You Want This Smoke
I Love My Hood!
How does the most amazing Art Basel event happen on the last day, in the backyard of a house in Little Haiti? Simple, make it #OurBasel
On Sunday, December 10th 2017 even the police wanted to get down with us. They sent two cop cars and one helicopter but were denied access. This was a community event. Aja Monet and Phillip Agnew formally known as Umi Selah, but really always Phillip once again cultivated and curated a space that shifted all spirits seen and unseen. It’s actually comical that I am attempting to use words to describe an event that made hundreds of people forget they were in a Miami blizzard for 6 whole hours.
Let’s talk about Smoke Signals.
Local talent and out of town talent were adorned with a stage laced with a mystical flower installation by SaySukii Flowers, a the ELEMENTS band, and DJ Kumi. The audience was met with life-size Jenga, a fire pit, a community beverage table and Ben & Jerry’s. Yes, ice cream, because you were going to need to your simmer the soul within you that was about to be set on fire. Aja and Phillip took turns casting their own spells over the crowd in ways only they could as they introduced guest after guest. Local artist like James Klynn, SHENZI, Sekajipo Forthepeeple, the ELEMENTS band and Arsimmer McCoy (who is beyond hilarious!) turned it out with altered covers and original music, YoungArts alumni Samora Pinderhughes went in on his keys, and the explosive Eryn Allen Kane made folks literally “get down, GET DOWN!”
Oh, and Talib Kweli, yea he was there too just in case we all needed a reminder of where we came from! Sidebar, he also laughed at one of my many hilarious jokes, it’s always magical to see a rap legend laugh *insert heart eyes* I’m just trying to live my best life!
While the house was solely for the artist, after you toured the house to checkout artworks by Nikko Washington (that were sold out, btw… Yes, in a house in Little Haiti!), got your beverage and chatted for bit, you just wanted to be outside. It was like watching the best awards show ever- on TV! I invited my boy Ro James to catch the vibe since he was in town recording and he swung through with the homie Luke James . As we sat on the couch in between time I asked:
Me: Does hearing all these artist performing just make you want to get on stage and do ya thing?
Luke: *Does Luke squint while chewing gym slowly* *Slowly breaking a smile.*
Ro: *Smiles with gold tooth showing*
How and when was Sekajipo ForThePeople rapping on the roof?! How is it that I was there and I'm feeling FOMO watching videos ?!
Listen, if I’ve not yet made you wish you were there, let me continue. Every folk swaying performance was memorable but who you swayed into made it even better. That’s the thing about art and frequencies; it brings us all back to the source of self and humbles you to your human state sans titles. In that audience you swayed with your neighbor, that person you see at every event and never speak to, that rockstar guy with the tropical shirts from the New Tropic, the team of beautiful gladiators that run the Soho Beach House, one of those Coco and Breezy sisters, and if you were as lucky as me; you played BLeBRiTY with Jessie Williams and had him type it in your phone because you can’t spell real words, let alone made up ones...
Me: Jessie, can you type that in for me
Jessie: *takes the phone, types it in and hands it back* Imma let you handle that.
Me: *Sees it’s 99 whole cents* *Gulp* *Screenshot so I can remember how to spell it when I got an extra 99 cents hanging around.* Thanks
No matter who you swayed into you were fellow humans captivated by this ultra stimulating dimension that far exceed our worldly limits. Two days later myself and others are still awestruck and filled with gratitude. These are about 650 words more than I thought I’d be able to use to give justice to a night that just took your breath away, but anything is possible. Like finding 99 cents hanging around!
Had to cop BLeBRiTY the game is fire.