BLM ✊🏾✊🏽✊🏿

Summer 2020


Starting with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March of 2020 which resulted in the cancelation of so many events I had planned on attending, I found myself mired in an immense sense of sadness, restlessness, uncertainty and disconnect. My camera sat in its bag on the floor, accumulating dust, as I wondered when I'd be able to shoot a concert again. And then the Black Lives Movement kicked into high gear in late May, following the tragic and senseless death of George Floyd. I felt a strong desire to do something, anything, to absorb my time, thoughts and energy, and decided to shine a light on Black musicians whose works have inspired me.

I devoted myself to a project to keep my creative juices flowing and to demonstrate what I love about music and photography, as well as reflect my belief that Black Lives Matter. Every day for three months straight, from June 4th until September 3rd, I made a single post on my various social media accounts for a Black musician I photographed in the past, with my words in a caption about them. In finding photos to publish, I dug through a few years' worth of archives, chiefly selecting photos I hadn't put in my feed before. I derived much satisfaction from this project as it caused me to examine the progress I have made in a few years of serious concert photography, as well as revisit older photos with a more experienced eye all while allowing me to hone my editing skills. When I prepared a shot for another BLM post, I made sure to listen to music by that particular artist. The daily routine of editing and writing gave me a renewed focus during this pandemic and reconnected me to music.

2020 has been an odd period in time, to say the least, but I am happy I have found my own way to stay in touch with what I enjoy. The below entries are what I posted to my Instagram, collectively assembled in chronological order. - EQ

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01. Algiers

The band Algiers put out a new album, 'There Is No Year', in January. This photo is of lead singer Franklin James Fisher taken by me at the end of their powerful performance back in December 2018 as part of the Love Speech benefit at Murmrr Ballroom to fight anti-Semitism. Check out their music out on Matador Records. (June 4)

02. Kendrick Lamar

 I remember turning on the TV back in February 2016 and the Grammys happened to be on. I don’t usually watch that awards show, but the thrilling performance by Kendrick Lamar that night drew me in and blew my mind. At the end of his segment, I leapt to my feet and clapped furiously for him in my living room. While his music had been on my radar for quite some time before then, I had never seen him live in person. So when the opportunity to see Kendrick do a gig in front of a few hundred people came along later that year in December, I jumped on it and stood in line in below freezing temps to make sure I’d be up close. Absolutely incredible. This is a shot I grabbed on my old point and shoot at Music Hall of Williamsburg. (June 5)

03. Lianne La Havas

The first time I saw Lianne La Havas was in 2014 at Afropunk in Brooklyn. Her beautiful voice and sunny demeanor captured me and made me an instant fan. I had the good fortune to see her again at last year’s Afropunk, this time as a photographer. This shot is from that performance in August 2019. Looking forward to her self-titled third LP, which drops on July 17th. (June 6)

04. Pharoah Sanders

Pharoah Sanders has been mesmerizing jazz fans for over 50 years with his saxophone playing, stretching back to his days with revolutionaries like Sun Ra and John Coltrane. This legend is still a vital force and performs regularly as he approaches 80. I took this photo of him boogeying during his gig at LPR in April 2018. A new album of his titled 'Live in Paris (1975)' was recently released a few months ago. I invite you to give it a spin. 🎷 (June 7)

05. Dawn Richard

I’ve been grooving to the track “Do It 4 U (Love Me Daily Remix)” since it dropped this past Friday on Bandcamp. It’s a new take on a collab by Machinedrum and Dawn Richard. This is a photo I grabbed of Dawn during her captivating Northside Festival performance 4 years ago at Rough Trade. Proceeds from downloads of the remix will be donated to the BLM + LGBTQ movements. (June 8)

06. Yasiin Bey

Whether you know him as half of Black Star or under his former stage name of Mos Def, Yasiin Bey has been a significant hip hop voice since the mid-90s. His debut solo effort, 'Black on Both Sides', recently turned 20. It features the timeless track, “Umi Says", which could be an anthem of sorts for the current day: “I want Black people to be free, to be free, to be free...Black people unite and let’s all get down.” I feel you, Yasiin. This photo was taken during his concert at the Apollo Theater in December 2016 on my old point and shoot. (June 9)

07. Rhiannon Giddens

I’ve been a fan of Rhiannon Giddens since her days with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, but it wasn’t until a concert in Prospect Park in 2015 when I saw her perform live for my first time. I took my husband along even though he is not usually one for concerts, and we both walked away at the end of the night super impressed. We really love her banjo and fiddle playing coupled with her beautiful singing as well as her ability to do music that’s not easily characterized into one genre. She has a way of teaching us about influences that have shaped her music without being pedantic. Her collaborations with other musicians are also fantastic. I am particularly fond of her side project, Our Native Daughters; check out their 2019 album. This photo I took is from her 2018 headlining appearance at SummerStage in Central Park, a show my reluctant concert-going husband gladly attended. (June 10)

08. Herbie Hancock

Though my first exposure to Herbie Hancock was via the song “Rockit” when I was a kid, I immersed myself in jazz during college and discovered his back catalog. His album, Head Hunters, became one of my absolute favorites. So, I jumped at the chance to see him in 2016, when he played a benefit show for the Celebrate Brooklyn! festival in Prospect Park near me that August. What a privilege to watch this legend work! (June 11)

