Rekindling memories from the Multifest Talent Show

Melodies of my childhood still play in my mind — growing up in a neighborhood alive with anticipation for local talent shows

Music: it’s always been the soundtrack of my life, the rhythm pulsating through my veins. From singing to dancing, rapping and beyond, it’s the energy. It’s the vibe that music radiates that truly captivates me. 

My most vivid memories take me back to my formative years, growing up in a neighborhood alive with anticipation for local talent shows – community gatherings where everyone would rally together to cheer on those brave enough to take center stage — a tradition warmly fostered by my grandfather.

The melodies of my childhood still play in my mind. I can still feel the wind blowing as I listened to the combined melodies our neighborhood songbirds Kaline and June Love harmonizing to the Earth Wind & Fire’s “Reasons” below the streetlights. Kaline dressed in normal all white jogging pants and white t-shirt with his curly jet black hair blowing in the wind. June Love in the latest sneakers rocking from side to as he howled up at the moon. 

To this day, I can still hear Brenda Wiley saying, “To the Woo to the Woo.” Brenda lived on the third floor of Bowman court and she was the head organizer of the community dance groups. Year after year she put the best choreographed routines in the talent shows. 

An Instagram moment where Mr. Isaac Petty danced with singer Mya went viral. a vibe that only Multifest could provide.

I remember the older teenage boys in their rope chains preparing their rap songs, Hype Touch, an R&B group that would bring the house down with their voices. They would start getting their vocals ready and the sounds would make anyone smile. 

My favorite part was watching the dancers get their moves down day in and day out until they were perfect. O.M.P. aka Orchard Manor Posse was legendary to me. Their dance routines were top tier.  I remember the routine to Doo Doo Brown and how they stole the show and had the whole city talking about their moves. 

When Multifest was introduced, my favorite part was the talent portion where every group put their best on the stage in hopes of leaving with the title for that year.

We would walk around in a circle at the Capitol grounds, decked out fresh in our airbrushed outfits and clean Nike Air Forces, just laughing and enjoying the culture of our state. The youth put on their best clothes with outfits they had been planning all summer, while the older folks showed out sometimes in their Sunday best. 

This was the epitome of an era; this was our time to shine.  

I remember rushing to the stage to cheer on our own as soon as the talent portion began.

You could always count on Brenda Wiley to get a group together and make sure they were on point with every performance for Multi Fest talent shows. These kids were dancers from Orchard Manor and LittlePage Housing Projects.

I think I was about 11, it was the early 90’s when I first stepped foot on the stage at Multifest.  That was the moment I knew that maybe this is something I could do. I don’t know why Multifest stopped doing the talent show portion, but it was one of those things that everyone always said they missed. 

Last year, I hosted the first Friday night edition of  “Ladies’ Night,” and being on that stage in front of over 40,000 people with my best friend Rashaun was euphoric. We will be hosting year two of this landmark Multifest event. 

My favorite moment was capturing a vibe that only Multifest could provide with Mr. Isaac Petty dancing with singer Mya — it went viral. The world definitely needs to see what Multifest has to offer. 

I knew I wanted to give the kids coming up a shot to experience Multifest in its originality. 

I’m so excited to announce that  on Thursday, August 3, 2023 Multifest will be showcasing the return of the legendary and historic Talent Night!   

Talent Night is not only for the new, up-and-comers, but it’s for those over 50 years old that think, “I Still Got It.” 

Get ready for a trip back in time, to an era where we’d cheer for familiar faces and discover talent from beyond our borders. But, most importantly, we gather to support those who’ve prepared to shine brightly on center stage. 

Contact Leeshai Lee for more information:

Multifest Talent Show open call for audtions:

Text 681-205-3951 to register

Check out the talent lineup for Multifest at

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