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Inside Pharrell’s Something In The Water Fest: ‘Virginia Needed This’

By DeAnna Taylor

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Pharrell Williams, aka The Man That Doesn’t Age, did something this weekend that only he could.

The Virginia native put together one of the most star-studded festivals the state had ever seen. While the highlight of the three-day fest was the music, Pharrell and fellow Virginia-bred celebrities, made a point to give back to their respective communities as well.

Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Something in the Water

Although the official numbers on attendance haven’t been released yet, you can tell from pictures that this was definitely an event worth attending.

We spoke with several festival attendees, who also happen to be from Virginia, to get the inside perspective of Something in the Water.

Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Something in the Water| Nails by: @getnailedbychrisawn 

Talia Gay attended Norfolk State University, which is only a 20-minute drive from where the festival took place. Her parents also have roots in Norfolk so this area holds a special place in her heart.

Photo courtesy of Talia Gay

“Something in the Water was the perfect embodiment of the greatness of the area and what Virginia has offered to the entertainment industry,” Talia tells Travel Noire. “Compared to other festivals that I attended on a similar scale, SITW comes out on top, no question.”


“Knowing the history of Virginia Beach and the city’s interactions with Black people and people of color, it was just really great to have an event of this caliber that catered to such a diverse crowd.  If there were any disturbances or unruly incidents, I honestly did not hear of it.”

Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Something in the Water

Related: Eat Your Way Through Black-Owned Virginia Beach

Ricky Hopkins was able to attend the event from the VIP perspective. He posted several photos and videos via his social media pages to help those not in attendance get a feel for what was going on.

Photo courtesy of Rickey Hopkins

“I have never been at a festival with such professionalism where everything is so nice and organized,” Hopkins said. “It sounds bad to say, but I think everyone had the same assumptions of waiting for something to go wrong, but it was as if it was too good to be true.”

“This festival was so much more than what it seemed. Celebrities that are from the Hampton Roads area stopped by their old stomping grounds with gracious donations, positive words, and spoke on panels to encourage entrepreneurship, community, and the environment. It proved that we can rise above all the stereotypes of Virginia Beach and be able to enjoy each other regardless of what our country is facing in this current day.”

Photo courtesy of Jasmine McKeiver

As someone who was born in the area and also attended undergrad at Norfolk State University, Jasmine McKeiver understood the importance of having a festival of this magnitude come to the 757.

Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Something in the Water)

“The 757 breeds talent, cultivates amazing people, but desperately needed something major like this,” Jasmine said. “To have him come home and put a festival on for the community, including education events and sessions, is truly a blessing.”

Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Something in the Water

“On top of him bringing Jay-Z out to ‘Frontin,’ he made sure to incorporate hometown artists; from Teddy Riley, Missy Elliot and Timberland to Masego and Dram. It was truly a 757 affair and I am extremely overwhelmed with gratitude that he did this for us.”

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DeAnna Taylor

DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel blogger, author, and writer. While Charlotte, NC (her hometown) is her base, she's always somewhere on a plane. Catch her on IG: @brokeandabroadlife.

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