June 27, 2022

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Pharrell Williams's One thing within the Water Pageant Was Packed With Surprises

Pharrell Williams’s One thing within the Water competition planted agency roots down in Washington DC. For its second annual occasion (originating in Virginia Seaside, VA, in 2019) held on Juneteenth weekend (June 17-19), the competition kicked off in Chocolate Metropolis with an immersive three-day celebration to champion music, training, and artwork throughout the tradition.

This 12 months, heavy hitters like Usher, Justin Timberlake; Tyler, the Creator; J Balvin; 21 Savage; Lil Child; Roddy Ricch; Chloe x Halle; Ashanti; Ja Rule; Skepta; Anderson .Paak; and the Free Nationals graced the three predominant phases. Different names like Jon Batiste, Teyana Taylor (and her daughter Junie!), Fortunate Daye, Syd, Snoh Aalegra, Rae Sremmurd, and Lakeyah additionally placed on fun-filled performances. With a stacked lineup, attendees got here out in droves for an unforgettable musical expertise, however Williams has made it clear that the competition represents a lot greater than that.

“One thing within the Water begins now,” the competition creator proudly proclaimed throughout a “Energy of Curiosity” panel on Friday forward of the competition’s official begin time. The hour-long dialogue — which included retired NASA astronaut/NFL participant Leland Melvin and the manager director of Williams’s instructional group Yellow, Stacey Owsley, as panelists — kicked off the primary collaboration between Yellow and STEM. The partnership goals to nurture curiosity in at this time’s youth by means of nature and science, beginning with its interactive Nature’s Escape studying expertise touring in Nashville, Chicago, and Los Angeles this summer season.

“It is an academic initiative to even the chances with these youngsters,” Williams added as a “shameless plug” to his nonprofit. The famed producer’s competition adopted that very same mission, decided to show simply how useful these sorts of well-rounded cultural occasions might be, particularly in Black communities. Whereas One thing within the Water’s star-studded lineup of performers was the massive draw this 12 months, it additionally featured a slate of informative panels, free pop-ups, and neighborhood occasions that provided a one-of-a-kind expertise you would solely discover in DC’s Nationwide Mall.

One thing within the Water made an enormous splash with surprises at practically each flip.

One thing within the Water moved away from its unique location this 12 months as a result of “poisonous power” Williams cited in a letter to the Virginia Seaside metropolis supervisor final 12 months following the deadly police capturing of his cousin Donovon Lynch in March 2021. In an interview with Billboard, Williams shared that it is unclear whether or not the competition will ever return to its residence state however assured that the 757 remains to be very a lot part of the occasion.

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Beneath three days of vivid sunshine on Independence Ave, One thing within the Water made an enormous splash with surprises at practically each flip. Usher shocked followers on Friday evening by bringing out Eric Bellinger to affix him on stage, whereas 21 Savage and Williams popped up throughout Tyler, the Creator’s electrical Sunday set for a debut efficiency of the trio’s new single, “Money In Money Out.” Nevertheless, probably the most enthralling second of the competition got here from Williams’s cinematic entrance on Saturday for his extremely anticipated set. Perched atop a excessive ledge with the US Capitol as his backdrop, the tremendous producer gave an brisk efficiency of “Freedom” to a crowd of 1000’s to kick off his hour-long set — which featured particular company like Timberlake, N.O.R.E., and T.I. and his son Domani, in addition to an ode to DC go-go.

Williams’s presence was felt all through the weekend as he additionally popped up throughout a number of artists’ units — together with Lil Uzi Vert; Pusha T; and Tyler, the Creator. In flip, the competition’s lineup made certain to provide the music icon his well-deserved flowers. “You’re the best of all time,” Tyler, the Creator praised Williams Sunday evening, echoing the identical sentiment uttered on stage by N.O.R.E. simply the evening prior. “The innovation, the execution, but when n*ggas actually wish to discuss numbers, the numbers communicate for itself, too.”

This 12 months’s One thing within the Water was met with a lot anticipation from those that raved about its first occasion. As a first-time attendee, I can not attest as to if the competition topped its debut, but it surely certain was a hell of a comeback. Between the nostalgic Y2K moments from Pharrell and Phriends — together with a legendary Clipse reunion with Pusha T and Malice — viral moments from Timberlake and Chlöe, and the celebration of our greatest rap stars and R&B singers, One thing within the Water delivered an all-star occasion that simply may be a tough act to comply with come subsequent 12 months.

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Forward, try photographs of a few of the standout moments from One thing within the Water’s performers.