Posts tagged with "black wall street"

Black Wall Street via Big Hassle Media for use by 360 Magazine

Nikara Warren – Black Wall Street

Vibraphonist, composer, arranger, and educator Nikara Warren is excited to announce her debut album Nikara Presents Black Wall Street, due out November 12, 2021. To ring in the announcement, Warren has shared the jazzy, rap-centered single “Run Ricky.”  Stream it on Spotify HERE and Apple Music HERE. Warren has several performances slated through the rest of the year, not least among them the Nikara Presents Black Wall Street album release show at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall (Stage 2) on Saturday, November 13. See below for the full list of upcoming performances.

The granddaughter of towering piano legend Kenny Barron, Warren has labored to solidify the album as a celebration of Black excellence in music, a joyous celebration of cultures, genres, identities, and resilience. While she is an accomplished vibraphonist and a true student of jazz, Warren’s music is an ecstatic celebration of many musical styles, from soul and funk to rock and rap, and everything in between.

Nikara Warren is a true Brooklynite. Born and bred in the eclectic and electric enclave, her family, her friends, her band, and her musical pedigree are a microcosm of the county at large. Her grandfather is world-renowned jazz pianist Kenny Barron, and she’s the daughter of a half Trinidadian soca/dancehall lover father, and a classic 1990s “Brooklyn Round the Way” girl mother. 

“I would wake up hearing Dizzy Gillespie; get in the car with my mom and listen to TLC; be dropped off at school and listen to System of a Down or The Who; play Charles Mingus in band; hear Biggie on the way home, and listen to Trio de Paz or some Brazilian music while eating dinner. Rhythm was always key,” she explains.

Today, Nikara celebrates Black excellence in music with her triumphant debut album, Nikara Presents Black Wall Street, out November 12. The provocative and evocative title commemorates the horrific Tulsa massacre when white mobs in Tulsa, Oklahoma attacked Black residents and their destroyed homes and businesses. It’s a day that has cast a dark shadow on Black achievement, though Nikara prefers to honor her Black ancestries’ splendor with a joyous celebration of cultures, genres, identities, and resilience.

“Back in 2012, when Trayvon Martin was killed, there was a lot happening in the news. I grew up in Brooklyn so it wasn’t uncommon to hear about people being assaulted and killed by cops, but it was uncommon for it to be televised,” Nikara recalls. She continues: “Around this time, I learned about Black Wall Street, and I started to understand the greatness of being Black through music. With my album, I wanted to get across the excellence of our heritage and create something new and modern from the Black Diaspora music culture in the West.”

As a composer, a musician, and an educator, Nikara is reimagining vibes. She is taking the instrument to the people with her infectious compositional sense, her post-modern patchwork of influences and cultural signposts, and her fearless musicality. Her bold quest comes from being well-versed in the vibraphone lineage, but seeking to adventure beyond it. 

Nikara earned a scholarship to the esteemed Berklee College of Music, and she was selected for the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program for original composition in 2013 and 2014. Nikara has performed as a part of SF Jazz’s “Women on The Rise” program, highlighting notable upcoming women in the jazz industry. In addition, Nikara has performed Black Wall Street compositions at NYC Winter Jazz Fest and at The Kennedy Center. 

Nikara grew up with her grandfather in the house, so naturally piano was her first instrument. Around the age of 14 Nikara switched to bass. She first heard vibes being played at the legendary Village Vanguard in her grandpa’s jazz ensemble, featuring the masterful Stefon Harris. Nikara was always a percussive person, and the vibes percussive and melodic capabilities instantly appealed to her. 

Despite her passion for the vibes, Nikara had her sights set on being a music business mogul. She landed a promising job after college, but soon found she craved more creativity than the 9-5 grind offered. In 2012, Nikara started shedding the vibes relentlessly, and by 2015 left her job to dedicate her life to becoming a composer and an artist. That fateful year was the dawn of the Black Wall Street music and artistic perspective. 

