If you didn’t get a ticket to the Super Bowl, missed your opportunity to be a volunteer and the only thing you care about is watching the Super Bowl halftime show, you've already missed your first chance.
Jermaine Dupri stood on the Verizon Up stage under the fluorescent blue and purple light and proclaimed, “Everyone was mad about the Super Bowl halftime, but this is the Super Bowl halftime.”
And by the sound of the screams coming from the crowd --especially the brown-skinned seemingly-middle aged woman to the right with the long white sweater on, Atlanta agreed.
The night began to pick up around 7 p.m. when the infamous Goodie Mob rap group took the stage.
Khujo screamed “Atlanta y’all make some noise.”
The longtime member had braids in his hair, a mic in his right hand and sunglasses that masked his eyes -- but not his passion for each lyric.
The crowd knew all of the words.
The caramel lady bundled in a black jacket with the short honey blonde pixie cut and oversized glasses was a reflection of most of the crowd members during that chilly night. She yelled “aayyee” and rocked back and forth, picking her right and left foot off the ground in a rhythmic dancing motion.
All of a sudden the crowd -- who up until that point was jamming with a calmer essence -- erupted. A man with black glasses, a black skully and a black leather jacket, rimmed with stones on the collar and down the outer arm appeared.
Someone on the stage yelled “Cee-Looooo Greeeeeeen.” The crowd grew in size with each word rapped during Goodie Mob's set.
The Verizon VIP section sat about 4 feet off the ground and had a small black rope acting as a barrier. People were enjoying drinks and an elevated view.
It was a school night, but the young kids were not far and few between. Most of them were attached to the sides of their parents. One mother yelled to her son, “Don’t walk ahead of me.”
The MC for the night , DJ Holiday, hit the stage and said “Are y’all ready? I have a lot of friends here for y’all tonight.”
Then one of the most well-known beats in the city dropped, followed by one of the most well-known voices.
“Welcome to Atlanta where the...[crowd screams] players play.”
Eighteen years later and the crowd -- mostly filled with a variety of brown faces -- still recognized that legendary Atlanta song as a staple in the community.
The girl with the honey blonde pixie cut answered a Facetime call and put her phone in the air so the older woman could enjoy the festivities virtually. The friend group to the right did every dance move to each song -- all while still communicating with their personal Instagram Live audience. It was a party scene straight out of the mid 2000s.
"Crank That Soulja Boy", "Walk It Out", "Whip and Nae Nae", "Two Step" and Crime Mob’s infamous bubblegum dance swept across the bodies of everyone enjoying the concert. Circles formed within the crowd as different people, like the little kid whose proud mom was next to him screaming “that’s my baby’ hit the Whip and Nae Nae.
The really tall guys with the long black dreadlocks appeared to be very anxious. Finally, one of them screamed, “Where’s Waka!”
Not even 2 minutes later, Waka Flocka took the stage and the DJ yelled “Uh Oh things could get dangerous.”
Things didn’t get dangerous, but it became hard to see the stage.
Long dreads were ripping into the air, heads spinning in circle similar to the way rock stars do.
The song begins “I go hard in the [expletive] paint.”
Waka didn’t have to rap the song, because the crowd took over for him. He smiled and listened.
Someone in the crowd said, OK, we can go home now,”as a way to show his gratitude and content for the jam-packed free show.
As new acts like Light Skinned Keisha, 1Party and others took the stage, the crowd began to disperse.
Another lady with a black sweater and country accent yelled, “I don’t know them (referring to the new acts on stage)” her friend followed with, “Are they even from Atlanta?”
The lady in the navy blue business suit answered, “Yeah, they’re from Atlanta.”
The lady with the black sweater pulled out her Android and announced that she was going to follow a few of the new acts on Facebook.
In that moment, it became clear that the very existence of this crowd was political.
Atlantans wanted to make sure Atlanta was heard.
Jermaine Dupri did just that. And his words, “Everyone was mad about the Super Bowl halftime, but this is the Super Bowl halftime” were met with cheers of acknowledgment.
As the crowd filed out of the nearest open exit, a girl in a puffy black coat said “Now, that’s what I call a show.”
LaPorsche Thomas is a digital content producer at 11Alive.
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