09. Vagabon

Laetitia Tomko aka Vagabon is a self-taught artist who has put out two beautiful albums in just a few years. I photographed her during the record release show for her second, self-titled LP, in October 2019 at National Sawdust. The song “Every Woman” has lyrics that resonate strongly: “‘Cause we’re not afraid of the war we brought on / And we’re steady while holding you all.” (June 12)

10. Lee Fields

Lee Fields is a soul singer who got started in the ‘60s but continues to churn out timeless music that speaks to us today. His most recent album with The Expressions, 'It Rains Love', came out a year ago. The track “Wake Up” is particularly relevant now: “Aren’t you tired of all these lies? / Time to wake up, open your eyes / Don’t be led in the wrong direction / ‘Cause it’s time for mass correction.” This photo is from his performance on the 4th of July, 2016, at South Street Seaport. (June 13)

11. Big Freedia

Big Freedia brings a smile to my face anytime I see her. I’ve been a fan of the Queen Diva and her bounce music for a long time, and seeing her perform live is always a party, even in the pouring rain a year ago in Central Park for SummerStage when I took this picture. Next weekend on June 20th for 24 hours, a documentary called “Freedia Got A Gun” will be shown as part of the AFI Docs virtual film festival. It addresses the gun violence epidemic and racism in the U.S. Check it out! (June 14)

12. Kelsey Lu

Last year, I caught Kelsey Lu on two occasions and she impressed the hell out of me both times. Not only is her singing gorgeous, she adeptly weaves the cello into her music. Lu recently released the track “Morning Dew” as a follow up to her debut album, Blood. This photo is from her performance at Lincoln Center in August 2019. (June 15)

13. Moses Sumney

I remember falling in love with Moses Sumney and his voice when I saw him open for Karen O in 2014. He’s released two gorgeous LPs since then, including this year’s 'græ', which has been in constant rotation for me. Here’s a shot I took of him during the Soundtrack of America program at The Shed in April 2019. (June 16)

14. Jill Scott

Jill Scott’s dynamite debut LP 'Who Is Jill Scott? Words And Sounds Vol. 1' turns 20 next month! I am reminded of a lyric from that album: “Brotha don’t let nobody hold you back.” A-MEN. I took this photo of Miss Jill during a late night Roots Jam Session in January of 2018. My body hurt the next day, but I had no regrets staying up past my bedtime. (June 17)

15. The Roots

Speaking of The Roots and their Jam Sessions, I love that they are a band that never shies from elevating others. I’ve learned about so many other musicians because of their collaborations over the years. They also put on the annual Roots Picnic, which for 2020 will be held virtually on June 27th. In addition to featuring musical performances, it will serve as a voter registration drive via partner When We All Vote, so get on it! This photo is from a July 2016 show they did in Battery Park City. (June 18)

16. Mavis Staples

Mavis Staples has been a passionate voice of the civil rights movement since the very beginning, first with her family band, The Staple Singers, and then as a solo artist. Though she is over 80 years of age, Mavis continues to churn out new music that speaks to us. Have you heard the song she recently released with Jeff Tweedy called “All In It Together”? This photo is from her birthday celebration last year at the Apollo Theater. (June 19)

17. Toro y Moi

What better way to usher in the start of summer than by listening to some Toro y Moi? Yesterday, Chaz Bear, along with The Mattson 2, released a cover of “Ordinary Guy” by Joe Bataan, who also happens to be Afro-Filipino, like Chaz. The song is available for purchase on Bandcamp. This shot is from Toro y Moi’s performance at Afropunk last year. 🌈 (June 20)

18. Laura Mvula

Laura Mvula possesses a gorgeous voice that is clear, yet warm and vibrant. I was so happy to see her play National Sawdust in August 2016. Today, I am reminded of some beautifully melancholy words from her debut album, 'Sing To The Moon': “Father, Father, let me love you...I lost my heart in the dark with you.” I miss my dad who passed away a few years ago, even though our relationship was complicated. “Father, please don’t let me go.” (June 21)

19. Grandmaster Flash

Grandmaster Flash spun a set in McCarren Park as part of the Northside FestIval in June 2016. It was an absolute thrill to see this pioneer of hip hop and DJing in action. (June 22)

20. Talib Kweli

Talib Kweli knows where it's at. Getting his message loud and clear. GO VOTE! (This snap is from his appearance at the Roots Jam Sessions in January 2018.) (June 23)

21. FKA twigs

Anyone who follows me on here knows that I am a big fan of FKA twigs. Her music, her artistry, her physical abilities, her dedication...all of it combined for a breathtaking tour last year. I managed to see her at three separate stops, and I was completely enthralled each time. Her second album, 'Magdalene', was one of my favorites for 2019. This photo is from the Red Bull Music Festival in May 2019. (June 24)

22. Angélique Kidjo

Angélique Kidjo is a favorite musician of mine to photograph. I love her vibrant energy so much. One cannot help but move when seeing her in concert. SummerStage (which is where I took this photo in 2018) will be premiering a performance of hers on YouTube on Friday at 7pm EDT. Get ready to dance! 💃🏽 (June 25)

