Anthony Hamilton rocks Frenchtown Rising

By Imani Thomas

Special to the Outlook

FAMU’s homecoming celebration was bill as the “Epic Return.” It was just that, starting with R&B superstar Anthony Hamilton’s performance at Frenchtown Rising.

During his appearance at the event, which was a prelude to every FAMU home game, Hamilton didn’t disappoint. His repertoire included some of his best-known hit like “Charlene,” and “The Point of it All.”

The Frenchtown event is a production of the Mt. Olive Housing & Community Development Corporation. Each Friday night that it was held Frenchtown Rising drew thousands to the historic Black district that sits in the center of Tallahassee.

Frenchtown Rising was started to help revitalize the community, which once flourished as a hub of activity. The area between Tennessee and Tharpe streets was known for its commerce, and other business developments.

It was also a connector to FAMU for residents of the area.

During the Friday night events, Macomb Street between Virginia and Georgia streets were transformed into an entertainment and business venue.  It has grown to become the largest attraction annually in the historically Black district. 

Even with student housing developments sprouting in areas of Frenchtown, the historic nature of what was one the epicenters of Black culture, heritage and community in Tallahassee has a unique draw to those who know the greatness of the area for decades.

Laurise Thomas, executive director of Frenchtown Rising, set out to make the event a hit. Since taking the position this year, she has supplemented the local acts with national recording artists. Prior to Hamilton’s performance, SWV, Adina Howard, JT Money, and other national recording artists performed at Frenchtown Rising.

“Anthony Hamilton was a person for the young and the old,” Thomas said. “His rhythmic and soulful music is universal and uplifting. When you are bringing in an artist to headline a festival of this magnitude, you want an artist who understands the culture, but also has great music.”

Hamilton was excited to perform for the community.

“I always try to find ways to give back to others,” he said. “I tell my children that all the time (and) I had the opportunity to do that with Frenchtown Rising.”

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