Words by Jacqueline Uzoigwe
Photography by Karan Teli
On Friday 20 December, Dreamville’s leading lady, Ari Lennox graced the stage at Electric Brixton for her third night at the venue. As expected, the 28-year old singer was welcomed on stage by adoringly screaming fans. Dressed in a long white fur coat and a pink mini sequin dress, Lennox oozed confidence and commanded attention with her undeniable stage presence. Lennox – completely realised and sure in her performance – proved that she has come a long way from being J Cole’s opening act at his Forest Hills Drive concert in 2015 at the O2 Arena.
Lennox kicked off The Shae Butter Babytour with ‘Chicago Boy’ from her debut album ‘Shae Butter Baby.’ She serenaded the crowd with her impeccably soulful voice whilst dancing around the stage performing ‘New Apartment’ and ‘I Been’ and interacting with her loving fans. The theme of her show and album is women empowerment – specifically geared towards black women – evident in details such as her stage backdrop which was decorated with mannequin heads sporting different wigs. Although focused on empowering black women, Lennox was also sure to shout out fans from other race and ethnicities, championing inclusivity and highlighting the wide-reaching nature of her message. Throughout her set, Lennox preached the importance of self-love and learning to let go of toxic relationships – a memorable moment being when she advised a fan who asked if she would shout out an ex, to which Lennox replied “girl you’re beautiful, you don’t need him.”.
As the show progressed, you could see and feel the Dreamville starlet become comfortable with the crowd – taking off her coat and literally kicking off her pink stiletto heels. The vocalist let her liquid gold voice do all the talking as she hit every note, perfectly mirroring her studio recorded versions of each song.
From her debut EP ‘Pho’, She filled the room with nostalgia performing tracks such as ‘Back Seat’, ‘Night drive’ and ‘La La La’, even throwing in a cover of Beyoncé’s ‘Kitty Kat.’ The crowd were with Lennox every step of the way as they passionately sang back each song to her word for word. Lennox continued to wow the audience as she worked her way through songs from her recent album, letting fans pick what they would like to hear. Throughout the night, with her soft spoken, witty and a rather vulgar commentary, Lennox’s likeability and relatability shone, not only through her songs, but also her interactions with fans. After performing her hit ‘Shae Butter Baby’ featuring J Cole, purposefully making the audience believe this was the end, the songstress rounded up the hour long show with another hit song ‘BMO’ as the crowd danced and cheered. She brought out her opening acts to share the stage with her for the final act of the night – and what a performance it was.
With her three Soul Train Award nominations and sky-rocketing popularity, the songstress is certainly living up to high expectations, creating her own lane and demonstrating why her name will always be brought up in debates surrounding leading R&B artists today. A night filled with laughter and soulful vibes, Lennox put on a show that will not be forgotten.