Wed | Oct 21, 2020

It’s, it’s Serani! ... and DMX - Artistes heat up CityFest

Published:Saturday | September 21, 2019 | 12:00 AMAnthony Turner/Gleaner Writer

Mt Vernon, NY:

Hip hop superstar DMX and dancehall artiste, Serani brought the heat to CityFest last weekend in Mt Vernon, New York. The outdoor street festival featured performances from several American and local reggae-dancehall acts and attracted over 5,000 patrons who came from the heavily populated Jamaican community of Mt Vernon, with additional support coming from upper Westchester, Pelham, and parts of the Bronx.

If there were doubts about Serani’s ability to entertain fans, those were quickly cast aside with a full-throttle performance in his first outdoor appearance in Mt Vernon. The singjay, who performed during the reggae-dancehall segment of the show, romped on stage to thunderous applause – introducing himself with his signature slang, “It’s, it’s Serani!”. He proceeded to energise the crowd with his 2010 Billboard hit No Games, which has sold over 400,000 units. The hit parade continued with Stinkin’ Rich and She Loves Me. In between songs, he taught MC Mr Xpert the Skip To My Luu and Pon De River dances, much to the delight of fans.

“Serani really killed it,” said Future FM’s DJ Shawn, who had booked the Jamaican acts for the event. “I’m glad we had the opportunity to showcase to the people of Mt Vernon a dancehall star like Serani.”

DMX, who performed later, was entertaining. Not even a brief thunderstorm that came during his performance diminished the energy that was generated when he touched the stage. The rapper, who has battled drug abuse and incarceration, proved that he still has the magic, serving up a sweet concoction of vintage hip hop classics that included Born Loser, Ruff Ryders’ Anthem, and What’s My Name. Other performances came from local reggae-dancehall entertainers Blu Lion, Juggla, Culture Wise and Celebrityy, along with hip hop-R&B acts such as Intro, Ruff Endz, and Nice & Smooth, who brought the curtain down on the festival.

CityFest was hosted this year by newly installed Mayor André Wallace, the City of Mount Vernon, NY, and Friends of Mount Vernon Arts Recreation & Youth Programs.

“Events like CityFest help let everyone know just how special the arts and culture of the Caribbean really are,” Wallace shared.

Born in New York to a Cuban father and a Jamaican mother, he follows in the footsteps of Jamaica-born Mayor Ronald Blackwood, New York’s first elected black mayor who served Mt Vernon from 1985-1996.

“I’m in awe of what my parents did and the journey they made to give me this opportunity. I’ve been a strong advocate for immigrants in Mt Vernon. A huge portion of the city is from the islands, and you can feel it when you walk the streets,” he said.