23. Robert Glasper

Pianist and producer Robert Glasper has his hand in so many projects, so it’s always exciting to see what’s on his plate. His latest collaboration is a supergroup with Terrace Martin, Kamasi Washington and 9th Wonder called Dinner Party. They released their first track, “Freeze Tag,” yesterday, and the LP is due out on July 10th. Here’s an old point and shoot photo of him when he opened for Herbie Hancock at the Prospect Park Bandshell in August 2016. (June 26)

24. Sudan Archives

The artist known as Sudan Archives beguiled me with her performance in Prospect Park last summer, which is when I took this photo. She availed herself of an assortment electronic pedal effects while singing and playing her violin on stage solo, and it impressed me how full her music sounded. Check out her debut LP, 'Athena', which nicely presents her unique vibe. (June 27)

25. Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monáe wears many hats as a singer, performer, actor, activist, and she’s amazing in every context. She’ll be doing a special intimate performance in a few hours tonight via HAPPY PRIDE to US! 🏳️‍🌈 (This photo is from her headlining appearance at the Bustle Rule Breakers Festival in September 2018.) (June 28)

26. Gary Clark Jr.

I’ve been streaming a lot of TV during this pandemic to pass the time, including the series Friday Night Lights. In an episode from 2010, the opening scene featured a band playing at a bar, and before I could even see the face of the singer, I knew it was Gary Clark Jr. by his distinguishable voice and guitar. Recently, he is featured on a new single by John Legend called “Wild.” This photo is from his headlining set at Celebrate Brooklyn! in August 2018. (June 29)

27. Tierra Whack

Tierra Whack is a master at brevity with her lyrics. Her debut album, 'Whack World', clocked in at only 15 minutes, but she made every word count by vividly cramming in so many details. Back in March, she dropped a new track called “Stuck” dedicated to everyone in social isolation. “Now is the time I been losing my mind / I wanna see what’s going on outside.” So true. This photo is from her electrifying performance during the Red Bull Music Festival in May 2019 at the Rainbow Room. 🌈 (June 30)

28. Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington’s music suits these pensive times now so well. I’ve been fortunate to see him live half a dozen times since 2015, each time even more exciting than the last. This shot is from his terrific show at the Apollo Theater in February 2019, a concert film of which you can find streaming on Amazon Prime. The track “Fists of Fury” from his LP, 'Heaven and Earth', contains these lyrics: “Our time as victims is over / We will no longer ask for justice / Instead we will take our retribution.” ✊🏾✊🏽✊🏿 (July 1)

29. Brittany Howard

I have seen Brittany Howard in a number of music projects (Alabama Shakes, Thunderbitch, Bermuda Triangle, solo), and while her collaborators may differ, the common thread is her powerful voice and evocative lyrics. Her solo effort, 'Jaime', is a wonderful assembly of many personal themes and was one of my favorite albums of 2019. This is a shot I took during a show in July 2018 with her band, Bermuda Triangle. So nice to be able to see Brittany in such an intimate setting. (July 2)

30. Fishbone

Happy Friday! Angelo Moore of Fishbone says, “FUCK RACISM!” (This photo is from their raucous show at Brooklyn Bowl in August 2018.) (July 3)

31. Lonnie Holley

In 2018, experimental artist Lonnie Holley sang these lyrics: “I woke up, woke up, woke up / Woke up in a fucked-up America,” and those words have stayed with me ever since. He just released an EP called National Freedom yesterday. This photo of Lonnie is from a performance he did during last year’s Solid Sound Festival. Hope you have a safe 4th of July. (July 4)

32. Daveed Diggs

Hopefully, if you have access to Disney+, you will have already watched the film version of the musical Hamilton, which dropped on Friday (and is freakin amazing). One of its many stars is the multi-talented actor, Daveed Diggs, whose electrifying performance as Lafayette / Jefferson garnered him both a Tony and a Grammy. Daveed is also one-third of the indie hip-hop group clipping., pictured here from a show they did at Elsewhere last October in advance of the release of their third album, 'There Existed an Addiction to Blood'. 💉(July 5)

33. Santigold

In Santigold’s track “Shove It,” written about George W. Bush’s administration, she sings “We think you’re a joke / Shove your hope where it don’t shine.” I’m pretty sure those lyrics can apply to the current president as well. I took this photo of her during Afropunk Festival in August 2019. (July 6)

34. Nubya Garcia

In January 2019, I caught British saxophonist Nubya Garcia as an opener one night at LPR during Winter Jazzfest, and her excellent short set left me craving more. Can’t wait for this pandemic to quiet down so that live music can return and I can see young talents like Nubya play again. Recently, she released a new single, “Pace,” which is a nice mediation on what makes us joyful. 🎷 (July 7)

35. Rachel Aggs

Rachel Aggs is a rad guitarist and singer and is involved with a number of post-punk bands, including the excellent Shopping. They released a new LP a few months ago called 'All or Nothing', and I was hoping to see them in March, but stupid pandemic. Here’s a shot from their performance at OctFest in September 2018. Oh, and yesterday was Rachel’s birthday. 🎂 (July 8)

