High Levels of Hype at Yardfest 2019

Dababy standing on barricade at Howard University Yardfest Picture by, Dikembe Wilkins

Howard University’s Yardfest has returned at an earlier date than the past few years with another star-studded lineup including, Ca$h Money Millionaire Juvenile and was headlined by North Carolina rapper Dababy who spent almost the entirety of his set time performing in the crowd.  As usual, the yard was packed with people from Founder’s Library to Fine Arts and the energy that the acts brought to the stage traveled across the grounds. 

This year’s Yardfest was hosted by Gia Peppers, Scottie Beam who kept the crowd engaged and attentive while waiting for the next act to hit the stage. Multiple times during the festivities the hosts brought students and guests (Lori Harvey, actor and singer Mack Wilds, etc.) on stage to play games and compete. One of the hosts invited a select few students to dance for prize money twice.

Student artists Brooklyn Love and Aina during “Howards Got Talent” at Yardfest             Picture by, Dikembe Wilkins

One of the most memorable segments of the day was “Howard’s Got Talent,” where three student artists performed one song for three judges: DJ Envy of the Breakfast Club, Angie Ang of WKYS and President of the South Division of PepsiCo. Derrick Lewis. The judges mainly were there to give feedback on the artists’ performance and give them advice, as the winner would be decided by the crowd. It came down to two contestants, Aina and Brooklyn Love, but in the end Brooklyn Love received the loudest response from the audience and won the contest.

Saweetie performing at Howard University Yardfest                                                         Picture by, Dikembe Wilkins

 The lineup of performers this year featured many artists, including Queens rapper Chinese Kitty, Quality Control R&B singer Layton Greene, “Power” actor and singer Rotimi, rapper Saweetie, an unplanned performance by Harlem rapper Dave East, hip-hop legend Juvenile and was headlined by rapper Dababy.

Crowd engagement was higher than in the past few years. Saweetie, Juvenile and Dave East all took time to interact with the crowd. Saweetie and Dave East both took pictures with the fans after finishing their sets. Dababy however, took crowd engagement to another level compared to his fellow Yardfest performers.


Dababy overlooking crowd at Howard University Yardfest                                                Picture by, Dikembe Wilkins

Dababy may have only spent about twenty seconds on stage, he quickly stepped onto the speakers and continued his performance. Soon after saying to the crowd that “Howard is the littest place I’ve been this homecoming season,” he entered the pit. He would spend almost the entirety of his set in the crowd, at one point standing on top of the barricade with only security there to keep him balanced. The audience was so into Dababy’s performance that eventually the music had to be cut off with the hopes that they would calm down. Campus police felt that the crowd had become too energized by the performance and if they did not calm down they would be risking injury to all in attendance. One female student did suffer a leg injury during the performance and was cared for by EMTs at the WHBC tent.