Marching to a genuine beat that “uplifts underserved” communities, which anyone one would have desperately have enjoyed growing up (personally speaking), The Brandon Anderson Foundation takes charge to immerse the underprivileged in the arts: “music, education & spiritual wellness.” Powered by multi-instrumentalist, Anderson .Paak, the community gathering and its glorious stacked line-up in Los Angeles’ MacArthur Park is almost unheard of in this era and created irreplaceable memories.
Hosted by Teddy Ray, with Dj Arkitek spinning, the day event invited all to bask in the rays, eat, play, and simply be happy. Featuring performances by Kadhja Bonet, Ty Dollar $ign, Tobi Lou, Schoolboy Q, Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, and many others, Saturday Morning easily became one of the best curated and welcoming events of 2018.
Respecting the family atmosphere, a strong encouragement of no cursing, smoking, or alcohol filled the slightly muddy turf throughout the park, which occasionally didn’t always work, but we all tried. Photo ops immediately called fans to a cut out of .Paak’s recent release, Oxford, which was proudly displayed, as merch and other vendors were sprinkled across. Sponsors, AT&T, provided charging stations for the event, and every admission came with a meal ticket.
In addition of the ridiculously fair price of $25, individuals who couldn’t afford the ticket were given an option of free admission based on their family income. As a fan of Anderson .Paak for years, his success has stumped someone like myself in the wallet for a chance to see him on numerous occasions. Providing this option reassured that no fan or creative would be turned down and brought back the intent of community gatherings.
The event also saw giveaways which were weaved throughout the set and determined by .Paak trivia, and rap and dance battles, most notably praising young Malakai, or baby Chris Brown, dubbed by Teddy Ray, who had the crowd in a hyped state of mind.
The main attraction were the performances that were non-stop since the early morning. L.A.’s own Hip -Hop ensemble, JUiCE — Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy — broke the downtime and visually explained the four different types of hip hop. Comprised of emcee’s, producers, DJ’s, and b-boys, JUiCE not only showed the crowd what they had but reiterated their services for free to whoever is willing to learn, weekly, from 12-4 at MacArthur Park.
Newcomers, such as 16-yr old Shaylynn stunned with her R&B fused vocals and confident stage presence. While mainstream artists were backed by .Paak + The Free Nationals, such as Snoh Aalegra, Thundercat, MadeinTYO, and SiR. Despite each set lasting only 10-20 minutes, no artist held back and delivered with a potent amount of heart.
.Paak delivered singles such as “Glowed Up,” “The Waters,” and the recently Grammy Nominated single, “Bubblin'” between sets, and tied it all together with “Come Down” and “Am I Wrong” from his sophomore album, Malibu. Gliding between drums to center stage, .Paak’s untouchable tone and delivery echoed to the far corners of the park.
Ending on the highest of notes, celebrating Oxnard going Gold, .Paak thanked all sponsors and individuals for coming out. Blowing kisses to the sky, .Paak stated, “we love and miss your smile, we love you Mac Miller,” honoring the late rapper who passed away this past September. Inspiring all to not be defined by their zip code, the wave of positive vibes lingered and transmitted to all to keep going after their dream.
All photos: Courtesy of Photography by D. Ross