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Friday, August 19, 2022

Thousands attend Black History Month concert featuring Roddy Ricch and Joy Oladokun

The roughly two-hour-long show drew a crowd of nearly 3,000

Roddy Ricch performs at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Student Government Productions coordinated the performance to kick off Black History Month.
Roddy Ricch performs at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Student Government Productions coordinated the performance to kick off Black History Month.

Thousands poured into the O’Connell Center to see hip-hop artist Roddy Ricch and opening act Joy Oladokun Tuesday evening. 

Tickets were originally offered exclusively to UF students and went on sale Jan. 25. Roughly 3,000 people were expected to attend, and all 700 pit tickets sold out on the first day of sales, said Student Government Productions Chairman Jake Siegel. The show’s capacity was 6,500, according to the performers’ contract. 

SGP did not have updated information on how many tickets were sold to students or the general public as of Tuesday.

Ricch performed as part of a Black History Month celebration with indie folk-singer Joy Oladokun.

“We do this every year,” Siegel said. “This is an annual event for us to celebrate Black History Month with a Black artist. You know, hoping to continue to do it in the future and beyond.”

Ricch joins other hip hop artists who have performed at the university including Gunna, who performed during Fall, and Tory Lanez, who also performed for Black History Month in 2020. 

Mikayla Johnson, a 20-year-old UF biology junior, bought tickets on the second day of sales and spent almost no time in line, she said.

“Black people are definitely the minority here,” Johnson said. “To have these big, Black artists be the headline for the show is pretty cool.”

Concert-goers watch Roddy Ricch perform at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

Ricch was paid $350,000 for the concert, according to a contract, in comparison to $91,500 for Lanez. The show follows the SG-hosted Gator Gala, which celebrated the class of 2023 with food and music, costing approximately $19,500, according to SARs submitted by SG. 

Some students waited in line for the concert from 5 p.m. until doors opened at 6:15 p.m. — 15 minutes after the scheduled time. 

Juan Batista, a Williston resident, drove 45 minutes to see Ricch perform after hearing the concert opened to the general public Feb. 2, he said. 

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The stadium filled with cheers as lights dimmed and Ricch began his set at about 8:24 p.m. He followed a roughly 30-minute performance by Oladokun who joked about smoking, The Muppets, heartbreak and politics in between her songs. 

As Ricch climbed the stage stairs, a drummer struck beats as a guitarist played chords and white lights illuminated his 5-foot-8-inch figure, much to the audience’s delight. A projector flashed effects like smoke and flames, which were mixed with videos of the crowd. 

Ricch kicked off his performance with “Every Season,” featuring other hits like “Ballin'” and “Down Below,” which were met with bursts of energy from the crowd and even mosh pits at certain points in the night. 

After he finished rapping his song “The Box,” which has over a billion streams on Spotify, Ricch left the stage only to return about a minute later. 

The beat shook the O’Connell Center again, and Ricch urged fans to flood the pit for an encore performance of the song — they did.

Audience members quickly overstepped University Police Department and O’Connell Security staff’s attempts to block the crowded pit, which dissolved as fast as it formed for the final song. 

By 9:15 p.m., lights in the arena had been turned on, and students began to leave. 

Siegel said SGP is in the process of planning another event for Mar. 30.

Contact Maia Botek Contact her on Twitter @BotekMaia.

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Maia Botek

Maia Botek is a third-year journalism major and Spanish minor covering student government this semester. Maia is from South Florida and enjoys the beach, spending time with her friends and learning about the environment in her free time.

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