The iconic Hearst Estate was the place to be on Thursday, May 12th, as Rolling Stone and Meta were joined by a veritable who’s who of social media stardom. The mansion’s sprawling grounds and dazzling peach façade set the stage for a celebration of the magazine’s inaugural Creators Issue and the digital tastemakers that graced the pages of the special edition.
DJ Adi Oasis set the tone early, running through a smooth set of R&B and soul classics as attendees filed in, and creators like actress Brittney Elena and Saudi Arabian model Roz made grand entrances on the black carpet. The aforementioned were two of many standout names on a star-studded guest list including comedy connoisseur Adam W, multi-hyphenate creator Josh Richards, and Bella Poarch, the Navy vet-turned-artist who featured on a special Meta-sponsored bonus cover that was published alongside the magazine’s special issue. Rolling Stone CEO Gus Wenner was ecstatic while discussing the landmark event and its implications for the future of the brand. “Creators are amongst the biggest stories of our times, and their cultural importance will only continue to grow. Tonight’s event was a testament to our commitment to celebrate the most interesting and impactful personalities in the ever expanding creator community.”
Across the grounds, there was no shortage of experiences to jog the collective imagination of attendees who were as eager to post as they were to party. Chief among them was a 360-degree Reels video booth that gave enthused creators the chance to inspire some feed-induced FOMO.
Complete with a money gun (a not-so-subtle nod to Creators Issue cover star Mr. Beast and his wads of philanthropic cash), attendees flaunted their best dance moves and struck their most alluring poses while making it rain across the social feeds of their engaged communities.
The crowd of LA cool kids bounced from corner to corner until DJ Kal Banx got on the mic to focus its attention—it was time for his friend and collaborator Doechii to step into the limelight. The Tampa-bred rapper commanded the stage and her audience, delivering a tight but blistering set of tracks, including her 2020 breakout record “Yucky Blucky Fruitcake” and “Crazy,” her first release after signing to hip-hop super label TDE.
Her cadences, melodies, and choreography piqued the crowd’s interest before she jumped into her newly released single, “Persuasive,” a song the social-savvy crowd had surely heard before. “Shoutout to the most trending song on Instagram Reels right now!” she proclaimed before kicking off the record and capping the performance with an impromptu dance display alongside creator, artist, and superfan Tray Taylor.
Their collaborative effort was only the first of many surprises in store. The excitement across the lawn elevated as the evening charged onward. Creators commemorated the affair on their iPhones, and conversations grew more spirited before the audience once again surrendered its collective gaze. This time, the captor was none other than The Dance Cartel, Ani Taj’s dynamic dance company that specializes in seizing the moment.
An electronic version of Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman” blared across the party, signaling their arrival. On cue, a collection of black and neon-clad dancers sauntered through the crowd from every direction before triumphantly claiming their places on the balcony overlooking the lush backyard. Once positioned, the troupe launched into a mini routine that harkened back to the early 2000’s flash mob.
After a brief intermission, the room’s focus shifted to the center pool, where a DJ deck perched atop a plexiglass dance floor had, until then, remained unmanned. That all changed once DJ Pee.Wee, Anderson .Paak’s vinyl-spinning alter ego, stepped to the decks.
He did so in magnificent fashion, donning a shimmering green two-piece short suit, his signature shades, and the 70’s bob wig that’s become a staple for the Grammy-winning multi-hyphenate since joining forces with his Silk Sonic running mate Bruno Mars. Pee. Wee’s arrival on stage was met with triumphant applause, making it clear that, despite his efforts, his star power was too bright to be veiled by the retro camouflage.
Pee.Wee impressed with a set that spanned genres and decades, cueing tracks like “Before I Let Go” that coerced those in the know into a laid-back electric slide on the poolside dance floor. In spare moments, Pee.Wee couldn’t help but get on the mic to layer in the soulful rasp of his voice, a welcome addition to songs like .Paak’s Malibu standout “Come Down” that blew the top off the exuberant crowd.
The magic of the evening could be felt across the famed grounds of the Hearst Estate. And though the crowd was full of creators who post as a trade, ironically, that magic couldn’t be duplicated in even the most expertly curated Instagram Story. Simply put, you just had to be there.