One of the most anticipated debut R&B albums of the past year,Emanuel’s full-length projectALT THERAPYhas been unveiled to the world today via Motown Records & Universal Music Canada.
Before the world experienced moments of great upheaval and change this past year, an unknown new artist in Canada, a son of Ethiopian immigrants, had unknowingly written music that was prophetic to the times. His debut single, the emotionally stirring“Need You”, was released as the global pandemic struck, resonating with people around the world who were forced into isolation. Months later, when the brutal killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Trayvon Martin sparked a worldwide reckoning of systemic racism and racial inequality,Emanuel offered“Black Woman”to the world – his moving ode of reconciliation that honors the majesty of Black women. Last month, as vaccines were distributed and possibility began to take the shape of reality,Emanuelshared his prayer for the future with the release of“Worldwide”. Now, during the week of Juneteenth and one year after the release of his debut EPSession 1: Disillusion,Emanuelcelebrates freedom, growth and love withALT THERAPY, his full-length contribution to the“renaissance of beautiful black art in the world.”
ALT THERAPYis a journey. A narrative of discovering a deep self-awareness and celebrating personal growth,Emanuel’sdebut album is the testament of a young man in the process of becoming a great man.
“This album represents a spiritual self-discovery for me,”saysEmanuel.“It’s about the nuances of the human experience. I hope ALT THERAPY inspires others to gain understanding about themselves and the world, and that it’s attached to beautiful memories in their lives the way certain music is attached my mine. That would be an honour.”
Also released today is the visually striking official video for“Worldwide”,a song born out ofEmanuel’sdeep yearning to take his music, its message and energy, to people around the world while experiencing and absorbing the wisdom of many cultures. Directed byKit Weymanand Executively Produced byDirector X, the video is a visual depiction ofEmanuel’s “Worldwide”manifestation mantra.
Emanuel’stalent is indisputable. Discovered by Canadian hip-hop icon Kardinal Offishall, launched by global superstarIdris Elba, signed by legendary R&B record labelMotown Records, honored with aJUNO Award nominationfor his debut EP, and championed by fans, critics and industry partners alike,Emanuelis one of the most destined new voices in R&B.
The Series will run from June 10 through July 18, 2021. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday from 6pm – 10pm and Saturday – Sunday from 1pm – 10pm. Artists will be present during the opening reception of each exhibition. Blank Slate is located at 283 47th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11220.
MASKS examines the shared experiences and the psychology of hiding behind a mask. The compositions and subject matter of the work speak to communal experiences of feeling disconnected as we emerge from the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maxwell Sykes is a Los Angeles-based painter who focuses on oil painting and draws inspiration from color and figure. Maxwell learned basic skills from working with his father’s construction company in South Central LA at the age of 13. His work can be found on Instagram.
Spencer Flores, a Mexican American artist, is influenced by his obsession with music and music videos and an endless fascination with comics, cartoons, and film. Ren & Stimpy is one of his biggest influences when it comes to storytelling and exaggerated art styles. As an artist, he is constantly in search of the nostalgia of his youth. His work can be found on Instagram.
Everyday Goddess by Liliana Rasmussen
June 24 – June 27
Liliana Rasmussen is a Brooklyn-based artist from the West Coast whose work emphasizes feminine energy and agency and seeks to capture the beauty of women of color. A multi-disciplinary artist, she also creates tufted rugs, mirrors, and wall pieces. Her work can be found at Lily & Papaya and on Instagram
Rise of a Movement: BLM by Divine Williams
July 1 – July 10
Divine Williams, a Trinidadian photographer based in Brooklyn, has been documenting the evolving Black Lives Matter movement for more than seven years. This exhibit features her collection “We March for our Brother” (Trayvon Martin, 2013); “Uprising in Ferguson” (Michael Brown, 2014); “Memorial of Sterling” (Alton Sterling, 2016); and “The Last Straw” (George Floyd, 2020). Her work can be found on Instagram.