All of Nikara’s personal, cultural, familial, and musical journeys converge on Black Wall Street. Here, she explores an abstract sound-collage: hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul, Afro-Latino and Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and more. Her vision is cohesive but eclectic, just like how people’s identities are a product of their various heritages and associations. 

Black Wall Street, the album and the musical vision, has become synonymous with the band, in fact, Nikara performs under the Black Wall Street moniker. The musicians are bonded together mainly by being Brooklynites, and what a Brooklyn upbringing represents in terms of cultural references and musical pedigrees. The album features Nikara Warren on vibes, Kenny Barron on piano, Paul “bae.bro” Wilson on keys, Hailey Niswanger on tenor sax, Stephen “Khemestry” Fowler on trumpet, Parker McAllister on bass, Corey Sanchez on guitar, and David Frazier, Jr. on drums and spd (sampling pad demo). 

The 10-album explores topics of race, gender, body positivity, personal-revelation, and acceptance. These weighty subjects are contextualized within a feel-good sensibility. “There is so much pain associated with the Black experience and within Black music. It was important to me to offset this by expressing joy, and making the music fun,” Nikara notes. 

Select album standouts include “Heather Gray,” featuring Kenny Barron, “Run Ricky,” “Mona Lisa,” featuring Nikara’s sister Be.Be, and “Womb Woes.” “Heather Gray” is the closest thing on the album to a jazz composition. It features an infectious groove and a spare chord change so the players can have fun blowing over it. “Run Ricky” is a politically-charged, dancehall-tinged hip-hop joint with a stinging narrative. The story arc is a modern tragedy of a Black artist unjustly killed by police. “Run Ricky” feels all too real, and it features glowering lines such as: Looked into his pocket they figured his vision/Blood stained fist with an eye drawn on some loose leaf/Photo went viral on Newsweek.

Nikara explores smoldering neo-soul on “Mona Lisa.” This is a love lost ballad of, and it features cinematic lyrics such as: She can never be like me/I’ll give it time for love to end/My solitary cigarette/Is all I have us have/Is this me? The track is sung by Nikara’s younger sister, Be.Be, a promising artist in her own right, and it gets a satiny reworking later on in the record with vocalist Melanie JB Charles. On the ensemble jazz piece, “Womb Woes,” Nikara addresses womanhood, female identity, and gender struggles. The song is made that much more potent by its screaming tenor sax solo courtesy of Hailey Niswanger. 

It took 6 years to realize the vision of Black Wall Street. Nikara says: “It felt like it was important to take my time and get everything right. When it was finished, I remember I was super amped up and screaming in my room listening to it. It felt like it came out so purely with a momentum all its own.” Up next, Nikara is raring to get back in the studio and flex her arrangement chops, possibly on a repertoire of classic R&B.

Art by Kaelen of 360 for use by 360 Magazine

Tidal announces Triumph Over Trauma Special

Today TIDAL, in partnership with influential politico, lawyer and advocate Angela Rye, is announcing the premiere of Triumph Over Trauma: Black Wall Street Then and Now – a one-hour long special commemorating the centennial of one of the worst attacks of racial violence in American history: the Tulsa Race Massacre. The special will premiere on Saturday, June 19 at 6 pm ET to also honor the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the effective end of slavery in the United States.

The Tulsa Race Massacre devastated the prosperous African-American business community in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District known as Black Wall Street and claimed hundreds of lives. Viewers will hear from three living survivors of the massacre – Mother Fletcher, Mother Randle, and Uncle Red – who will discuss memories of Black Wall Street, escaping the night of the massacre, their legacy, and much more. The hour-long special will also feature local politicians, business leaders, Black youth of Tusla, activists, writers, and more reflecting, learning, inspiring, and growing – and most importantly shedding light on untold history.

The special will be broadcast simultaneously on TIDAL’s YouTube channel as well as in-app – both members and non-members alike will be able to view. You can find a preview here.

