Ty Dolla $ign lights up Riviera Theatre for A&O Ball

Amy Li, Reporter

At A&O Ball on Friday, Ty Dolla $ign asked hundreds of students to “put your (phone) light on if you don’t have an STD.”

“You heard what I said,” Ty Dolla $ign added after seeing the puzzled faces in the crowd. Still, once the confusion subsided, hundreds of students turned their flashlights on, held up their phones and lit up the Riviera Theatre in Chicago.

A&O and For Members Only collaborated to host Ball for the third year in a row. The concert included performances by hip-hop artists Ty Dolla $ign and Lil B and DJ A-Trak. Northwestern artist collective DIAL UP performed between sets as well.

DIAL UP quickly turned up the energy in the venue, opening with an original audio sample from “Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1” by Kanye West before performing renditions of hit songs including “Look Alive” by BlocBoy JB, “T-Shirt” by Migos and “American Boy” by Estelle.

Continuing to pick up the heat, Lil B performed “Ellen Degeneres” to get the whole crowd feeling “swag” like he raps in the song.

Afterward, students jumped up and down, swinging their hands in the air to the electric beats of A-Trak, which included a mix of West’s hit rap song “Fade.”

Ty Dolla $ign was the last artist to hit the stage with fiery performances of “Blasé,” “Ex” and a cover of “Worth It” by Fifth Harmony.

McCormick freshman Paul Brown said the concert was especially memorable because he went with his friends. The best part of his experience, he said, was “getting tossed around” in the crowded mosh pit.

Despite the overflow of people during Ty Dolla $ign’s performance, the tight crowd managed to form a circle around students who showed off their individual dance skills.

A&O co-chair Louisa Wyatt said she felt the concert went very smoothly, especially considering this is the first time the group has hosted three acts in a single show.

The Medill senior said A&O continued implementing measures this spring to increase accessibility and inclusion, such as the incorporation of an ASL interpreter and sponsorships from KIND and Boxed Water to provide students with free snack bars and drinks both during and after the concert.

A&O and FMO also displayed a statement insisting that non-black audience members omit the N-word from their vocabulary.

SESP senior Michelle Sanders, former vice coordinator of programming for FMO, said the collaboration with A&O was an opportunity both to reach out to audiences outside of the black community and promote an environment where all students can feel safe during the concert.

“We were making sure that people know the implications of not being black and using the N-word,” Sanders said.

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