36. Mdou Moctar

One of my favorite performances I caught in 2019 was by Tuareg guitarist Mdou Moctar. I saw him and his band at Solid Sound and after I was done photographing him, I sat on the lawn for a bit to enjoy the rest of his set and dang near missed the next artist I was supposed to shoot! Check out his album, 'Ilana (The Creator)', which is a trim 38 minutes but jam-packed. (July 9)

37. L'Rain

Brooklyn artist Taja Cheek aka L’Rain presents music that is not easily categorized. It draws upon different elements of R&B, avant-garde, electronic and experimental. I’ve seen her a few times now and each experience is never the same as the sound surrounds you. This photo is from her set at Brooklyn Steel when she opened for Deerhunter in February 2019. (July 10)

38. Amadou and Mariam

Husband and wife Amadou and Mariam met as children at the Mali Institute for the Young Blind, and have been performing Afro-blues music for nearly 40 years. They are an absolute joy to see in concert. I still adore their 2005 album, 'Dimanche à Bamako'. Here’s a photo of them at Celebrate Brooklyn in July 2017. (July 11)

39. Nile Rodgers

I have a lot of admiration for the legendary Nile Rodgers, who has amassed an incredible career of music highlights, starting with his days in Chic in the ‘70s to working with the biggest names like David Bowie and Madonna, to winning Grammys with Daft Punk. Whenever I’ve seen him live, he and his band play a medley of songs he’s had a hand in, and I’m perpetually in awe of how many of those songs I’ve heard on the radio. He’s truly got the Midas touch. Also, for the last two decades, he has dedicated a lot of his time towards the We Are Family Foundation, which promotes cultural diversity while working with young people globally. All this whole beating cancer a number of times, too. This shot is from his set at OctFest in September 2018. (July 12)

40. Swamp Dogg

Happy belated Birthday to Jerry Williams Jr. aka Swamp Dogg, who turned 78 yesterday. He’s been around since the ‘70s, and has seen a recent renewed interest in his work. His latest LP, 'Sorry You Couldn’t Make It', dropped on March 6th, and features the late, great John Prine on two tracks. This photo is from Swamp Dogg’s charming show at LPR in June 2019. (July 13)

41. Valerie June

Valerie June’s charming music and unique voice lean heavily on her Tennessee roots, resulting in a country and blues-tinged repertoire that draws listeners in. This photo is from a night at the beginning of 2019, when she played at local spot LunÀtico, a bar no bigger than a shoebox. Being able to see Valerie perform there a few times was really special. Despite the low light, the intimacy and energy at those gigs could not be denied. (July 14)

42. Living Colour

I remember the summer of 1988, when Living Colour’s single “Cult of Personality” was released (32 years ago yesterday, sheesh!). Hearing Vernon Reid’s iconic guitar riff and Corey Glover’s impassioned vocals, I was hooked. I knew I had to have their debut album 'Vivid', so I saved my lunch money and bought a copy on cassette at San Goody at the Paramus Park Mall. It wasn’t until November 2018, though, when I would actually see them live for the first time. And despite “Cult” being over three decades old, it’s amazing how applicable the lyrics are even now: “I exploit you, still you love me / I tell you one and one makes three, oh / I’m the cult of personality.” (July 15)

43. Megan Thee Stallion

 Last October, I photographed the ferocious Megan Thee Stallion in Williamsburg and her set was absolute fire. Her lyrics are raw and unapologetic, which I love about her. Lately, I’ve been enjoying her stint as a judge on HBO Max’s “Legendary.” Heard she recently had surgery on her foot. Wishing her a speedy recovery so she can get back to twerking while rhyming! (July 16)

44. Flying Lotus

Steven Ellison, better known as Flying Lotus, is one of my favorite producers out there. And when I say out there, I mean, out there. 🚀 Seeing him live is always a real trip. I love hearing all the influences in his music, as well as all his collaborations with the likes of Kendrick, Herbie, Tierra, Little Dragon and Thundercat, to name a few. This shot is from his show at the end of last summer in Brooklyn. (July 17)

45. The War and Treaty

Last year, I caught husband and wife duo The War and Treaty opening for Al Green at Radio City and they were so invigorating! This week they released a new single “Five More Minutes” and will have a new album called ‘Hearts Town’ due out in September. This photo is from that performance in May 2019. (July 18)

46. Esperanza Spalding

Esperanza Spalding wears many hats as a jazz bassist and vocalist, songwriter, composer, Harvard professor. Last year, she released an LP called ‘12 Little Spells’ for which in January she won a Grammy in the category of Best Jazz Vocal Album. Is there anything she cannot do? And she’s a joy to watch. This shot is from when she played at Celebrate Brooklyn in Prospect Park in July 2017. (July 19)

47. Danger Mouse

In 2004, when Brian Burton, better known as Danger Mouse, released a mashup of Jay-Z’s ‘The Black Album’ with The Beatles’ White album, resulting in ‘The Grey Album,’ everyone took notice. Since then he has collaborated and produced work with some of the best artists, including Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and one of my favorite LPs of last year, ‘Lux Prima'.This photo is from their amazing performance at Kings Theatre in November 2019. (July 20)

