GOODFest Equality In Oakland

Solange with Fantastic Negrito, Kelsey Lu, Jeff Chang, and more playing in support of the Ella Baker Center and Son of a Saint

I was at work when I heard the news. First it was a text, then another, with many many exclamation marks. My first text read, "Solange. Oakland. Friday." When I read it, my heart skipped a beat. I knew it was somewhere I had to be.

Coming off of the critically acclaimed masterpiece A Seat At The Table, Solange has been on a rocket ship, galvanizing a community of artists and creatives. To witness her magic in person, on Friday night, I made my way to the Starline Social Club — a venue space whose vintage bar and lounge vibes fit Solange’s aesthetic perfectly. Solange was headlining a concert for equality, run by GOOD and presented by Pixel, and I can’t think of a time when we’ve needed it more than right now.

Since the show was presented by Pixel, a phone by Google, I was equipped with my own Pixel to capture my experience of the night through this unique lens. As friends and family rolled into the event, I snapped their photo. Even in the dim light, I was able to capture smiling faces full of anticipation for the various acts while also capturing iconic moments from each performance.

The energy in the venue was electric. Eager concert-goers were first greeted by the sound of Fantastic Negrito, a standout artist with a vibrant sound. Next up was Kelsey Lu who wowed audiences with her amazing talent. And finally, the night's crescendo ended with Solange. Soft red lighting flooded the stage as Solange emerged to a screaming crowd. The excitement picked up once she began to sing, running through three songs before blessing the Oakland crowd with a final farewell.

Interspersed between performances were highlights and features of the two nonprofit organizations dedicated to fighting equality: the Ella Baker Center and Son of a Saint. I was inspired by the stories of justice and peace, and even more encouraged by the realization that the night’s artists were as passionate about these causes as I am.

The question of the night was, “Equality = _____ for all”, and I think GOODFest has pushed all of us to think a bit more deeply about how we want to fill in the blank to push our world forward.

via Michael Belanger / Flickr

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