Rotimi and Ne-Yo at Afram Baltimore 2022

Ne-Yo at AFRAM Baltimore 2022 with his talented dancers.

It is finally happening! I am consistently getting to work and use my “metal babies”. It’s insane to think that I went six months without touching a camera. It was too much of a reminder of the pandemic that especially changed the event industry, which in turn affected photographers/videographers and so on. The pandemic also changed my view on traveling, as I was always ready to jump on a plane and cover an event. I am now concentrating in the DMV area to avoid flights or driving long distances. It has to be a special place or event to get me going!

The AFRAM Baltimore 2022 event was the first AFRAM live event in two years. Mayor Brandon Scott delivered a fully diverse weekend to celebrate Juneteenth and Father’s Day and all things Black. There were local artists, vendors, restauranteurs, musicians and activities that reflected the Culture. The MainStage made the festival worth attending for their lineup alone, everything else was the cherry on top. This year the headliner was Ne-Yo, who delivered with his ‘MJ’esque footwork, beautiful dancers and live band. His performance, inclusive of his extensive music resume, can keep an audience entertained for hours. His lovely dancers wore velvet, sheer cut catsuits with wide black fedora hats adorned with crystals. They were definitely professionally trained and were a fabulous addition to Ne-Yo’s set. Many other performers, although entertaining, did not utilize dancers, which is another extension of the singer’s musical expression and completes the presentation.

Rotimi at AFRAM Baltimore 2022

Now let’s talk about Mr. Rotimi! Mr. Nigerian! My partner was shocked to see how musically talented he is. My partner recognized him as an actor without realizing how many hit songs he was responsible for. Rotimi did not have dancers but entertained the audience with his rapport and leaping offstage to get closer to his fans. The photographers could not keep up with his movements! He covered all the square footage on stage and off. DJ Reese was his stage companion and delivered the bass for all of his top songs inclusive of “In My Bed”, “Love Riddim” and “Love Somebody”. Rotimi, approvingly, would lose one piece of clothing after each song, a welcomed action for the audience.

The O’Jay’s performed without Eddie Levert but still a treat to see an iconic group for their last year performing. AFRAM Baltimore 2022 was one of their stops in their “Last Stop” tour. They are set to officially retire their mics and matching suits. El DeBarge’s voice was as strong as ever and he hit every falsetto note as expected. The audience was more than patient when he started his set with technical difficulties, he sang his top songs acapella for the perfect distraction.

Mayor Brandon Scott delivered an exciting and unifying weekend that celebrated African Americans at their best. It was a relief and an exhale after so many years of AFRAM hybrid events. Visit http://www.aframbaltimore.com for more information and prepare yourself for an even greater event for 2023!

Follow me on Instagram @JovannaReyesPhotography and on Facebook @Jovanna Reyes

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