On Saturday, April 9, 2016 in spite of Mother Nature not being sure if she wanted to wear rain, snow, or sleet, I had the pleasure of attending the second annual festival in celebration of black queer performing and visual artists known as Honey Groove. Held in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC, the spring festival attracted women, and a few men, from across the country. The venue was Blind Whino, a colorfully restored church that has been converted into an art gallery and performance space. The event was sponsored by Jack Daniel’s Honey, Cava Mezze Grill, Rainbow Noise, Curate, Lez Journeys, Tagg magazine, Maker’s Lab, and Capital Bikeshare. A sea of beautiful women filled the space, all out for the common goal to have a great time! They greeted each other with smiles and hugs even if they did not know one another. The ladies danced, laughed, and sang the night away while enjoying the night’s signature cocktail, Jack Daniel’s Honey and Lemonade.
Festival goers were greeted by an aromatic display from local food trucks. I must say the smells certainly had me salivating and my stomach growling. The offerings included delicious viddles from Healthy Fool as well as Peruvian-style rotisserie chicken from DC Pollo. Honey Groove also featured several local vendors such as Robin Williams a.k.a Robbie,
who I managed to sneak a few minutes to speak with. We talked about how Bowtie Behavior started from her making a bowtie for a friends wedding. Fast forward 4 years later and she is happily working for herself full-time, attending 4 to 5 events annually. Joining her in the vendor's corner were Flawless Faces Makeup Artistry who gave ladies tips and tricks on proper makeup application; The Healing Sanctuary 44 who provided attendees with the knowledge of meditation; Mad Moxie, blog and brand architect, displayed their “Zen-influenced art painted on wood,” and ORIGAMIXX who turns books into wonderful works of art to name a few. The task of keeping hips swaying, the dance floor covered, and speakers thumping was aptly handled by Mane Squeeze, DJ Mim, DJ Lady Ryan, DJ Rosie, and TezRah. Sheesh, just this alone sounds like a great time! But wait there is more! There were also visual artists painting live on everything; bodies, standard canvases, and wood. The artists included Kayon Cox, Sekayi Fernandes, Emma JoJo, and Dawn Tree.
The attraction at Honey Groove was the stellar lineup of amazingly talented performers. The lineup was like that of a Championship Dynasty team. The night boasted some of the best Indie artists from the DMV [DC/MD/VA].
Washington, DC rapper Smoochie Blanco got the show started. A mainstay on DC’s Indie music scene, she performed a few songs from her recent EP “Let’s Call It Black” that included “Mr Officer,” a song which calls for an end to police brutality in the Black community. The audience’s energy moved her to jump off the stage to party with the crowd. I really enjoyed her set and strongly encourage you to download her current album.
Washington, DC Rock/Soul band The Coolots delivered a high energy set that literally rocked the
crowd. The band, whose members include Awesome Rita (vocals & bass), Crystal (vocals), BoomClack (drums), Dappho (bass & vocals), and Huggie (electric guitar & vocals) performed a few fan favorites which included their latest release “Chemical.” Crystal’s soulful vocals gracefully rode the bass driven track driving everyone to go wild. I urge you to check them out they’re definitely worth the time.
Baltimore, MD female fronted Soul band, J Pope and Funk Friday (J Pope: Vocals Dan Sam: Drums Jake Kohlhas: Guitar Gabe Pickus: Percussion Daniel Wallace: Saxophone Andrew Freed: Bass), brought an easy laid back mix of Hip-Hop, Funk, and Soul which had the crowd hypnotized despite difficulties with the sound. Their set included the song “Strange Things,” which allowed J Pope to showcase both her vocal and rapping ability. This was the first time I have heard their music, however i can say I am now a fan of their music and looking forward to their first full length album.
