From Raynold Culmer taking a knee onstage to propose to his girlfriend (now fiancée) Eddia Thompson during Ashanti’s set in front of a full house in the Imperial Ballroom at the Atlantis resort and Ashanti and Robin Thicke paying homage to The Bahamas rocking flag colors for their performance, the Atlantis’ Music Making Waves concert series certainly made waves.
Despite an uncharacteristically two-hour late start, Ashanti and Thicke more than made up for it with their performances, albeit by the time Thicke’s performance was winding down he had lost quite a bit of the audience due to the lateness of the hour.
Ashanti took to the stage to an intro video, rocking an aqua bodysuit at 11:25 p.m. The GRAMMY Award winning singer opened her 16-song set with “Happy” featuring Ja Rule which brought the audience to its feet, and for 45-minutes belted out single after crowd-pleasing single to the delight of fans – “Rock Wit U (Awww Baby)”, “Only U”, “The Way That I Love You”, “The Woman You Love featuring Busta Rhymes”, “Rain on Me”, “Baby”, “Down 4 U with Ja Rule, Vita and Charli Baltimore”, Fat Joe’s “What’s Luv?” on which she is featured, Ja Rule’s “Mesmerize” on which she is featured, Fabolous’ “So Into You” on which she’s featured, Lloyd’s “Southside” on which she is featured, Nelly’s “Body On Me” on which she is featured with Akon, “Ain’t It Funny”, Ja Rule’s “Always On Time”, “Foolish” and she closed with “Unfoolish.”
Early on in her performance, she stopped her performance to call for “Ray Ray” to take the stage, which he did, and then she called for Eddia, who also took the stage, only to be surprised when “Ray Ray” went down on one knee to propose.
A stunned Eddia, shed happy tears off course, but emphatically took the microphone and accepted the proposal.
It’s one of those proposal stories that will go down in history and someone knowing the right person and the moon and stars aligning.
Culmer has been trying to propose to Thompson for at least a year, but everything he has tried the plan failed he said because of COVID and restrictions on large gatherings.
Knowing that Ashanti is Thompson’s favorite artist, he made plans to take her to the show and hoped to just be able to get her a picture with the artist. At the same token, he had the thought that if he could get the chance to propose to her at the show that it would be the icing on the cake and put his proposal over the top.
“I just wanted to make that moment special and memorable for her,” said Thompson. “Just getting a picture would have been enough, but getting to propose would have put it over the top.”
And just how did he score?
“It was one of those things when timing was on my side,” he said.
“[American rapper] Meek Mill is a friend of mine and he reached out to Ashanti.”
Culmer said Meek Mill did not reach out to him until Ashanti was already onstage. So, he did not have anything planned. He just knew if he got the opportunity that he would grab it and run with it. And it all lined up. He was able to propose to Thompson during Ashanti’s performance.
“I winged my proposal speech,” he said.
He wanted Thompson to have support from her close friends and family if the moment materialized, but also had to take into account his then girlfriend’s “inquisitive mind” which meant only certain people were able to be there to watch it unfold. He said she was just excited to go to the concert.
“A lot of support was there. I made sure all of her friends and cousins were there that would attend the show. Her parents, Edwin and Timolin Thompson were supportive, but if they had come, she [Eddia] would have known something was going to happen.”
The evening was made even extra special for Thompson when the couple was invited backstage to Ashanti’s dressing room and they got to chat with her.
Culmer said he had no problems proposing so publicly. Culmer said Thompson has started her wedding calendar and trying to figure out what to do for their wedding. Thompson even got to take a picture with her favorite artist.
As that amazing moment unfolded, the Atlantis Music Making Waves concert series was making waves.
It took approximately 40 minutes after Ashanti left the stage to the man of soul taking the stage with his 14-song set list. He opened with “When I Get You Alone” and then sprinkled a little “Magic” which got the fans to their feet and swaying. The audience totally lost it when they heard the opening cords to “Lost Without U.”
