Broccoli City Festival 2022 amplified the voices of women dominating contemporary R&B.
DMV pride was on full display last weekend at Broccoli City Festival, in Washington, D.C. After two years away, the festival returned with an all-star lineup to celebrate 10 years.
The two day festival offered a colorful batch of rap superstars such as Lil Durk, 21 Savage, and Don Toliver; rising musicians with viral appeal, like Alex Vaughn and Joyce Wrice; respective hometown and homegrown legends Larry June, Jeezy, and Wale; and varied hitmakers Wizkid, Summer Walker, and Ari Lennox.
Despite chaotic weather, Saturday’s lively group of performers kept their legions of fans and spectators entertained. Joyce Wrice opened the main Broccoli Stage followed by Larry June whose energy amplified the crowd with fan favorites like “Smoothies In 1991,” “The P,” and “SLS 30 Days.” Rico Nasty kept the crowd energized as she cheerfully celebrated her birthday; she was followed by Atlanta legend Jeezy who ran through mid 2000s classics. The back to back live band sets of Lil Durk and 21 Savage added to the electrifying atmosphere as they individually played various hits from their respective catalogue.
However, it was Wale’s hometown homage prior to their sets that defined the energy for the weekend. The rapper — who seemingly felt slighted by the festival — used his nearly hour set to remind the city of his massive discography, performing classics like “Lotus Flower Bomb” and “No Hands.” Wale’s star power and genuine love for his DMV roots readjusted the murky energy for the day and allowed the rest of the night, as well as one of R&B’s reigning queens, to end off the festival with a soulfully driven finale led by Ari Lennox.
Sunday’s lineup featured Don Toliver, Babyface Ray, Masego, and rising Maryland artist Joony; Gunna — pre-indictment — also graced the stage with highlights from his chart-topping catalog. TEMS and Wizkid shut down the Broccoli City stage before performing their massive hit “Essence” at the end of Wizkid’s set.
Despite a 30 minute delay due to a traffic stop with police, it was Summer Walker who won Broccoli City. With numerous plants lining the stage and a live band backing her, Summer’s professionalism and artistry left the crowd emblazoned by her presence. For an artist who has been fairly vulnerable about her social anxiety, frustrations with fame and protecting her mental health by avoiding certain songs during performances, Summer’s performance was a clear indication of an artist stepping into her power.
Her setlist — which included “No Love,” “Playing Games,” “Body,” and personal favorite “Over It” — proved just why the R&B star and her peer Lennox were chosen to end of the festival’s long-awaited return. The essence of the women who performed during the weekend — from Rico Nasty to TEMS to Summer Walker — justified why the power of modern music festivals resides within the presence of the women.
Kia Turner is a freelance journalist and music historian from Newark, New Jersey. Managing her album-based series Deconstructing or talking about Pussy Rap, you can find the Hoodaville princess at @ChasingKia on all platforms.