By Ava-joye Burnett

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Performer El DeBarge talked about his impact on a new generation of young music lovers following an energetic performance that reflected his vast experience as a musician.

He also discussed with WJZ’s Ava-Joye Burnett his hopes for the future and his thoughts on Father’s Day. WJZ is the official TV partner of AFRAM. The festival was held at Druid Hill Park over the weekend.

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The two-day festival celebrating African-American culture coincides with Juneteenth, the commemoration of the emancipation of enslaved African-Americans in 1865 that officially became a federal holiday last year.

El DeBarge is known for many famous songs, including Rhythm of the Night. Burnett noted that multiple artists had sampled his work.

“I’m reaching a new generation,” he said. “I hear people like 9, 10 years old [are listening to] my music and I think: wow, what a blessing. Thank you, God. And thank you to the mothers and fathers who pass the music on to their children.”

Mayor Brandon Scott participated in the interview and spoke about how great it was to see DeBarge participating in the festival.

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“Sunday is normally what we call Old Heads Day. But today, you saw a mixture of folks out there young and old singing his music,” Scott said.

DeBarge said Baltimoreans showed him an abundance of love and energy when he was out on the stage.

“Even through the technical problems that I have, you wouldn’t know that I had them,” DeBarge said. “They were just giving me love, love, love, love. I’ve got the best fans in the world.”

The musician took a moment on Father’s Day to urge fellow fathers to grow their relationship with their children through good times and bad times..

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“Don’t give up on them. keep praying for them,” he said. “Don’t be too hard on them. Give them some love.”

Ava-joye Burnett