29 Jun A MEMORY OF NYC – 10.10.17
October 10th, 2017. “POP UP, NYC,” SZA said, announcing a free show at The Box in Manhattan. And, as the willing Queen New York is to her fellow Queens, she made sure she popped. The Box, a venue capacity of 250 at maximum, was met with thousands and thousands of New Yorkers, including my OG Shanice, and me, playing the wide-eyed Aussie in his Solange tour tee.
It didn’t take long for it to get crazy – GOOD crazy. The streets filled, you weren’t able to see the floor. The neighborhood had to be closed down. The NYPD filed in. The sky filled with two helicopters to assess how far the crowd was reaching. Rihanna arrived in head-to-toe Burberry. And, ultimately, the show had to be shut down.
What followed is something that I’ll never forget. A small group of friends starts singing ‘Supermodel’, the opening to SZA’s debut album CTRL. And one by one, as if we were a pool of water that someone had dabbed with their finger, the crowd around joins in. The ripple goes out to the entire neighborhood, who all join in. We start with Supermodel, Love Galore, Doves In The Wind, to Drew Barrymore, working our way through the tracklist.
People start creating makeshift percussion instruments, banging on metal bins, stomping the yard, clapping their hands. Few start to get on cars to scream to the sky, cupping their hands over their mouths to further the reach of their voice. An intimate concert becomes a block party. We begin dancing, all looking at each other, people who we’ve never met, catching eyes, sharing a moment and our love. We, smiling, collectively fill the air with the electricity that makes New York New York.