Don’t Drop the Mic 4 – event recap
I want people to know that this event is brought to guests with love and the best intentions. let us come together and continue to move and uplift the city of Orange. Don’t Drop the Mic began as an idea if Orange native, Ray Sykes who was teaching music production at Ironworks in New Jersey’s Valley Arts District. The showcase had two purposes, to give his students a stage to perform and express themselves after an unfortunate recent spike in violence in their city. It has grown with our community, as well as Ray’s studio in S Jefferson in the Valley, being a safe space for residents to express themselves.
A goal of DDTM, as well as other initiatives including Amplifying Youth Voices, The HUUB’s Community Listening Fellowship, and Healthy Orange Coalition, is to change young people’s perception of-of Orange. This is a place to stay and participate in good work.
I opened the show by introducing the HUUB space so that guests and the rest of the community know why we are here in the event is important. I met many new faces which I always love because it means the world is getting out!
Sakarra Fite hosted the event, which was appropriate, as she is a big champion of indie hip-hop music. She was engaging, relatable and present. Not to mention her sometime co-host adorable son.
Opening the studded performance line up was Queen Avalon who sang her own rendition of Beyonce’s ‘Listen’. She has also been blossoming as a creative, in video production, and editing, photography, and of course music.
Asad performed a couple songs he has been working on at the studio. This was a big moment for Asad, real name Idirs who has not performed since the tragedy of loosing someone to gun violence last fall. It was powerful to have the opportunity. to get some feelings out. More artists representing from local studio, ERA was Steve aka Wavey who also was inspired after hitting the stage after some time.
To switch things up, Renita played her violin to an engaged crowd that continued to grow throughout the night. At first she was hestitant, because it was mostly a hip-hop line up, but it was quite the opposite. But Ray, the curator wanted her set to had some more flavor to the show.
In between sets, Cesar aka Ywn, set the tone with some good tunes. Anytime I am hanging out with him and our friends he always knows what to play in the background. His taste in music diverse. He later performed with Ro Hendrix, who Ray and I saw play at S.O.B.’s in New York City.
Of course Juice da Vinci hit the stage to perform some of my favorites. His and Ray’s mother and sister were front row to see it all. It added a loving supportive vibe to the entire show.
Also, there was comedy! Unlike the first 3 editions of Don’t Drop the Mic, two comedians, George Garcon, and Marvin. We met the funny guys at the Last Supper open mic. Along with surprise by Analise who we met there as well. She is always performing and sharing, it was great!
The food was good of course, it was provided by longtime colleagues Britt Bites, and Quiet Fire Catering. As we enjoyed the show, guests were able to eat yummy dishes made specifically for the event. More people came out to support, and it was overall an amazing night! Looking forward to the next one. I am so proud of Ray for putting this together and what he does for the culture!
*Fun fact: Two performers literally dropped the mic, in between sets, during the show.