Red, white and blue cupcakes, hamburgers and Ne-Yo in your backyard to celebrate the Fourth of July weekend? The last component may seem like an unwelcome guest, but for soldiers and their families stationed at Brooklyn’s Fort Hamilton Army Base, the singer’s show was music to their ears.
“This is just a way for me to show my appreciation for what the troops do,” Ne-Yo said.
Born Shaffer Chimere Smith, Ne-Yo showed his support for the troops by giving a free concert right next to the houses on the military base. The field on the base held over 4,000 people on Saturday (July 2) and the aroma of funnel cakes, Italian sausages and lamb gyros filled the air. Despite the large turnout, there was still plenty of space for concertgoers to lounge on their blankets and kids to play around in portable playground. Prior to Ne-Yo hitting the stage, he held a press conference and an intimate meet and greet with families of fallen and wounded soldiers.
“I’m out here supporting the people that support me,” Ne-Yo said, smiling from ear to ear. “I’m happy to be here.”
The singer’s concert for the troops was a positive action in light of Lupe Fiasco and Mobb Deep’s Prodigy speaking out against the President and his motives towards the war. When asked about the importance of celebrities being proactive for the good of public opinion, Ne-Yo replied, “As an artist you have a bigger microphone than others and you have the power to use that for good or evil.” The singer also stressed that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but artists must realize they have the responsibility to sway opinion. After answering the tough questions, shaking hands and kissing babies, the Arkansas native hit the stage.
The concert may have been free, but the expressions on his fan’s faces were priceless. Ne-Yo glided across the stage for nearly an hour, playing his hits chronologically from Because of You to “Closer.” He even gave away his hat just before a 10-minute instrumental leading up to his hardworking woman homage “Miss Independent.” Then he brought the crowd up to date with selections like “Champagne Life” from Libra Scale and ended the night with his bit of the number one song on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, Pitbull’s “Give Me Everything.” As fireworks light the sky and everyone journeyed home, it was clear that great things happen in Brooklyn — just ask Ne-Yo.
“I love Brooklyn,” the singer told the audience. “I dig it, it’s a cool borough.”
We couldn’t agree anymore.