Highlighting the historical moments that impact society is an integral part of TIDAL’s DNA. By celebrating how integral all voices are to culture and community, TIDAL continues its commitment to providing its members with culture-shifting content.

Juneteenth Image via Rita Azar for use by 360 Magazine

TIDAL x Angela Rye – Triumph Over Trauma

TIDAL, in partnership with influential politico, lawyer and advocate Angela Rye, is announcing the premiere of “Triumph Over Trauma: Black Wall Street Then and Now” – a one-hour long special commemorating the centennial of one of the worst attacks of racial violence in American history: the Tulsa Race Massacre. The special will premiere on Saturday, June 19 at 6 pm ET to also honor the Juneteenth holiday, which celebrates the effective end of slavery in the United States.

The Tulsa Race Massacre devastated the prosperous African-American business community in Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood District known as “Black Wall Street” and claimed hundreds of lives. Viewers will hear from three living survivors of the massacre – Mother Fletcher, Mother Randle, and Uncle Red – who will discuss memories of Black Wall Street, escaping the night of the massacre, their legacy, and much more. The hour-long special will also feature local politicians, business leaders, Black youth of Tusla, activists, writers, and more reflecting, learning, inspiring, and growing – and most importantly shedding light on untold history.

The special will be broadcast simultaneously on TIDAL’s YouTube channel as well as in-app – both members and non-members alike will be able to view. You can find a preview HERE.

Highlighting the historical moments that impact society is an integral part of TIDAL’s DNA. By celebrating how integral all voices are to culture and community, TIDAL continues its commitment to providing its members with culture-shifting content.

Fire in Little Africa illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Fire in Little Africa

FIRE IN LITTLE AFRICA SET FOR MAY 28 RELEASE VIA MOTOWN RECORDS/BLACK FORUM IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE BOB DYLAN CENTER AND WOODY GUTHRIE CENTER

Album Brings Fresh and Important Perspective to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre and Celebrates the City’s Vibrant Hip Hop Scene

Fire in Little Africa a groundbreaking album of original material, written and recorded by a collective of Oklahoma hip hop artists to commemorate the 100-anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre will be released on May 28 by Motown Records/Black Forum in partnership with Tulsa’s Bob Dylan Center and Woody Guthrie Center.

The 21-track collection gets to the truth of what happened on May 31 and June 1, 1921 when a white mob descended on the streets of Greenwood then a prosperous Tulsa neighborhood known as Black Wall Street and burned down the business district, destroying roughly 1,500 homes, killing hundreds and leaving thousands of Black Tulsans homeless. For years, this historic, albeit dire, chapter was left out of classrooms and textbooks as the city attempted to erase this part of its past.The artists heard on Fire in Little Africa get to the truth through urgent songs, recalling stories told and stories lived in hope to usher in a new era for Tulsa as they help the community process this generational trauma through music.

Fire in Little Africa is a powerful and timely project that provides a platform and outlet for the incredibly talented and thriving music community of Tulsa, Oklahoma, said Motown Records Chairman & CEO, Ethiopia Habtemariam. Carrying the legacy of the Black Wall Street community, Fire in Little Africa is a body of work filled with purpose and prolific storytelling. I am honored and feel privileged to have Motown Records/Black Forum partner with Dr. View, the Bob Dylan Center and Guthrie Center to release this impactful hip-hop album.

Stevie, Dr. View, Johnson, PhD, Manager, Education & Diversity Outreach at the Woody Guthrie Center | Bob Dylan Center and the album’s executive producer, added, Fire in Little Africa has evolved into a communal hip hop movement and we’re excited that we get to share the flavor, history and legacy of Black Wall Street with the world, in collaboration with the amazing leadership of the Motown/Black Forum family. We’re grateful for Ethiopia’s foresight in providing us an opportunity to share our important stories with the world. There are Black Wall Streets across the diaspora, and we unequivocally know that Fire in Little Africa will inspire many people. In the words of Steph Simon, everything is us.

