On Wednesday, September 25, shoppers, students and commuters were treated to a concert on the famous 165th Street Mall in Downtown Jamaica, Queens.
The concert featuring Queens GodIs and Bobby Generic, showcased a smooth blend of toe tapping, hip swaying jazz and hip hop. The night's entertainment was part of the 'Queens Royalty' Campaign launched by the Jamaica Business Improvement District. The campaign looks to celebrate the Jamaica area and its inhabitants as progressive, influential and royal. The concert was the first major initiative of the campaign which will include exhibits, events and showcase the unsung individuals of Jamaica Queens.
Last night, it was all about the music. The music was a blend of old school reinvented and imagined all with a Jamaica, Queens twist. There was the famous LL Cool J ''Round the Way Girl' re-imagined from the ladies perspective. An ode to Louis Armstrong with a creative look at ‘What A Wonderful World'. The feature artists were backed up by DJ Reborn at the turntables and Dr. Tom Zlabinger, an area music virtuoso who directs the York College Big Band whose home is in Downtown Jamaica.
Zlabinger led the horn section which featured renowned trumpeter Graham Haynes. Together they performed a sadly sweet ode to Queen’s native Billie Holliday’s ‘Strange Fruit’.
The Queens references were touted from the stage throughout the performance and a trivia game of famous musicians from the area netted a prize from one of the event's host, poet kahlil almustafa. The location itself is historic as the 165th Street Mall was a place where young break dance groups and rappers would gather, back in the day, to perform. It is an area where artists are frequently known to peddle their CDs.
So, as the slogan for the campaign directs and the performers shouted from the stage, "Touch your Crown, Jamaica Queens" and "Aspire to Greatness"! You are Queens Royalty!