Article by: Alexander G. Seyum
Century City, CA – On the Westside of Los Angeles neighboring Beverly Hills and Westwood, Century City is tucked away from the outskirts of the busy downtown L.A. district. Located across the street from 20th Century Fox is the new Annenberg Space for Photography, a new home for photographers, filmmakers, artists, and musicians. On Saturday July 23rd the Annenberg Foundation and KCRW’s Sound In focus teamed up for the summers concert series featuring world famous hip-hop artist NAS and brother-and-sister duo Wild Belle.
On a hot summer’s evening the sky was red filled with smoke over Century City. Just a few miles away from Los Angeles, the city of Santa Clarita was ablaze in a raging wild fire consuming parts of the National Forest. Thousands of concertgoers laid out their blankets and stretched out on the museum lawn in awe of the red sky above them. KCRW’s very own DJ Garth Trinidad spun today’s greatest hits and threw in some old school hip-hop like 2-Pac and Biggie to keep the crowd jumping.
Wild Belle entered the stage in matching black and white outfits, new to the band I was not sure what to expect from their music. As soon as they started playing I was engulfed in a mixture of folk, rock, and reggae all rolled into one. The crowd was grooving to the tunes of “Keep you”, “Throw down your guns”, and “Our love will survive”. Hearing and seeing Wild Belle for the first time opened up my ears to a new sound, which I enjoyed very much.
The sun has now set and the bright stage lights begin to flicker, a low hip-hop base begins to pulsate through the speakers energizing the crowd. A white fog creeps onto the stage, Nas walks through the mist and the audience erupts in excitement. He waves his hands in the air and the music blasts across the museum lawn, the crowed is on their feet singing along to “Hate me now”, “If I ruled the world”, and “I can”.
Nas also took the time to address the current situations going on in America today, specificity with the police shootings and protesting’s around the country. He let the audience know, “we are all of the same race, the human race, and this country belongs to all of us”. After leaving the show I felt a new energy, I was really grateful to see thousands of people of different backgrounds enjoying music and sharing the museum lawn, singing, dancing, and being inspired by great music. At the end of the night, I know the concertgoers also felt the same way I did, that music could be the universal language that brings upon peace.