48. Yola

The first show I shot in 2020 featured rising star Yola, a singer from the UK who’s had a big year. Her debut album, ‘Walk Through Fire', was produced by Dan Auerbach and was met with critical acclaim. Her lush sound is hard to pinpoint - there is a retro quality that harkens back to the ‘60s and ‘70s with tinges of country, but she manages to make it all her own. And she is so lovely on stage. This photo is from that gig at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in January, which feels like it was forever ago. (July 21)

49. George Clinton

Happy Birthday to Dr. Funkenstein himself, George Clinton! 🎂 His influence as the godfather of funk is immeasurable and cannot be denied. Last summer, he did a farewell tour which took him through New York City at Central Park’s SummerStage, which is where I grabbed this shot of him in June 2019. He may have retired from touring, but I doubt this was the last we’ve heard from him. (July 22)

50. Junglepussy

Indie rapper Shayna McHale best known as Junglepussy has a no holds barred attitude when it comes to her lyrics that I find empowering and often hilarious. I felt so happy being able to photograph her dominating the stage at Afropunk last year. This coming weekend, she will be part of the lineup for BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn’s (virtual) Festival: Live Everywhere, starting at 8pm on Saturday. Tune in! (July 23)

51. Shabaka Hutchings

UK-based saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings is a thrill to watch, whether you catch him in The Comet Is Coming, Shabaka & the Ancestors, or, like when I saw him last summer at Industry City, with Sons of Kemet. I remember that despite it being really muggy that evening in August, he and the band kept the crowd moving non-stop. He’s made a big impact on the music scene coming out of London in just a few years, incorporating influences that go beyond traditional jazz boundaries. (July 24)

52. Bettye LaVette

I remember the first time I heard Bettye LaVette - it was at a Joni Mitchell tribute concert 14 years ago at Carnegie Hall, and she brought down the house with her version of “Last Chance Lost”. I then immediately sought out her 2005 LP ‘I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise’ and found it full of wonderful covers of songs by women like Dolly Parton and Fiona Apple. With her earthy, emotive voice, LaVette is a master at putting her own soulful spin on others’ lyrics. This photo is from her performance during a more recent show at Carnegie Hall, this time as part of the Tibet House Benefit in February. Last month, she released her take on “Strange Fruit”, a song first made known by Billie Holliday - very powerful and, sadly, still relevant during current times. (July 25)

53. Charles Bradley

Dear Charles Bradley may have departed this planet nearly three years ago, but I still think of him and his heart-filled performances often. He was a warm, tender man who brought a lifetime of experience and emotion to each word he sang. Lately, I’ve been hearing his voice in my head with these lyrics: “This world is going up in flames / And nobody wanna take the blame....Gotta be a better world.” Miss ya, Screaming Eagle of Soul. (This photo is from January 2016, taken during his set for the Village Voice Pazz + Jop Party.) (July 26)

54. Tank and The Bangas

Tank and The Bangas hail from New Orleans and play a colorful blend of music genres. They gained national recognition a few years ago, winning NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert in 2017. They recently released a lovely cover of “What The World Needs Now.” I had such a blast photographing them in June 2017 at SummerStage. (July 27)

55. Dizzee Rascal

It’s wild to realize that Dizzee Rascal dropped his smashing debut, ‘Boy In Da Corner’, in 2003 when he was only 18. With its jagged beats and rapid-fire lyrics, the album gave us a window into Dizzee’s life coming out of East London. Despite his youth at the time, his words spoke of an experience worth reflecting upon: “Oh, it’s real out here / Like no one understands sometimes / If people could see what’s really going on / Like people are just, just going mad in front of me, you get me?” I took this photo on my old point and shoot during Dizzee’s performance of the album in its entirety in May 2016 for the Red Bull Music Academy Festival. (July 28)

56. Ibibio Sound Machine

Whenever I’m in the mood for dancing, I often throw on music by Ibibio Sound Machine, an Afro-funk band from London. Their lead singer, Eno Williams, draws upon her Nigerian roots and brings an energy and intensity that will get you up! I saw them open for Angelique Kidjo at Lincoln Center in August 2017 and they were unforgettable. A few weeks ago, they released a live album, ‘Live at Earth’, which is a ton of fun. (July 29)

57. Shamir

 I’ve been following Shamir since he burst onto the music scene in 2015, and while his sound has departed from the dance-pop of his debut LP, ‘Rachet’, one thing has remained constant: his compelling countertenor vocal range. Shamir has a lot to say and is ever prolific; in 2020 alone he’s already released the album ‘Cataclysm’ in March and has another self-titled one coming in October. This shot is from Shamir’s show at The Bowery Ballroom in November 2015. (July 30)

58. Solange

Back in 2017, I had the opportunity to see Solange perform an intimate show at the Guggenheim Museum as part of the Red Bull Music Festival. I knew I loved her stunning album, 'A Seat at the Table', but seeing her play in the museum with her musicians and backing dancers blew my mind away. Her conceptualization of having an entire squad of Black artists perform in a space traditionally monopolized by white artists and patrons was radical, especially enhanced by her request that the audience wear all white. Sitting on the floor while she sang directly to us, at our level from a few feet away, was so powerful, I cried. I walked away that day so impressed by her artistry - easily one of the top twenty concerts I have ever seen. So when she returned a few months later to play for a larger crowd, I leapt at the chance to see her again. This photo, shot on my old point and shoot, is from one of her shows in October 2017 at Radio City. (July 31)

