On Friday, July 5, 2019, the 41st season of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! festival continued at Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn, NY. The evening’s lineup featured free performances by Baltimore’s Joy Postell, Santa Monica, California’s Leven Kali, Brooklyn’s Leikeli47, and a headlining set by Chicago’s Mick Jenkins.
R&B singer Joy Postell kicked things off at 7:30PM performing songs from her debut record, Diaspora, which is available to stream on her Soundcloud page. Postell exuded confidence, swagger, and a sense of humor throughout her set, jokingly telling a member of the audience to send money to her Cash App account if he wanted to share some of her Hennessy drink. She was supported by a full band plus a DJ and her set felt far too short as I could have watched her sing and interact with the crowd for much longer.
Postell was followed by another R&B act, Leven Kali, who also had a band and DJ backing him. Unfortunately, there were sound issues during the beginning of his set but he powered through and thanked the audience for their participation in singing along. He seemed genuinely appreciative to be playing such a large show in Brooklyn, thousands of miles from home, with most of the Bandshell area being filled with people despite the show taking place during a holiday weekend.
Leikeli47 was up next, performing with only a DJ to support her at initially, donning a sweatshirt, sweatpants, and her signature mask despite the heat. Once she played three songs, she invited audience members to sing along and dance on stage with her. I first saw 47 perform live just over a year ago at a much smaller venue (Baby’s All Right in Williamsburg) and she was flanked by her own dancers. Although this element was missing on Friday night, it was truly exciting to watch her to select random audience members to come on stage and dance with her. The first members she brought up were a father and son (Brandon and Jaden). Jaden seemed shy at first but towards the end of “Droppin'” he began to dance with encouragement from his dad and the audience cheered for him. Her next guest was Jack, a man she noticed was singing along to all of her songs so far, thanked him for his support, and asked him to start posing while performing “Post That.”
Leikeli47’s set relied heavily on her most recent album, Acrylic, which was released late last year, including the two aforementioned songs plus “Tic Boom,” “Full Set,” “Girl Blunt” (which felt like everyone in the crowd sang along to), plus other older material such as “Attitude,” “Miss Me,” “Look,” and her final song, “Money,” which was unfortunately cut short since she ran out of time. About midway through her performance, she stated that she was on the verge of tears and thanked her hometown (mentioning her neighborhoods of Bed-Stuy & Brownsville) for making her dreams come true.
Closing the show was another hip hop artist from Chicago, Mick Jenkins, who also released an album last year called Pieces of a Man. Jenkins also performed with a band and DJ kicking off his set with “Stress Fracture,” “Plain Clothes” and “What Am I To Do” from his most recent release. He also included selections from The Water[s], or more; the anxious mixtape and The Healing Component such as “Jazz,” “Spread Love,” and “Gucci Bag.” Jenkins’ band was set up in the far back of the stage and he seemed to take advantage of the placement by walking all around the large stage throughout his set.