Uptown DC entertainer Pinky KillaCorn took the stage representing her hometown proudly by wearing an One Love Massive “DC As FCK” t-shirt. She performed songs from her latest project "KillaCorn 3.5" including fan favorite "Anime,’" as well as a few others. Fans sang along word for word with each song the Queen Hippstress performed off her recently released project. With a presence both undeniable and unparalleled, she sent the crowd into a frenzy. Be sure to download "KillaCorn 3.5." You don’t want to be the only one in the crowd not singing along.
Washington, DC veteran entertainer RAtheMC was joined onstage by Thee H Collective. She commanded the stage with a grace befitting a battle tested artist who has comfortably come into her
own. She performed new music from her highly anticipated upcoming album, “It Takes A Village.” The new music sounds incredible and she has once again managed to evolve her sound, yet remain the RAtheMC her fans have grown to love. As if she had not already taken the crowd to cloud nine, she goes and does renditions of Lauryn Hill’s “Lost Ones” and the classic Frankie Beverly and Maze song “Before I Let You Go.” She had the crowd partying like we were in her backyard at a family cookout. RAtheMC never disappoints, which is why she has the honor of being a veteran of the DMV Indie music scene. My advice to you is to do yourself a favor, check her out, and become a fan.
DC Singer-songwriter Be Steadwell graced the stage with her girls to perform a couple of original songs, yet turned the show out with their rendition of legendary Go Go band Rare Essence's ‘98 classic “Overnight Scenario” and a mashup of Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable” and “Formation.” I did not think it was possible for me to be more of a fan, but it looks like I was wrong. After that set I think I have graduated to something in between fan and stan. Be sure to visit www.besteadwell.com and join the clan.
Washington, DC based duo BOOMscat, consisting of keyboardist/drummer/producer, Asha Santee (BOOM), and vocalist/songwriter Jennifer Patience Rowe (scat), delivered a soul stirring performance. They reached deep into the soul of the crowd and stirred it into an uncontrollable state.
They performed songs from their current album, “No Life Jacket” including one of my personal favorites, “Private Show.” The pair’s sultry vocals caused outburst of delight and cries for an encore. No it wasn’t just me, however I proudly admit to shouting like i was in the church of BOOMscat, moved by The Peace & Body Roll Duo spirit. If you ever get the opportunity to catch these two perform, I very strongly recommend you take advantage of the opportunity as I promise you will not regret it. If you haven’t already, go download their album “No Life Jacket.”
Largo, MD native artist, musician, songwriter, and lyrical poet Reesa Renee closed out the
festival. She performed crowd favorites such as “Listen” featuring RAtheMC and “Got Me Loose,” both from her “Reelease” album, and “Controversial” from her latest release “Lovers Rock.” Having been a fan of this musical dynamo since her 2011 explosion onto the scene, I am never disappointed with her performance. She possesses a contagious energy wrapped in a big colgate smile you can’t help but love. A rising star sure to reach any and every goal she sets, she’s one to keep an eye on as I am certain she’s yet to scratch the surface of her talent. Visit www.reesarenee.com to get better acquainted with Reesa and download your copies of “Reelease” and “Lovers Rock.”
The festival was easily accessible by Metro and parking, as in any major city, was a little tricky for some. I arrived early so I was able to find a spot on the lot just across the street from the venue.
Overall I would give Honey Groove an A. The crowd was just about, if not to, capacity. With that being said, it didn't seem to bother anyone that space was slightly tight. Everyone was simply partying and enjoying the positive vibes that filled the venue. A very special THANK YOU to the ladies of Cocoa Couch Collective (Kyrisha Deschamps, T. Jonae Davis, Lisa Gomes and Lee Levingston Perine) for presenting such a great event. You ladies really outdid yourselves and I truly enjoyed every minute. Honey Groove is most definitely a must attend festival. If you missed this one, whatever you do, don’t miss next year’s!
View more pictures from Honey Groove here.
Written by Ki Misfit for Misfit Tunes (c) 2015
Follow Ki on Instagram @Im.Just.Ki & Twitter @Im_Just_Ki