Organizer: Brandon McEachern
By Timothy Cox
WASHINGTON, DC — The production date was April 25 – April 27, 2019 at the 7th annual Broccoli City Festival, featuring several international musicians and singers. In addition, the festival has a burgeoning reputation for attracting young people who have growing interests in varying capacities – including entrepreneurial opportunities, healthy food intake and developing future financial investments.
Led by its creator and founder, Brandon McEachern, the event has attracted a strong grass-roots audience that travels from various parts of the U.S. and some parts international too. The Greensboro, N.C. native said he started envisioning the broccoli concept as early as when he attended Southeast Guilford High School in Greensboro.
VISIONARY: Brandon McEachern of Greensboro, N.C. is creator and founder of the Broccoli City Festival concept. He’s committed to provide youths and millennials long-time opportunities to thrive in urban environments. (Special Photo)
McEachern’s business savvy started with selling T-shirts in college,” said the graduate of North Carolina Central University in Durham. McEachern also said the concept of Broccoli City Fest is a matter of giving back to the black community – and keeping the dollars circulating.
During this year’s festival, McEachern and his trusty newly-wed wife and business partner, Alexia Smith McEachern, said approximately 30,000 spectators filled all empty spots in and around FedEx field while security guards on special duty, didn’t seem to be bothered with any reports or instances of security issues.
McEachern said he’s come a long way since starting the Broccoli City Fest in Los Angeles nine years ago, when he only attracted between 300 to 500 patrons.
By 2013, he decided to make the move to the nation’s capital where he could attract a much more diverse population. “And, DC is still a city that has a solid, black base,” he added. “And, me being an East Coast guy – I appreciate DC’s East Coast diverse flavor,” he added.
IN CONTROL: Brandon McEachern, leader of Broccoli City Festival, addresses the more than 30,000 spectators that appeared at FedEx Field in Washington, DC to participate in the three-day conference-concert event. (Special Photo)
This year’s concert bill included major acts such as the Donald “Young Gambino” Glover, British breakout RnB singer, Ella Mai, Teyana Taylor and megastar rapper Lil Wayne.
Other lesser known acts who appeared onstage were Maryland-based Rapper Ade, WillThaRapper, Q Da Fool, Kelow Ltesha, Yung Miami of the City Girls duo, Gunna and Lil Baby – both of Atlanta.
“It’s a chance for the younger people to see such big-time entertainers they’d probably never get a chance to see,” said McEachern. “More than musicians, rapper and athletes – these kids need to see more, so they can do more — if they can see it, they can do it,” said the organizer – adding that Broccoli City Fest’s concept is a throwback patterned after the historic Wattstax concert in Los Angeles from 1972. That show was a collaboration of Watts community leaders and the STAX music recording label of Memphis, Tenn. He also noted the educational conferences similar to the Atlanta-based Jack “The Rapper” Music Conventions of the 1980s and sponsored by the late “Jockey” Jack Gibson of Orlando, Florida. In August 1984 – Gibson welcomed Nation of Islam’s Minister Louis Farrakhan as special guest speaker.
NEW “LADY T”: Following the legacy of Tina “Lady T” Marie, Teyana Taylor of Harlem, N.Y., likewise exudes a sexy fervor – as did her legendary namesake. Ms. Taylor is known for her cover of Billy Stewart’s and G-Q’s “I Do Love You” classic hit. She’s shown here with her backup trio, during her recent performance at the Broccoli City Festival in DC. (Special Photo)
Throughout the outdoor parking venue – commemorations to the recently-slain rapper-community activist Nipsey Hussle were noted via artist’s renditions, T-shirts and personal tattoos. Singer Teyana Taylor offered an emotionally-moving video tribute to Nipsey and his actress girlfriend, Lauren London, during the young Harlem singer’s performance.
McEachern said he also considers the success of legendary Motown founder/CEO Berry Gordy Jr., as an inspiration. “It’s important for us to see us doing positive things,” said the 35-year-old promoter/producer/entrepreneur.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Broccoli City is a leading social enterprise organization committed to educating, equipping and mobilizing millennials to build thriving urban communities that sustain future generations. Through a diverse array of programs and events, Broccoli City continues to create pathways to higher standards of sustainable living. For more details, access https://bcfestival.com.