59. Blood Orange

Exactly a year ago, I photographed Dev Hynes aka Blood Orange at an enormously packed Lincoln Center for their Out of Doors festival. I love his dreamy, sexy music, which is full of moody synths and undulating bass, so it was incredible seeing him from the pit. He’s had excellent collaborations with some of my favorite artists including Solange and FKA twigs and has turned me onto a number of other singers. I was supposed to shoot him again this past March at Radio City but the show was cancelled due to the pandemic. 😭 Hoping we get another dose of Dev Hynes soon... (August 1)

60. Adia Victoria

One huge thing I miss about going to concerts is being exposed to newer artists who open for headliners and discovering music that I might have missed. Last year, while at Celebrate Brooklyn to shoot Iron & Wine with Calexico, I caught opener Adia Victoria and was immediately drawn to her performance. She plays rock music tinged with blues and southern gothic, and I really dug it. (August 2)

61. Christian McBride

While I was in college, I went through a serious jazz phase and dug in deep with the classics. I also got into contemporary artists like Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau, Christian McBride and Brian Blade. It was a thrill for me when I saw them during my nascent concert-going life ~25 years ago as they were only slightly older than me and were making such wonderful music. These guys went their separate ways, establishing paths of their own, but recently reunited to record a new album, 'RoundAgain', which dropped last month. I missed their reunion concert last fall but thankfully NPR Music premiered a video recording of that gig two weeks ago. Here’s a photo of Christian McBride from his appearance at a Roy Hargrove tribute concert in January 2019. I am fond of his works and still have his first album on CD, which he signed for me in 1995. (August 3)

62. Nilüfer Yanya

Last year, I caught newcomer Nilüfer Yanya twice as an opener and really grew to love her smoky voice and overall sound. Check out her strong debut album, ‘Miss Universe’. I am especially looking forward to what’s coming next for her. This photo is from her set at Celebrate Brooklyn in July 2019. (August 4)

63. Meshell Ndegeocello

 In the lead track to her 2002 album, ‘Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape’, Meshell Ndegeocello asserts, “You see brown folks are the keepers of the earth, unifiers of the soul and mind.” I remember playing my copy of that album over and over, hoping to absorb the complexities she issued both lyrically and musically. While Ndegeocello has never confined herself to a particular genre and has shifted her sound over the years, her music has been focused largely around her dexterous bass playing. I last caught her two years ago at murmrr Theatre, where I took this photo, in June 2018. (August 5)

64. Kele Okereke

I first became familiar with Kele Okereke as the lead singer of Bloc Party, but it is via his solo career I’ve really come to appreciate his words. Kele doesn’t shy from addressing issues of race, sexuality and politics with his lyrics, giving listeners a peek into his perspective as a Black gay man who’s the son of immigrants in a post-Brexit Britain. His latest album ‘2042’ dropped last November and does exactly that. This photo is from his performance with Bloc Party in September 2019 at SummerStage. (August 6)

65. Jean Grae

Jean Grae wears many hats, and I don’t mean only literally. She’s a master at wordplay whether rapping, sermonizing, or just being funny. She has thrown down with the best of them, adeptly bringing her own style and smarts no matter what the situation. In June 2019, I photographed Grae performing with frequent collaborator John Hodgman at Solid Sound and they were fucking hilarious. (August 7)

66. Lazarus

Lazarus Chigwandali hails from Malawi, where he started as a busker with his makeshift guitar. He has used his platform as an international musician to bring attention to the plight of those with albinism in his homeland, where they have been targeted due to their lack of pigmentation and tortured or killed. I became acquainted with his lively music during last year’s 37d03d Festival in May 2019. I found his music so moving. It’ll make you dance! (August 8)

67. Resistance Revival Chorus

The Resistance Revival Chorus is an amazing collective of women and non-binary singers, many of whom are Black and who have come together to perform protest songs often deeply rooted in Black music. I have seen them several times over the last few years, in Central Park and Prospect Park, at Carnegie Hall or at festivals and rallies. They are a beautiful bunch of voices who bring meaning to the phrase joy is an act of resistance. I promise that if you ever have the opportunity to see this group in person, you will be inspired and uplifted. This photo is from the 37d03d Festival in May 2019. (August 9)

68. Sinkane

Ahmed Gallab aka Sinkane is a Sudanese-American multi-instrumentalist who performs his spin on Afrobeat/funk music. I believe the first time I saw him live was with a William Onyeabor tribute band called Atomic Bomb!, and it was easy to see why he was a natural fit to lead the group. His latest album, ‘Dépaysé', explores what it means to be an immigrant in the time of Trump, among other themes. I most recently photographed him at the 37d03d Festival in May 2019. (August 10)

69. Lizzo

Thinking about pre-COVID times, when Lizzo absolutely ruled last year with the release of her LP, ‘Cuz I Love You’. I cannot wait to be able to see this icon in concert again. This shot is from her sold-out show at Brooklyn Steel in May 2019. (August 11)