Thicke ran through with Lil Wayne’s “Shooter” on which he’s featured,
“Teach you a lesson”, “Wanna Love You Girl” with Pharrell, offered a little “Sex Therapy” along with “The Sweetest Love”, “That’s What Love Can Do”, “Take Me Higher”. He closed with his 2013 single “Blurred Lines”, one of the best-selling singles of all time featuring T.I. and Pharrell.
Of course, the crooner interspersed his music with some classics – Bill Withers’ “Just The Two Of Us”, Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover” and Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” for good measure.
Unfortunately, due to the lateness of the hour, with Thicke winding up in the wee morning hours around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, he had lost a good chunk of his audience.
Prior to taking to the stage, the crooner had said that one thing that would be memorable about his Atlantis performance would be the show. It certainly was. Despite the threat of inclement weather forcing the concert indoors, the cancellation of the concert village and the show’s late start, the Ashanti and Robin Thicke concert was one for the ages for their fans.
Atlantis is set to follow up Ashanti and Thicke’s performances with a rescheduled Sheryl Crow performance today, which will be followed by the resort’s first Country Week featuring GRAMMY Award-winning Little Big Town and multi-platinum selling artist Jake Owen in August.
Owen kicks off Country Week on Saturday, August 20, which will be book-ended by Little Big Town on August 27 at Casaurina Beach.
The two performances are expected to feature a mix of the artists’ biggest hits and newer chart-toppers.
Guests can expect to hear a mix of classic hits and some of Owen’s newest songs, including “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” “I Was Jack (You Were Diane),” “Made for You,” and “Best Thing Since Backroads.” The show begins at 8 p.m.
From Little Big Town, guests can expect to hear a mix of classic hits and newer music, including “Boondocks,” “Little White Church,” “Girl Crush,” “Better Man,” and “Wine, Beer, Whiskey.”
Little Big Town will close out Country Week with its performance on Casuarina Beach at 9:30 p.m.
“Little Big Town is one of the most exciting country bands touring,” said Jason Spencer, Atlantis vice president of on-island marketing and events.
“Their live show is amazing and they have super passionate fan base which fits them perfectly as one of the two headlining acts for our Country Week. We were fortunate to partner with Jake Owen, another amazing country artist, on a national (United States) touring promotion which allowed him to kick off our Country Week. He is undoubtedly an incredible talent that is making his mark on the industry as well. We could not ask for two better headlining acts.”
During Country Week guests will be able to participate in various country-themed culinary, beverage, and entertainment experiences. Offerings will include country karaoke at The Coral, line dancing events, country brunch at Poseidon’s Table, BBQ and Beers night at Pirate Republic, Texas Cowboy Happy Hour at The Point, cowboy-themed dishes at Seafire Steakhouse, and cocktail specials at Sea Glass, Moon Bar, Plato’s, Seafire, The Point and Sun & Ice Lounge.
The resort will also offer country-themed movies at the Atlantis theater and endless activities for the younger set.
“We pride ourselves on continuing this legacy by offering unique and unrivaled entertainment each and every year at our resort,” Spencer previously told The Nassau Guardian. “This year is no different with our Music Making Waves concert series. Continuing to bring this level of talent year after year means that we are not only living up to our high entertainment standard but also setting the tone for the island that we will constantly elevate our experience.”
Part proceeds from the concert Music Making Waves concert series and the pre-concert village supports The Blue Project Foundation. He said at Atlantis, they are proud that they have been able to raise awareness and financial support for the Blue Project Foundation.
“Guests should be proud to know that by just purchasing a ticket to a Music Making Waves concerts, that they are making a positive difference for marine life. The Blue Project Foundation also has a huge presence and activation area in our concert village. This allows guests to further understand the conservation efforts of The Blue Project Foundation and what they can do to further help the cause,” said Spencer.