I was asked by the Plan Beats crew to come photograph them at the Art of Transformation in Opa-locka this past Friday night. The Art of Transformation was put together by the Opa-locka Community Development Corporation and their goal was to have an event that will launch Opa-locka’s “Community Gateways” project- a public arts project financed by the National Endowment of the Arts that will revitalize Opa-Locka with an award-winning team of national artists. Plan Beats would provide the entertainment through out the night until En Vogue performed their set.
I usually see the Plan Beats crew out at the monthly Art Walk down in Wynwood but The Brass King hit me up the day before the event asking if I could come and photograph them as they performed at the venue. He basically described the event as taking place at the Opa-locka Executive Airport out on the tarmac with En Vogue performing. How can one say no to that? Shooting on the tarmac would have been great but getting to see En Vogue? Yeah I was so there.
The event started at 7pm but I got there around 6pm to check out the location and look for the optimal places to shoot etc. When I got there, En Vogue was going through sound check so I was able to see where the ladies would be during their performance. Ok, I was able to see where Cindy would be at during the performance. I’ve had a crush on Cindy from En Vogue since 1990. I saw En Vogue at Jazz in the Gardens last year but now I was able to see them up close.
After sound check I was snapping photos of the Brass King and Choppy Blades around the tarmac. There were two private jets on either side of the stage and all during the night planes and helicopters were taking off and landing. It was pretty cool to see all that as the night’s activities were going on. The sunset that night was amazing over the airport. It was like everything was working for me photographic wise.
After some entertainment by the Brass King and Soulchild with a surprised appearance by Robert Townsend, it was time for the main event, En Vogue. Everyone clamored in the front of the stage. Bloggers and other photographers were there jostling for position for the best angle for a pic. Where was I? I was on the side of the stage all by myself. Best seat in the house.
En Vogue came on and performed a litany of their hits. Those girls still have it, whatever it is. Their performance was spotless and their voices on point. I was so close that when Cindy was dancing her sweat was landing on me. Ok, maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but they were that close. Luckily for me Cindy stayed predominately on my side of the stage so a lot of my photos taken were of her.
After their performance, the Brass King came back on stage to spin some more tunes but by then I was exhausted. I was ready to head home so I said my goodbyes and headed for the comfort on my bed. Just another day in the life of JC Ruiz Photography.