70. RZA

Robert Diggs, better known as RZA, is the abbot of the Wu-Tang Clan. I remember listening to their first album in the ‘90s and being blown away by how seamlessly all these voices wove together to tell stories over gritty beats and samples including clips from old school kung fu flicks. Flash forward to 2006, I ended up enrolling at USA Shaolin Temple, whose master Shifu Shi Yan Ming counts RZA as one of his disciples and students. Shifu’s birthday is celebrated every year, and one time, as the evening grew late and activity had settled into a mellow groove, RZA slipped into Temple for the party. There were some students seated in a corner playing chess, and RZA quietly joined them on the floor for a match, and that is one of my favorite Temple memories. And to bring it full circle, I apply a lot of the discipline I honed from practicing kung fu to my photography today. This shot is from when he performed a live soundtrack to a screening of the classic movie “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” at Lincoln Center in July 2018. (August 12)

71. Rico Nasty

One my favorite acts I caught during last year’s Afropunk Festival was the rapper Rico Nasty. She was so bold and energetic in her performance. The video for her latest single “iPhone” literally just dropped. 🔥 Looking forward to her upcoming LP, ‘Nightmare Vacation’! 💚 (August 13)

72. Son Little

Son Little has a slightly raspy but smooth voice that sounds timeless whether he’s singing soul, r&b, blues or rock. I first got hooked on him with the blistering track “The River” from his 2015 self-titled debut album. Since then, Son Little has put out an additional two LPs including ‘aloha’, which came out this past January. This shot is from the record release show he did for WFUV at the Sheen Center. (August 14)

73. Irreversible Entanglements / Moor Mother

The free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements released an album called ‘Who Sent You?’ back in March, and it has given me lots of food for thought in these troubled times. I like their music particularly because of Moor Mother’s fiery poetry, which couples well with the frenetic instrumentation. I caught the group a year ago in Industry City on a warm August night. (August 15)

74. Raphael Saadiq

Raphael Saadiq first rose to prominence as a founding member of Tony! Toni! Toné! in the late ‘80s and has continued to work since then with a remarkable career as a producer and solo artist. He has collaborated with too many notable R&B artists to list. I was fortunate to photograph him this past February on his Jimmy Lee Tour, which was one of the last shows I officially shot, and it seems so long ago. (August 16)

75. Oceanator

Elise Okusami has been steadily releasing solid indie rock on her own over the last few years under the name Oceanator. She’ll be releasing her sophomore LP called ‘Things I Never Said’ on the 28th via her own label, Plastic Miracles. I got to photograph Oceanator in April 2019 at Warsaw as part of a stacked bill of bands fronted by women. (August 17)

76. Tunde Olaniran

I first caught Tunde Olaniran as an opener for My Brightest Diamond last year, not knowing what to expect, and walked away a new fan. Tunde is queer and Black and comes from Flint, Michigan, and infuses that unique perspective into his deeply personal music and vibrant performance. I love the uplifting track, “Miracle”, from his last album ‘Stranger’: “Can’t forget that I’m a miracle. It’s true. Don’t forget that you’re a miracle too.” This photo is from that Rough Trade show in May 2019. (August 18)

77. Sharon Jones

Just a little over a decade ago, I went to Prospect Park to see soul singer Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings for the first time. They closed out the yearly summer festival known as Celebrate Brooklyn! and I had a front row seat to the boundless energy of this tiny but ferocious woman. She and the band played a 2+ hour set to a jam-packed crowd on a hot August night. From that point on, I saw her whenever I could, and witnessed her incredible journey over the years, and even got to talk to her a few times. Sadly, Sharon’s life was cut short in November 2016 due to complications from pancreatic cancer. She remains one of the biggest reasons why I decided to pursue concert photography, even though I never got to take her pictures officially. This shot is from that unforgettable concert in 2010 taken on an old point and shoot I had with me at the time, before I knew what I was doing. I miss Sharon so much. What an inspiration! (August 19)

78. R.A.P. Ferreira

Yesterday, Rory Ferreira aka R.A.P. Ferreira ( but also aka milo or Scallops Hotel) was the subject of a New York Times article discussing the pricing of physical media. Last month, he offered his latest LP, ‘Purple Moonlight Pages’, at what some might consider a steep $77. All 1,500 copies sold out. With shitty streaming services offering next to no compensation for music on their sites, charging more for merch like vinyl may be the only way smaller artists will be able to survive. Ferreira is helping shift the conversation in more ways than just via his words. This shot is from Ferreira’s performance at Solid Sound in June 2019. (August 20)

79. Michael Kiwanuka

I’ve loved Michael Kiwanuka’s classic sound upon hearing his first single “Home Again” back in 2012. He’s released some beautiful albums, including his latest, ‘Kiwanuka’, which came out last year and is on the 2020 Mercury Prize shortlist. The track “Hero” is particularly striking: “Please don’t shoot me down / I loved you like a brother / It’s on the news again / I guess they killed another.” This point and shoot photo is from the first time I saw him, in June 2012 at Celebrate Brooklyn!. (August 21)

80. Toshi Reagon

Toshi Reagon has combined her music with a lifetime of activism, so it is always thrilling to hear her powerful messages whenever I can. This photo is from a year ago at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn when she was part of a lineup of Black female musicians who covered Marvin Gaye’s album, ‘What’s Going On’. I read that a few years ago she and her mother wrote a rock-opera based on Octavia Butler’s “Parable of the Sower.” I hope I can see a performance of that some day. (August 22)

