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Ashanti to headline the 2024 Gem City R&B Kickback

Ashanti will perform at the Gem City R&B Kickback, Vol. 2, along with Adina Howard, 112, and Changing Faces.
Ashanti in 2022. Her eponymous debut record, released in 2002, earned three platinum certifications and as many Grammy nominations.

On Friday, February 23rd, a distinguished lineup of R&B artists will perform at the Gem City R&B Kickback, Vol. 2, an annual concert presented at the Schuster Center by Michael Wright, Esq. and Tommy Owens. Grammy Award-winning singer Ashanti will headline the show, with additional performances by Adina Howard, 112, and Changing Faces.

Two organizers of the R&B Kickback, Tommy Owens and Eman Jones, joined WYSO Music Director Juliet Fromholt on Kaleidoscope to discuss the upcoming concert. According to Jones, a rapper based in Dayton, concerts like the Gem City R&B Kickback are just one way in which promoters Owens and Michael Wright have fostered Dayton’s musical community. In addition to bringing nationally-acclaimed artists like Ashanti to the city, Owens and Wright have also helped promising local artists find a broader audience; the duo even landed Jones his first professional performance.

“Tommy Owens and Michael Wright do a lot of great things in the city. One of the best things that they do in the community is to always provide us with great entertainment. They've been doing it for years and we really appreciate it. At the Schuster Center, this is another knockout that they got coming. Tommy Owens also gave me my first show ever, so I'm always going to be grateful.”

Owens, who also hosts the long-running Family Affair Talent Show in Dayton, said that the city deserves a bigger spot on the national music stage. “Eman should be all over MTV and BET right now because he's one of the baddest artists in the country,” he told Juliet. Often, he added, it’s up to community and business leaders to sponsor culturally significant art. “It's very important that we give back to our community,” he said. “If you've been blessed, you have to bless others. That's our motto.”

For tickets and additional information about the Gem City R&B Kickback, Vol. 2 visit DaytonLive.org.

Text by Peter Day, adapted from a live interview recorded by Juliet Fromholt on February 7, 2024.

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Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.