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Linda Obasi, longtime Bronx resident, held a show Friday, June 20, at Wish 37 on Bruckner Boulevard. The event was met with applause by bar patrons, and those who came out to support the performers and Obasi, she’s known on the music scene as Aunna Fu.

In direct contrast to the rap centric borough- Bronx-the show was held across the street from the soon-to-be National Hip-Hop museum. As if in protest, the performers played their music loud and proud until 12 a.m. when the show was scheduled to end. Despite two performers cancelling before the show due to what Obasi described as, “personal reasons.”

Some were there to watch the show and brought tickets or cash. Most attendees were bar patrons who had come for a drink and ended up being in the middle of a rock show. By the end of the night everyone, drunk or not, were loudly cheering and clapping for the performers. One unidentified man even went up to the mic while Damsel’s Ionna sung to sing along.

The night seemed to surpassed Obasi’s (Aunna Fu) expectations who spent two months organizing the event and carrying the weight of its success on her shoulders.

Linda, is an Igbo, Nigerian who gained a love for rock music during her time growing up in a Pennsylvanian suburb as a little girl. When she moved to the Bronx as a teenager and was surrounded by rap; after coming back from college she decided to share her love of rock with the people of the Bronx.

“I like rock music and I live in the Bronx. I want more rock music in the Bronx…I wanted to change that instead of complaining,” she said. This caused her to start organizing a show in the Bronx for rock performers, which became Bronxstock. “I said, ‘will you play in the Bronx?'” said Linda about how she gathered performers.

She used the internet, posting Craigslist Ads and actively searching out the websites of performers. With all of them she listened to their music and personally asked them to performing at her show. She chose nine performers based on picking “anybody who sounded good.”

Only six bands performed, and it was enough to keep the mostly Hispanic crowd mixed in with supporters of the show entertained. Aunna Fu & Jessica Carmona began the show with a cover of “Imagine” by John Lennon. All the other songs performed by the artists were original. Obasi went into the show with expectations, but is no stranger to banking it all on an artistic vision.

Her Nigerian family, intended on her to pursue a high-paying profession and convinced her to study pre-med at Cornell. “They only want their children to be doctors, lawyers, and engineers. So I picked one of the three,” said Obasi. She soon realized she didn’t like it and switched her major to film with a minor in music, eventually receiving her MFA in acting from DePaul University. After finishing her degrees, she moved back to the Bronx, taking work as a substitute teacher while pursuing her creative interests, which has been hard for her.

“I have a hard time paying my rent,” she said, but pursuing a career in the arts was something she simply “can’t NOT do.”

The variety of unsigned acts at the show were well received and at varying levels of loud contributing to its success from Michael Golden, a former Bronx resident as a child and car crash survivor, who used an acoustic guitar coupled with his soft vocals to Leeds Point, a Long Island based band, and their metal inspired sound.

Linda is not convinced that her African roots directly influenced the rock music she plays, but she does enjoy a style of music called Afro-Pop.

She believes that young Africans are fans of Hip-Hop or R&B music and that it was the music she grew up listening to in the suburbs that developed her musical interests and sensibilities. She does have hope that Bronxstock will be important for other young Africans in becoming interested in rock music, something she never had.

“I think young African people who go to Bronxstock will like it…more than their parents,” said Obasi. Africans who appreciate rock music will hopefully follow Linda’s examples and campaign for more rock music in the Bronx, which is known as being the birthplace of Hip-Hop, but loses to Brooklyn and Manhattan in terms of rock venues in the modern day as Linda says, “I wanted to hear it here…everytime I want to hear live music I have to commute to Manhattan or Brooklyn.”

Perhaps with Bronxstock this will no longer be necessary and a new generation of African youth in the diaspora will gain a new appreciation for rock music and even one day attend or take part in similar music shows in their borough.

Performers that night included Jessica Carmona & Aunna Fu, Jeannine Johnson, RiN, Michael Golden, West, Leeds Point, and Damsel.

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