dan was Gucci’d down – from head to toe! And Tania in that puffy sleeve print dress was slaying. She never gets it wrong. And neither did she, Dan or anyone else who glammed up for the evening’s Fashion’s Night Out extravaganza at Neiman Marcus. My favorite evening looks were the Wakanda inspired garments of Naretha Hopson and Tamyka Perine. But I can only recall one or two missteps among the guests. My only note for the evening portion would be to have the models slow down so folks could soak in all the lewks being served during the fashion show.

K.R.I.T. and Rapsody were killing it. Even though I big him up every single time he comes to town, I know there are still folks saying, “Who is that?” every time I mention a performance by Mississippi rap veteran Big K.R.I.T. so I will imagine you’ll do the same as I talk about his show at The Pageant Saturday night. Maybe y’all will get hip one of these days. In the meantime it was a night for the people who ride for those who are true to the rap game as opposed to those who follow trends and celebrity – even though Rapsody rightfully has plenty of buzz because of that masterpiece of an album “Eve,” which I will get to in a second. But let me start with saying that T.I.’s son Domani Harris kicked off K.R.I.T.’s “From the South with Love” Tour, and I can’t say that I’m mad about it. He gave just the type of show one would expect from an 18-year-old just getting started in the rap game. I had been anticipating the show mainly to catch Rapsody live for the first time, and she did not disappoint. Let me tell you, once she gets her stage presence and live energy up to where it feels like K.R.I.T.’s, she is going to be the next big thing in hip-hop. And speaking of K.R.I.T., he tore that stage all the way down with his rap style that blends ratchetry with motivational messages. And I love how he took the time to shake hands and fellowship after the show. And did anybody else catch that B&D security staff member serving “Sons of Anarchy” realness grooving to K.R.I.T.? Imagine somebody who looked like Wolverine’s daddy catching a vibe as K.R.I.T. rapped “I’m just rotating my tires.” It was everything.

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