Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli are set to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their first and only album together where those lyrics originate, Mos Def and Talib Kweli are Black Star, at the 14th annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. Two anonymous Hip-Hop heads, with a magnanimous donation to the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, have underwritten the costs of 300 general admission tickets to the finale concert this Saturday, bringing the price down from $75 to as low as $45.
In their words, ‘The 20th anniversary of Black Star is something that our youth needs to see. It is something we all need as the criminalization and demonization of Blackness are once again on the rise. If money is a barrier to that then we want to help bring that down. We wish we could ‘buy out the bar’ and give all the tickets away, but we hope this helps,” wrote Wes Jackson, executive director of the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, exclusively for The Shadow League.
Lack of funds has stymied numerous fans attempts to see their favorite artists live, especially people of color. According to Nielsens Audience Insights Report on Music Festivals published in 2016, more than 69% of the people who attend festivals are white. In a self-reported survey on Coachella’s message from 2013, Black people comprised under 5% of Coachellas audience.
Since 2005, The Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival has been different from their larger counterparts that sprinkle a few Black faces in their lineups, in terms of Hip-Hop representation. Hip-Hop heavyweights like Lupe Fiasco and Blu & Exile have graced its stages before they blew up. Legends like Nas and Jay-Z have descended from their stadium thrones to gift a congregation of diehard Hip-Hop with performances. The latter god MC made a surprise appearance during Jay Electronica’s set at the 2014 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival, and Hip-Hop collectively lost its shits:
That Jay-Z performance at the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival was another level of incredible
Wore this shirt today. Jay Z comes to @BKHipHopFest. Call me #JusProphecy
Yo Jay-Z killed it! JAY Electronica brought him on stage #wemadeit at the Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival. http://t.co/Hmy6ANmokO
The Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival’s run by the independent event planning, marketing company Brooklyn Bodega which was founded by Wes, and his wife, Eboni Jackson. As we said at Medgar Evers during The Hip-Hop Institute, being an entrepreneur is taxing emotionally, Wes Jackson wrote. This is the type of gesture that reaffirms and strengthens your resolve.
Besides being able to revel in a historic Brooklyn performance from two of the borough’s greatest wordsmiths, that $45 will also have you taking in live lyrical exercises from Skyzoo, Oswin Benjamin, and legend Pharoahe Monch, whose debut solo album, Internal Affairs, celebrates its 19th anniversary this year. So, don’t be surprised if that $45 gets you a front-row look at more Hip-Hop history than advertised.
You can cop your discounted tickets to the 14th annual Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival finale concert here.