There are few better ways to kick off Black History Month than to go see Rapsody, a walking, breathing celebration of Black women, perform live. As concert attendees poured into the venue, “U.N.I.T.Y.” by Queen Latifah boomed from the speakers. That song perfectly captured the spirit of the night.
The show started promptly at 8 PM and right out the gate, Capitol Heights rapper Odd Mojo got off thought-provoking bars acapella. “AYE FILLMORE BOUNCE”, she instructed the audience as she brought the spoken-word-like track “Worry 2 Much” from her album Channel Yo Mojo to life with an instrumental. Rocking unhooked overalls, combat boots, and a bandana over her braids, Odd Mojo gives heavy 90s vibes. There are two sides to her, though. Her songs “Sticky Notes” and “Make a Way” are nostalgic and they gave her room to flex her lyrical prowess. Other songs she performed, such as her latest single “Sunday, Monday” and “I Was Workin” along with rapper Just Keyz, show her fun, energetic side.
After Odd Mojo warmed everyone up, North Carolina-born R&B singer Heather Victoria took the stage. Heather Victoria is a welcome breath of fresh air in the current climate of contemporary R&B, where it gets hard to differentiate the singers from one another. She is also Rapsody’s labelmate on Jamla Records, and independent record label founded by 9th Wonder. Her soulful, sultry voice provided a relaxing atmosphere as she sang “Never Felt”, “Japan”, “Sunbeams”—a song that features legendary DMV singer Raheem DeVaughn.
Then, Southeast D.C. rapper Sa-Roc blessed us with sound. “Y’all ready to rock tonight?,” she asked as she walked back and forth, saging the stage. Sa-Roc has gorgeous, long, blonde locs and looks about 5’0”, but don’t let her appearance fool you. She raps with an intensity and precision that is as powerful as the blaze of a thousand suns. Sa-Roc captured hearts as she performed uplifting tracks such as “Goddess Gang”, “Forever”, and “MetaMorpheus”. In between songs, Sa-Roc expounded on the cultural significance of Black women and stressed the importance of supporting one another.
“[Black women have] always been the glue of our families, protecting, nurturing and providing. We’ve always been the movers and shakers, the leaders of movements and pushers of culture. So, it’s only right that we celebrate Black women today and henceforth, right?,” she stated.
After breathtaking performances from all the openers, Rapsody finally appeared for her set. She casually strolled out and started spitting “Nina”, the opening track on her last album Eve. Each song on Eve is named after an influential Black woman, which added another layer to the evening which was already a celebration of Black women in and of itself. The most striking aspect of Rapsody’s set is that she doesn’t use sex appeal to distract you from her music. It’s literally just you and her bars. As Rapsody performed songs from the album including “Cleo”, “Whoopi”, “Aaliyah”, and “Sojourner”, the magnitude of the night sank in. Here we have, Rapsody, a Black woman who is killing it in the rap game, putting on, providing a platform, and a safe space for other Black women right before our very eyes. A lot of people shout “WE LOVE BLACK WOMEN”, but do very little in real life to prove that. Rapsody demonstrated just how easy it is to properly lift up Black women. As Sa-Roc said, “It’s only right that we celebrate Black women today and henceforth, right?” Check out photos from the mesmerizing night below: