It's a hot Saturday evening as I pull up to Cue crib. Cue is going through The Domino Effect set list for their set tonight. Me? I'm wavy off the Sailor Jerry just around and shit. Supporting my niggas. They're apart of the VIBES lineup. I don't know what to expect. This is my first time going. I just knew my G'z Ciej & Rell was behind it. I met Ciej months prior at SXSW, he crashed at our hotel and homie was just super cool so we clicked right away and plus I knew his folks so shit wasn't awkward. I met Rell in New Orleans a couple months prior too actually I met both these niggas a week apart. I went to SXSW one week then went to New Orleans the next week. Crazy. Rell was the same. Super laid back. Chilling. Never on no extra shit so I clicked right away with him also. Never knew they both did business together so when I seen the event flyer I was happy. Two young black brothers making shit happen. What's not to like? I just knew I was going to be there.
We pull up to the Blank Space where it was held. I hop out and scuffed my dopemans. I'm pissed. Night ruined. I just bought these mothafuckas earlier that day. I take a shot of Sailor Jerry to calm my nerves. I damn near wanted to cancel the event like I was the nigga throwing the shit. My shoe looked like when Smokey from Friday was trying to stop his car from rolling down the street when he was parking it. Chuck Taylors just dragging and shit. We start walking up the street and I'm thinking in my head "Okay I go to Dallas next week should I get another pair of Dopemans the same color or should I go with the black joints?" These shoes were weighing heavy on my mind. It's one of my favorite sneakers.
We get outside the Blank Space and I see 4 fine ass black women who I would love to cook a pan of baked macaroni for me. This is rare as fuck and let me explain. Right now VIBES is shooting 4 for 4 from the field before I even enter the venue, that is rare for any event. I usually pull up to events and see women outside of them I usually see 1 that is fine. 1 that is loud and bat shit crazy. 1 that's okay looking but she probably got some bomb, wears bonnets frequently, and a pantry full of snacks so that makes her the most wifeable by default and another one who's drunk as fuck falling all over the place so that makes her a automatic no go. I forgot about my scuffed up shoe and set my sights on these women. I say Hi to these ladies awkwardly and they smiled back at me. Don't know if they smiled because I'm ugly or I'm awkward. Either way they smiled and I walk into the Blank Space.
The place was packed. Too fucking packed but crackin. The art just hit you as soon as you stepped into the building. First thing I seen was a nice pair of titties thanks to my nigga Roach (Photographer) and his display setup right next to the door. Best display of art of the night hands down I must say. I'm just seeing all this art and my brain didn't really know how to process it. This was my first art show ever in life. I'm not really an artsy guy. I'm just a regular guy. Maybe that's why none of the artsy women like me. I never bought a painting or had the urge to. I always figured my first house would have classic movie posters on the walls. Sandlot. Scarface. Three O'Clock High. 3 Ninjas. Just some of my favorite movies. VIBES actually made me want to buy art in the future.
The whole night I'm finally meeting people off twitter. I heard the question "Are you jayjaybenny" quite a bit. The event just seemed like a mixture between a dope house party at your auntie house in the hood mixed with a scene from "How To Make It In America," mixed with a museum. If I knew what I knew now I would've stopped at the ATM before I came. I was definitely a broke boy that night. All I had was $13. There was every type of person at the event. Hood people. Artsy people. Weird people. Fashionista people. Regular people (That's me). Homebodies (People who NEVER leave the crib). It was amazing that all these different people and artists can come together and there not be any conflict. This made me realize that unity isn't impossible. Our lifestyles maybe different but we all have a common goal and that's just to enjoy this life shit.
I go down to the basement where the live performances are going on and it's hotter than the "Heat" episode of Hey Arnold. Like too fucking hot. Walls sweating like that nigga singing in the Coolio "Gangsta's Paradise" video. I remember seeing a nigga performing in that hot ass basement in August in a full fucking sweatsuit. I'm a skinny nigga and I'm not pulling no shit like that on that hot ass night. My family The Domino Effect performs and afterwards I immediately run upstairs and do not return to that basement. No shade to all the performers but yeah I'll catch y'all another time when I don't feel like a burnt toasted cheese sandwich. I posted outside and was talking shit with all the homies I ran into. It was truly a summer night. I took a IG photo down the street because there was a bunch of police and I captioned it "Another night in St.Louis." The next day St.Louis changed forever because Michael Brown was murdered. I'll never forget that.
I took the $13 I had and bought my first piece of art ever in life from Rell. It was a print inspired by the movie "Juice." This was my first art event ever. I bought my first piece of art ever at this event. This is why VIBES always will have a special place in my heart. It opened me up to a world I didn't think I was good enough for or even fit into. I'm just an awkward regular guy. If you told me 2 years ago I'd be helping with VIBES in 2016 I'd seriously laugh in your face like Mandark from Dexter's Laboratory. I'm proud to be helping with this historic event especially with it being made in St.Louis. VIBES has changed my life in so many ways. I know how much stress and work goes into events. How much money is spent. How much sacrifice is required. I'll never not show appreciation to people who work to throw events again. I went to an event to support my friends and ended up leaving with a whole new perspective on life.
To anyone reading this and never been VIBES don't trip. You're not lame. You didn't play yourself. I rather you find out now than never find out at all how truly special this event is. It brings people together positively. Come experience a dope weekend July 30-31st. Grab your tickets to VIBES and AFTER VIBES BRUNCH below.