Wilmington’s Jamila Mustafa personifies power, spirit of Ladybug Festival

Jamila Mustafa, host of the digital Ladybug Festival, in the show's video by Jet Phynx.

Jamila Mustafa, host of the digital Ladybug Festival, in the show’s video by Jet Phynx.

The whirlwind of energy that is Jamila Mustafa soon will be pulsating from a screen near you as the MTV host and former Miss DSU emcees the first online Ladybug Music Festival.

The two-night live-stream concert kicks off Monday, June 29.

Mustafa has been COVID-19 quarantining in Wilmington, taping her MTV show from home and working on other projects. Along the way, she reconnected by text with Jet Phynx of Wilmington.

His Jet Phynx Films Creative Agency has been working with the all-women festival to maximize its oomph.

 

The Delaware-born event has drawn national attention for featuring all women at a time when men continue to dominate marquees in the concert world.

Begun as an adjunct to the massive Firefly concert in Dover — and named for Delaware’s state bug — the festival grew from a few shows to a full-fledged happening with many acts over a two-night event in Wilmington and two-day event in Milford.

Related: 2 weeks. 4 shows. Nirvana for Delaware’s live music fans

With the advent of social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, the festival is going online Monday, June 29, and Tuesday, June 30, with more than 50 artists from around the country, including Larkin Poe from Nashville, Tennessee; K.T. Tunstall from Los Angeles; and Vanessa Carleton of Nashville and New York City.

Jamila Mustafa was Miss Delaware State University from 2014-2015.

 

“Jet Phynx has really proven to be a magic formula to share the largest celebration of women in music,” said Gayle Dillman, co-founder of Gable Music Ventures LLC and organizer of the festival.

Mustafa will be the face of the show, lending her signature energy to the introductions and more.

“Jamila is absolutely brilliant,” said Jeremy Hebble, co-founder of Gable Music. “We knew if we were moving this into a video format we needed a host with experience in front of a camera.

“Not only is she from Delaware but she is considered one of the most influential millennials in the world. She offered to not only host but come on board as a brand ambassador and as a creative director. Her support has been invaluable for us, and it wouldn’t have been possible without Jet Phynx Films.”

“I was all in,” Jamila said about joining the festival. “It’s the real thing. I’m from Wilmington. I’m here in Wilmington. It was connecting the dots. About a week into the project, I discovered that I could serve in a larger capacity and they can use my expertise.”

She has taped introductions for acts and other pieces to allow the show to move as freely seamlessly as possible.

“I want you to enjoy it every single time when I pop up on screen,” she said. “Even though I’m taping it a week before, you’re going to think I’m live.”

She’s also working on the details of her own production company — which recently produced the online graduation of historically black Bennett College in  Greensboro, North Carolina, for which she was the youngest-ever commencement speaker.

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She’s also shot episodes of an original series and is awaiting word about other projects.
 
Mustafa says she found being forced to stay at home energizing.
 
“Quarantine didn’t slow me down,” she said. “It turned me up. It’s been amazing. Believe it or not, I’ve worked more and made more money in quarantine. It’s been nonstop.”
 
Her world – like many people’s – seemed to stop in March for two weeks as the country shut down, and then she was back to taping her MTV show from home, working with Bennett College and more.

She is particularly pleased to be involved with the Ladybug Festival, an event that focuses on women’s creative contributions.

“Women need a spotlight experience,” she said. “Even if it’s virtual, I think we need to provide this service to our community.”

She taped a video promo with Phynx in which she’s dressed like vintage Janet Jackson. He asked her to dance and in the video, you see her cut loose.

“It was about 100 degrees in the studio and I had on so many layers of black clothing,” she said. “He said, ‘Free style.” and I just started dancing. Just being in the moment.” However, she said, “I won’t be doing any more Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation moves.”

Mustafa is looking forward to seeing how the Ladybug broadcast will be pieced together.

“I’ve done the VMAs and the BET Awards,” she said. “I’ve been there. I’ve done that. There are dress rehearsals all day long leading up to the shows. But for this show, there are no dress rehearsals. And it only takes one thing for things not to work.”

She’s pleased Gable Music pushed on with the show instead of skipping it this year.

“It’s about the quality of the content,” she said. “I’m looking forward to seeing quality content.

“It’s really exciting to be involved and I’m really excited to bring it to my hometown.”

Tickets can be purchased at theladybugfestival.com for $20.


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Betsy Price

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