Hip Hop, soul, and reggae, rocks Wingate Park at BP Antonio Reynoso’s summer concert series

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Superstar R&B singer Leela James’ mesmerizing performance had the audience on its feet at the 2023 BP Antonio Reynoso Wingate Concert Series presentation on August 8.
Photo: Tangerine Clarke

Hundreds of Brooklyn residents danced and screamed with excitement as Hip-hop, soul, and reggae music filled Wingate Park during Borough President Antonio Reynoso’s summer concert series that featured iconic artists on August 8.

Reynoso, who gave a shoutout to his predecessor Marty Markowitz for the vision that started the concert series back in the 70’s, and featured artists like Curtis Mayfield, Beres Hammond, and Shaggy, welcomed the crowd and promises to continue the outdoor entertainment, noting the need for it in the community. 

Borough President Antonio Reynoso addresses the crowd during the 2023 Wingate Concert Series presentation on August 8.Photo: Tangerine Clarke

I think it’s about coming out, and being able to give people an experience so they can enjoy live music at the Wingate concert series. Wingate is what it looks like to celebrate summer the Brooklyn way: with good tunes, great vibes, and all the love for the people who call this beautiful borough home,” he said of the event that attracted 5,000 Brooklynites last year, after a hiatus due to the pandemic.

“Thank you to the incredible artists, sponsors, city partners, and of course, my amazing staff for making this year’s Wingate possible,” said PB Reynoso. 

The live entertainment filled with riveting acts opened with an energetic performance by the Brooklyn United Marching Band, that combines the elements of musicianship and pageantry and allows each student to participate in all-encompassing and life-changing activities.

Lakecia Benjamin wowed the audience with her spellbinding performance on the saxophone at the 2023 BP Antonio Reynoso Wingate Concert Series presentation on August 8.Photo: Tangerine Clarke

Fueled by applause, the group that prides itself on development of youth through Academic Support, Character Development, Skills Building and Performance Opportunities, moved and grooved with their compelling beating of the drums and blowing of their trumpets.

Brilliant saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin backed by Soul Squad, voted 2020 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star Alto and Up and Coming Artist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association Saxophonist, revved up the audience with her electrifying performance. Dubbed Harlem’s Vintage, funk, jazz saxophone sensation, Benjamin, played her set with passion, bringing the audience to its feet.

The crowd them got a historic treat from R&B superstar Leela James who commanded the stage, belting out her award-winning songs. She called on fans to put their fists in the air and say, “I am Black, and proud.”

Peter “Peetah” Morgan, and Morgan Heritage, revved up the crowd with popular hits during the the 2023 BP Antonio Reynoso Wingate Concert Series presentation on August 8.Photo: Tangerine Clarke

Winner of the Soul Train Certified Award in 2014 and NAACP nominee for Best R&B Collaboration in 2021, James, a mesmerizing artist, moved to the grounds singing to the top of her lungs as she reached out to touch the hands of fans. 

 The singer/songwriter with seven LPs, seven Top 20 R&B Radio Singles, including two Number One tracks on Billboard Charts, showcased her vocal range for more than forty-five minutes during a spectacular presentation, especially when she added her compelling chart-topping anthem Complicated to the mix. 

As the light faded to darkness, and a cool breeze cover the park, concert lovers, danced to selections spun from Deejay Ralph McDonald’s Video Music Box. Videos of the Jackson 5, Busta Rhymes, Earth, Wind & Fire, and many others, appeared on a jumbo screen above the stage, as the Brooklyn native paid tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop.

Brooklynites danced the night away at BP Antonio Reynoso’s Wingate Summer Series on August 8Photo: Tangerine Clarke

The unfettered fun continued with Jamaican-influenced music by Brooklyn’s legendary Reggae family, Morgan Heritage whose classic hits had the audience singing along. With more than one hour on stage the musical geniuses, three-time Grammy-Award winning group of Peter “Peetah” Morgan, Roy “Gramps” Morgan, and Memmalatel, and “Mr. Mojo”, certainly cemented the immense enjoyment the outdoor concert brought to the community.

NY Public Advocate Jumaane Williams was on hand to welcome the crowd with a loud shoutout, while the NYPD protected the event.

The 2023 Wingate Park Concert, benefited from fundraising efforts by the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President the Brooklyn for All, Inc., and the Brooklyn Borough President’s city-affiliated nonprofit organization. Generous sponsors included Uber, National Grid, iHeart Radio, and Con Edison.