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How old were you between the golden years of the new millennium in 2000 and 2005? What about 2007? If you were a teenager or young adult by the end of the first decade of the 2000's, you were both young enough and old enough to witness one of the biggest evolutions of human life. It was predicted the world would either end or we'd be driving flying cars in the 2000's. Although that didn't happen, the "2000's" were filled with so much more. We witnessed the shift in fashion, music, culture, technology, television programming, movies, hairstyles, politics, climate change, dances and from no social media to sneaking a Myspace. The joys of being young and carefree!
The 2000's was an especially special time for black culture. As always, music is the soundtrack to our lives as it reflects the times we're living in. The new millennium was no different. From 1999 to 2001 and so forth, our culture was introduced to a gang of fresh faces, dances, trends, and slang. Popular artists from the 1990's like Jay-Z, Puff Daddy (who became Diddy in 2001), Missy Elliot, Jermaine Dupri, Snoop Dogg and Beyonce became pioneers of the 2000's and taught the culture how to be a boss up, party it up, and look fly. Hip-Hop became synonymous with R&B, BET's most famous show "106 & Park" aired, "American Idol" was the new "Star Search," the first Scream Tour happened and the young fresh faces of the millennium kept the tempo of pop culture.
In addition, the 2000's was all about the party which opened a big space for Caribbean artists to merge with American hip-hop culture. Hip-Hop transcended from the crack epidemic and just telling stories of the ghetto to "I made it out the ghetto, now I'm in the club popping Cristal and Belvedere." Atlanta artists took over the culture and has influenced every artist we listen to today. We could go on and on for days!
Black girls we were introduced to these cute boys (Lil Bow Wow, Lil Romeo, Sammie, B2k, and Mario) that came from similar upbringings like us. These boys not only entertained us, but were marketed to feel like our boyfriends. Black boys saw that the imitating the swag of these guys and older acts (Nelly, 50 Cent, Usher, Lil Wayne) helped them get girls and be the fresh guy at school. Aside from the fellas, the 2000's would be nothing without "baby girl" music from Mya, Ashanti, Nivea, Destiny's Child, Ciara, Amerie, and Brittany Spears.
Parents of adults today between the ages of 23 and 38 have endless opportunities to experience some of their favorite youth or 90/2000's artists on tour or at a festival. Their adult children don't have that same variety. That was until B2k announced "The Millennium Tour." In 2001, they were one of the biggest acts to emerge. B2K was "that" group - top charting singles, sold out tours, girls passing out and crying at their sight in every city, #1 videos on "106 & Park," and the urban classic film You Got Served. After their second album, the group parted ways leaving diehard fans feeling cheated out of seeing them maximize their potential. For years it's been asked for years if the group would reunite, but timing had yet aligned. At the end of 2018, the group announced a reunion tour that would assemble some of the hottests acts between their debut and after their breakup.
The Millennium Tour stars B2k, Mario, Pretty Ricky, Ying Yang Twins, Lloyd, Bobby Valentino and Chingy. It gleams in nostalgia for once young girls who had a heartthrob for the likes of these artists, who jumped at a chance to relive pure fun days before the seriousness of social media, the adult pressures of survival, career, motherhood, even marriage. The tour is for girls who airbrushed J. Boog's face on a t-shirt and fought over Spectacular's sweaty towel. The Millennium Tour is for once boys, who enjoyed wearing du-rags, tall t-shirts, jerseys, Air Force 1s. Guys who secretly liked Lil Bow Wow as an artist and knew all the words to Mario's "Just A Friend." The men attending The Millennium Tour are the ones who took advantage of this unique opportunity to let their guard down and be a carefree black man or tagged along with their special lady, homegirl or sister to see what the hype was about. The Millennium Tour unified the culture that remembers choreography to Omarion's Neptunes produced "Touch," and debates Lloyd's lyrics is "she fine too" or "she's 5'2."
It's okay to admit millennials are trying to figure it out day-by-day. Inheritances of a harder economy, new social and lifestyle values, and matriculators of an everso changing world - things for us are different. The Millennium Tour sparked enthusiasm to plan out outfits and reconnect with old friends from middle school. Whether you've attended the tour or not, we can appreciate the moment and acknowledge although we are at the forefront of the present and setting up the future of this world, we deserve more things for us. Since the early/mid 2000's, black culture has become bigger than it's ever been before and as many things in history - diluted and stripped away from its authenticity. Without intention, the Millennium Tour proves that Black millennials deserve a niche that isn't taken over by pop culture, repackaged and sold back to us. We all have great memories of a simpler time, while gagging at old pictures of ourselves. Hopefully this tour opens more doors for younger artists of our childhood to partner up and hit the road. Who would you like to see tour next?
The Millennium Tour stopped in Atlanta at the State Farm Arena for two sold-out shows with special guest appearances from Bow Wow, F.L.Y. (Swag Surf), Youngbloodz, Keith Sweat Murphy Lee and Fabo from D4L. See photos from the show below!
(Photos: Farrin Hymon)