Update: Grammy winner Monica will not sing at Bimbé festival, Durham Parks now says


Update: Despite confirming Friday that Grammy Award winning artist Monica would headline Saturday’s Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival, Durham Parks and Recreation said Saturday that she would not appear, blaming the confusion on its booking agent.

“We have a contract,” Beverly Thompson, communications director for the city, said shortly before 6:45 p.m. Friday. “We have confirmed with her people that she will be here.”

The singer’s “soulful voice and chart-topping hits” had been promoted by the city this week as a top attraction at Bimbé, a free festival that digital content producer Kyesha Jennings said typically attracts 5,000 to 9,000 people.

The singer’s social media pages, including Facebook and Instagram, said “The Boy Is Mine” singer would not be performing in Durham.

“I was never contacted or booked for the Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival. I will NOT be there,” the post stated.

A publicist sent out a news release Friday afternoon to reiterate that message.

But Thompson said the singer’s team had assured the city she would be performing in Durham. Monica did not post the social media message herself, Thompson added, saying, “We’re told someone hacked her account.”

Saturday morning, Durham Parks and Rec announced that the singer would not appear at the festival.

“We regret to inform you that, due to circumstances beyond our control, Monica will not be attending Bimbé as previously announced,” the department said on its website. “Working with a booking agent, whom we’ve worked with and trusted for years, we have been under the impression since January 19, 2024 and then reaffirmed again on February 9, 2024 that arrangements had been secured for the singer to appear.

“We are deeply disappointed with this turn of events and are working fervently to determine how this happened.”

Chart-topping duet with Brandy

Monica began performing at age 12 and is the youngest female to have back-to-back No. 1 hits on Billboard’s R&B chart, both from her 1995 debut album “Miss Thang,” according to her website.

She is best known for her second album, “The Boy Is Mine,” featuring the chart-topping duet of the same name with singer Brandy from 1998.

The album went triple platinum with 3 million copies sold and made The Guardian’s list of “1,000 albums to hear before you die.” The Guardian said it “set the template for 21st century soul.”

Bimbé is scheduled for 1 to 7 p.m. in Rock Quarry Park, at 701 Stadium Drive. The event is rain or shine.