81. Ho99o9

This weekend would have marked the 15th anniversary of Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn but for that damn virus. Last year, I got to photograph the two day event and one of my favorite acts I caught was the punk band Ho99o9, who knocked me over with their intensity and energy. I stayed in the pit for the entirety of their 45 minute set and I still could have gone for more. Here’s a shot of Eaddy, one third of the band. (August 23)

82. Amythyst Kiah

In April 2019, I attended a day session of the Brooklyn Folk Festival held annually at the historic St. Ann’s Church and caught a great lineup of performers. The closer for that afternoon was Amythyst Kiah, who combines her powerful voice with songs rooted in folk, blues and country music. You might know her as 1/4 of Our Native Daughters, a banjo supergroup of Black women. (August 24)

83. Vince Staples

I took this photo of the electrifying rapper Vince Staples when he headlined the first day of OctFest back in September 2018. Recently, he contributed a verse to a remix of artist Terrell Hines’ song “Get Up,” and some of his lyrics go like this: “I say what I want, I’m not P.C. / You know black folks killed when police please. / Just seen one on the TV / Make about three this week.” Sad truths here. (August 25)

84. NAO

English singer NAO has been busy during this pandemic. She became a new mama to a baby girl back in May. And this past Monday, she released a new single and video called “Woman,” featuring Lianne La Havas (who I posted about here on June 6th). The song celebrates being a woman of color and the great changes that are happening. “Take my mirror out of the bag and fill it with confidence.” I was happy to photograph the exuberant NAO during her appearance at OctFest in September 2018. (August 26)

85. Tricky

Blows my mind that one of my favorite trip hop albums, ‘Maxinaquaye’ by Tricky, turned 25 this year. The dude has not shown any signs of slowing down either. Last October, he released his autobiography “Hell Is Round the Corner” named after the fourth track on that debut LP. And he’s got a new one - ‘Fall to Pieces’ - dropping next week. Here’s a shot I got of Tricky during a split second of light at his extremely dark show in May 2018 at Irving Plaza. (August 27)

86. Dreamcrusher

I saw noise artist Dreamcrusher in October 2019 and they blew my mind away with a visceral performance that really connected with the audience, especially in an intimate space like Zone One at Elsewhere. Their urgent and raw music is a perfect soundtrack for these chaotic times that are happening right now. (August 28)

87. Cécile McLorin Salvant

I admit, I didn’t know about jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant before I photographed her at a live broadcast of the radio show Live From Here in April 2019, but her voice has stuck with me. Since then, I’ve loved digging into her catalog. Through her singing, she conveys emotions subtly but deftly. If you want a break from the noise of the world, I recommend throwing on her 2018 LP, ‘The Window’, which features Sullivan Fortner on piano. (August 29)

88. Aja Monet

Aja Monet is a poet whose compelling words intertwine seamlessly with music. She uses her words as an activist and organizer to shed light on societal issues especially pertaining to Black women. I took this photo of Aja in April 2019 at The Shed as part of a program called Soundtrack of America. (August 30)

89. Kemba

Back in June, Kemba, a rapper from the Bronx, released an EP called ‘The World Is Watching’ to put focus on social injustice happening in this country. Collectively, the EP’s four tracks clock in at 8:46, symbolizing the amount of time George Floyd experienced police brutality before his tragic murder. Kemba is dedicating the royalties from the sale of his EP to the Anti-Racism Fund. This photo is from his Summer Thursdays concert at MoMA in August 2018. (August 31)

90. Orion Sun

On her Bandcamp page and social media, Orion Sun has described her experience with police brutality at the end of May while protesting at a BLM march Philadelphia. She took her emotional and physical pain and transformed it into a protest song she titled “mama’s baby”. Pledging to donate the money she made from downloads of the song, she managed to raise over $12,000 towards justice for Breonna Taylor. She then had a video of the song put on YouTube, and was able to raise over $18,000 for The Loveland Foundation, a group that provides resources to support Black women and girls. Truly inspiring! Check out her latest LP, ‘Hold Space For Me’, which dropped in March. I took this photo of Orion Sun in June 2019 at the Prospect Park Bandshell. (September 1)

91. Open Mike Eagle

In February 2018, I caught indie hip hop artist Open Mike Eagle in Williamsburg. I was happy to see him perform following the release of his acclaimed LP, ‘Brick Body Kids Still Daydream’, an excellent concept album that vividly paints life at the Robert Taylor Homes, the former housing project in the South Side of Chicago. The follow-up to that album will be called ‘Anime, Trauma and Divorce’, and it’s available for pre-order right now. (September 2)

92. Jamila Woods

Last year, singer and poet Jamila Woods released her excellent second LP, ‘Legacy! Legacy!’, each track on it serving as a tribute to an artist of color who has provided her with inspiration. A month ago, she cut a new track called “Sula”, named for the book by Toni Morrison. Her music has sustained me during this pandemic. Here’s a shot from when I got to photograph Jamila at Terminal 5 back in February, which seems so very long ago. (September 3)

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