Slideshow: 'Jazz in the Gardens' festival takes Florida by storm

SLIDESHOW - The 9th annual Miami Gardens’ Jazz In The Gardens festival began this week and started off with a bang...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Miami Gardens, FL – The 9th annual Miami Gardens’ Jazz In The Gardens festival began this weekend and started off with a bang.

Tens of thousands of people made the pilgrimage to Sun Life Stadium to enjoy the two day music festival. One of the Original Kings of Comedy, D.L. Hughley, welcomed a packed crowd to an evening of R&B and soul music.

After a few local acts warmed the crowd up, saxophonist Boney James took center stage, representing the “jazz” in Jazz In The Gardens.

The Boston musician felt at home weaving in cuts from his latest album, The Beat, while performing some of his more notable classics.

As the temperature finally began to drop in the Miami air, the 90s R&B band Mint Condition were up next as their fans were more than ready to be taken back to the ‘New Jack Swing’ era with “Pretty Brown Eyes” and “Someone to Love.”

theGrio: Jazz In The Gardens music festival promotes cultural fellowship

MSNBC was also on hand to promote their #GrowingHope campaign, which aims to help Americans share their hopes for change around issues that impact their communities. Festival attendees stopped by the news networks’ tent to participate in the effort and to meet some of their favorite on-air talents including, Ed Schultz, Toure and Joy-Ann Reid. TheGrio is owned by MSNBC, a division of NBCUniversal.

Destiny’s Child alumni and Grammy award-winning singer Kelly Rowland was also a big draw for the day. She took the audience through an audio journey and shocked the crowd by bringing rapper Nelly on stage to help perform her first solo hit, “Dilemma.”  The R&B diva ended her act with her sexy slow jam “Motivation.”

Nelly wasn’t the only surprise of the evening. Superstar comedian and actor Kevin Hart made an appearance too. The uproar was deafening as the funnyman introduced the next performer, Trey Songz.

Trey really doesn’t need to do much to get the crowd riled up. The Virginia native’s catalog of hits speaks for itself, as the audience sang along to “Say Ahh” and “Can’t Help But Wait.” He debuted his version of Young Thug’s breakout hit “I’m A Stoner” for the hip-hop fans.

Closing out the night was headliner Jamie Foxx. The Academy Award winning actor and musician is currently having one the best years of his career, starring as the villain in this year’s Spider-Man movie and as the male lead in the musical remake of Annie. The crowd was beyond ready to hear “Gold Digger,” “Blame It,” and of course “Unpredictable.”

Day two of the festival will feature another set of familiar names including LL Cool J, MAZE, and Anthony Hamilton.

For the latest music news, follow Kyle Harvey on Twitter at @HarveyWins