In this feature, Rolling Stone noted, Fire in Little Africa is poised to teach the world about that long-suppressed history, from locals who grew up in a community that still lives with the aftermath of the massacre. Just as important, the artists involved in the project also hope it serves as a launching-pad moment for Tulsa’s hip-hop scene, which has long flown under the national radar.

The album was recorded in Greenwood over a five-day period in March 2020. Studios were set up at the Greenwood Cultural Center and other locations, including the former home of 1921 massacre mastermind/KKK leader Tate Brady. The house is now owned by former NFL first-round draft pick and Tulsa native Felix Jones. The Tulsa World was on hand to speak with the artists involved in the historic sessions. Read the article HERE and check out the accompanying video HERE.

Fireside with Dr. View is a weekly podcast featuring Dr. View in conversation with thought leaders in activism, academia and culture, centered on the movement behind the Fire in Little Africa music. Listen to Fireside with Dr. View HERE. Hosts Ali Shaw and Doc Free sit down with Fire in Little Africa artists, Tulsa community leaders and national voices for conversations on music and culture in the Fire in Little Africa podcast, which can be found HERE.

Located in the Tulsa Arts District, the Woody Guthrie Center opened in 2013. The Bob Dylan Center is expected to open on the same block within the next year. Both are projects of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the primary funder for Fire in Little Africa. The album is chronicled in a documentary film, which will be released later this year.

Fire in Little Africa marks the first new material released by Black Forum since the label’s relaunch earlier this year. Black Forum originally debuted in 1970 with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam, which won a GRAMMYAward for Best Spoken Word Album. The label reissued Dr. King’s influential speech earlier this year.

T.I. Launches Tech Cypha

This February, Hip-Hop Entrepreneurs are making black history by advancing the technology industry. Clifford Harris Jr, known as “T.I.,” launches a new syndicated investment vehicle called Tech Cypha with business partner Jason Geter and Brandon “BL” Lewis; son of late great boxing promoter and entrepreneur Butch Lewis. Leveraging technologies such as Airbnb, Lyft and Lime through the eyes of hip-hop culture, the team also launched a Los Angeles-based entertainment startup called Culture Genesis. Together, the new collaborative investment strategy allows high-net-worth individuals to participate in trending tech startup deals.

The strategy evolved when Geter and Harris made their first investment 12 years ago into a company called Streetcred.com, a site that allowed fans to go online and share opinions about street culture. While that first deal didn’t work out, Geter and Harris maintained interest in the technology and startup scene to create opportunities for their networks and promote new businesses.

“We learned a lot,” says Harris. “Now, we know where our demographic is.”

For Geter, that demographic is taking advantage of Atlanta’s surging position as a cultural and technological mecca in the United States. Indeed, Atlanta-area startups raised roughly $1.15 billion in 2018, a record for the region, according to data from PitchBook and the National Venture Capital Association.

“Being in the city of Atlanta and with Georgia Tech producing so much talent, and coming from us being within the hip-hop culture, which is always influencing and promoting things, we saw an opportunity,” says Geter. “In the past, we were always looking through the glass window and looking at ways we can participate earlier. And that’s by coming together to pool our resources so we can invest more.”

Through informed mentorship programs and partnerships, Tech Cypha will include using influencers in various fields. Currently, the syndicate includes Lil Duval, Killer Mike, Tamika ‘Tiny’ Harris, Tai Green, Korey Roberson, Stephanie Shirley, and BJ Kerr among others. As an industry leader, Lewis is known for his talent in branding, marketing and partnership deals.

“Often times, we drive technology like social media and apps, but we are never apart of the ownership,” Lewis continues, “Tech Cypha is going to be an investment vehicle looking for promising, early and late-stage startups to invest capital in, assist with marketing and give branding directions. It’s our way of bridging the gap between the culture and technology.”