North Minneapolis families didn’t need to trek out to the crowded State Fair on Saturday afternoon to enjoy fair-like thrills. The Minneapolis Urban League’s 30th Annual Family Day brought the festival fun right to Plymouth Ave.
Family Day was different this year than in previous years. The Minneapolis Urban League (MUL) had a new planning committee this year and only Minnesota-based talent graced the performance stage. The change seemed to pay off.
The parade kicked off the festivities as it marched from Xerxes Ave., eventually making its way to Plymouth Ave., filling the streets with dancers, drill teams, floats, sponsors and lots of families with kids.
As the parade came up Plymouth to the MUL, parade participants walked through all the activities planned for the day. The kids in the parade had to focus hard on their routines as they kept a watchful eye on the Kids Zone.
The savory scents coming from the food vendors offered another tempting attraction. On hand were Rollin Noleen BBQ, Irie Vybz Jamaican food, Wendy’s Soul Roll and homemade lemonade in different flavors you could only dream of.
Then there were the informational vendor tables, which included everyone from NorthPoint Health & Wellness to the Volunteers of America Mobile Unit to POC Black Pride Organization, to name a few.
Once the parade was complete, the stage performances began. When we talk about giving artists an opportunity, Minnesota is the place to be. There was a mixture of styles from gospel and R & B to hip hop and spoken word, intertwined throughout the day. The artists that performed were humble, appreciative and grateful for the opportunity to perform in front of their community.
The drill team and dancers had a dance-off, which was the perfect way to start. Then Light Lord Entertainment kicked off the set hard with Eugene and Natasha Hyatte, Richard Montgomery Band and Ebony, who ended it with a gospel-hip hop twist that had the audience amazed with her powerful lyrics. The gospel message rang through the trap beats. Nicoshia Wynn closed the gospel segment with the powerful song “Relentless Worship,” which she wrote.
Bree Turner and her band provided a highlight on the R&B side of things. Turner came on stage with a keyboard and drummer and tore down the house with a powerful and refreshing voice. She displayed great stage presence and had a warm, inviting spirit that the crowd seemed to enjoy.
Let’s not forget the one and only Mr. Johnnie Brown who serenaded attendees with his smooth and sultry baritone. Rounding out the soulful entertainment were Mike’DeCole and newcomer Tony Valentino.
Another performance of note was Pierre the Poet who did an awesome spoken word piece. It was undeniably one of the best poetically written pieces this writer has heard. Chase Vibe also took the mic with a hip hop number about injustice. From listening to Chase, one would have thought he was African American.
Next, the male/female duo SupaVicious set fire to the stage battle rapping and dancing with each other. KMOJ’s Smoke Dee also contributed with a piece he wrote entitled “Peace & Blessings.”
Lastly, the main event did not disappoint the waiting audience. Traiveon & Candi, a neo-soul/hip-hop/R& B outfit, paid homage to late legends Prince and Michael Jackson. They sang and moved to the familiar grooves of the band providing a soulful end to MUL’s 30th Annual Family Day.
Nikki Love is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.