It was 7:13pm and I was basically running down New Orleans' Poydras Street toward the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Tink was set to hit Essence Fest's "Hip-Hop Superlounge" stage at 7:30pm. After recently falling in love with a handful of her songs, I wasn't going to miss seeing her in such an intimate setting.
Tink, née Trinity Home, took the stage just after 7:30 and the on-the-rise rapper-slash-singer's energy was on another level. The crowd could tell she was genuinely excited to be making her Essence Fest debut. We were excited, too!
After an electrifying intro that got the crowd bopping, Tink told everyone to "put your twos up," in tribute to late R&B singer Aaliyah. It was a perfect segue into Tink's Aaliyah-sampling single "Million," but something wasn't right. The volume of the Aaliyah "One In a Million" sample track sputtered in and out. The live musicians backing Tink couldn't drown out the glitch.
Initially, Tink was steadfast in continuing the show, transparent about the technical difficulties, trying to assure us (and maybe herself?) it wouldn't ruin the show. The sound issue persisted, however, and eventually the once-excited Tink became frustrated and left the stage. I'm not totally sure if she got emotional, but if she was, who would blame her?
Her band kept playing, mostly improvising. After a few minutes people starting to wonder if she just wasn't going to come back. Then she did come back, and better than before.
Hitting the stage to attempt "Million" once again, the audio was fixed and Tink sounded glorious and self-assured. It was as if the glitch never happened. Tink was back, both physically and figuratively. She confidently ran through a handful of her well-known songs that have garnered her more and more fans over the past couple years
As Tink closed her set with the introspective, acoustic guitar-driven "Treat Me Like Somebody," the audience collectively squealed. The lyrics are about searching for a partner who respects and values you, but in reality you probably won't find that someone are until you love and accept yourself.
A theme in a lot of Tink's music is knowing your self-worth, especially as a woman. It's not just a trendy topic for her to sing or rap about–She believes it and is part of that much-needed voice in R&B and hip-hop music right now. Tink could have let the technical difficulties be her demise Saturday night. Instead she returned to the stage and owned it, showing exactly the kind of person and artist she is. I'm proud to be a fan.