In an email to campus on Wednesday with the subject line “No Bamba,” co-chair of the Entertainment Board (E-Board) Amanda Newman ’19 announced that Jamila Woods, Mick Jenkins and the duo Lion Babe will headline this year’s Ivies Weekend.
Lion Babe will perform on Thursday, April 25 in David Saul Smith Union, while Jenkins and Woods will take the stage at Farley Field House on Saturday, April 27.
After the last three Ivies Weekends have featured only male performers (D.R.A.M., AJR, A$AP Ferg, Smallpools, Waka Flocka Flame and Vanic), co-chair of the E-Board Jono Harrison ’19 said that increasing gender diversity was important for the group.
“One thing that I think E-Board has pretty consistently found fault with in ourselves … is the fact that as far as I can remember [we] have only ever brought male performers to campus,” he said. “[A priority] this year was looking at a variety of women artists and trying to diversify our acts a little more.”
Jamila Woods, a Chicago-based singer who doubles as a poet, fulfills this goal. A graduate of Brown University, Woods is set to release her second studio album “Legacy! Legacy!” on May 10, 2019. Her debut “Heavn” dropped to critical acclaim in 2016 and featured collaborations with Chance the Rapper, Noname and Saba, among others.
As the headline of Newman’s email alluded to and Harrison confirmed, Woods was signed after the E-Board halted negotiations with rapper Sheck Wes of “Mo Bamba” fame after he was accused of sexual assault by singer Justine Skye. Wes has denied the claims.
“At the very least, we didn’t want to bring in acts that made anyone feel uncomfortable or unsafe and didn’t think it was at all appropriate,” Harrison said. “It seemed like a great opportunity to explore looking at more women artists.”
In addition to Woods, the New York-based Neo Soul/R&B duo Lion Babe and the Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins will be making the trek to Brunswick. Lion Babe, which is composed of singer Jillian Hervey and record producer Lucas Goodman, released their sophomore LP “Cosmic Wind” this morning. Their Thursday performance is sure to feature plenty of new tunes.
Jenkins, for his part, is likely the most established artist coming to Bowdoin and fulfills the student body’s excitement about bringing a more traditional hip hop artist to campus, according to Harrison. The proud owner of over 43 million streams on Spotify for his most popular song “Jazz,” Jenkins is no stranger to collaboration himself, as he featured Noname and Xavier Omär on his well circulated “Angles” off of his 2016 album “The Healing Component.”
Despite the tribulations of the planning process, the E-Board has managed to put together a set of artists that is diverse in both gender and musical style. The hot takes about the E-Board’s decision-making process are sure to abound over the next few weeks, but we’ll have to wait until late April to see if this will in fact be the best Ivies yet.