Faces and Memories by Frida Vargas
July 15 – July 18
Frida’s artwork evokes emotions drawn from experiences in the journey of her life, reflected in colors and abstract shapes. About “Faces and Memories,” Frida has [said / written]:
Sometimes the journey is tough. So much so that as a result of the pandemic, I learned the hard way that people aren´t forever, but art is. Unfortunately, I’ve lost loved ones, I’ve even lost myself. Life, despite everything, is astounding and unexpected, and we must accept it as such. In these difficult events, painting was the only way I could cope with these tragic circumstances, and it has been quite an experience. So, in this collection, I´m taking the human form by a different approach. What does it mean? The rest is up to you.
Born and raised in Chihuahua, Mexico, Frida is an artist and architect. In her works, she experiments with a wide range of different techniques, especially oil on canvas. Her paintings can be described as abstract and colorful compositions. Frida’s work can be found on Instagram.
For more information about the inaugural Summer Exhibition Series, visit Blank Slate.
Recently, our team journeyed to Washington, D.C. for the National Action Network’s Commitment March. The August 28 march marked 57 years since the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his historic “I Have A Dream” speech. According to the National Action Network’s website, the goal of the march was to advocate for comprehensive police accountability reform, promote participation in the Census and motivate voters to cast their ballots in the upcoming Presidential election.
The National Action Network was founded by Rev. Al Sharpton in 1991. With nearly 100 chapters nationwide, the civil rights organization works in the tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. to achieve “one standard of justice, decency, and equal opportunities for all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, criminal record, economic status, gender, gender expression or sexuality.”
The trip from New York to Washington, D.C. was made easy by taking Amtrak’s Acela service. Despite the higher price point, the Acela is newer and less crowded than regional trains. The express train eliminated the burden of tolls and stopped in only a few cities, arriving in D.C. after about three and a half hours. It can be stressful to travel right now, so it was a relief to see how clean the train was. The quiet car, basic free wifi and outlets on board provided the perfect environment to research and write articles on our tablets. We utilized our extra time to discuss with one another and prepare for our coverage of the march and our days in D.C.
The café offered coffee and various snack options, and the sliding glass doors made it easy for us to walk through the cars. The reclining seats were comfortable and allowed us to rest before our trip. There were also sections of four seats for those traveling in a larger group. Each passenger could bring two personal items weighing up to 25 pounds, and two carry-on bags weighing up to 50 pounds at no additional cost. Amtrak is currently offering reduced fares for two to six tickets purchased together where riders can save eight to 45 percent.
Luckily, we were able to call Amtrak in advance to ensure we could carry on our folding bicycles. With limited parking available in the city, electric bikes served as a great mode of transportation for many protesters. E-bikes such as the DYU Smart Bike and a custom scooter from Good Vibe Gliders were an affordable alternative to renting a car, and made covering and participating in the march much easier.
The Commitment March: Get Your Knee Off Our Necks started early Friday morning. Participants marched through the National Mall, many carrying signs remembering those whose lives have been lost in acts of police violence. Others displayed “Black Lives Matter” on flags, shirts and masks.
Some participants created street art during the event, voicing their support through their work. At one point, a number of demonstrators stood together in the Reflecting Pool in front of the Washington Monument. Marchers reached the section of 16 Street NW that has become known as “Black Lives Matter Plaza” around 3:30 PM before dispersing for the day.
Organizers of the march upheld COVID-19 guidelines and regulations. The National Action Network placed multiple signs throughout the National Mall encouraging social distancing, and took marchers’ temperatures as they entered the area. Face masks were distributed to people who did not have one, and visitors from high-risk areas were urged to join virtually from their homes. There was also a testing booth on site, as reported by WUSA 9.
The march was co-convened by Sharpton and Martin Luther King III. Among the thousands of attendees who gathered on the National Mall were the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Jacob Blake. Many members of these families gave speeches at the Lincoln Memorial, along with lawmakers from across the country. These congressmen and women pushed for legislation that would address cases of racial injustice.
Though she was not present, Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris shared her message to marchers via Twitter. In her speech, which was played at the event, she said, “…if we work together, to challenge every instinct our nation has to return to the status quo, and combine the wisdom of long time warriors for justice, with the creative energy of the young leaders today, we have an opportunity to make history, right here and right now.”
Yolanda Renee King took the stage to address the crowd, standing where her grandfather had led March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. In a video posted by CNN she said, “We stand and march for love and we will fulfill my grandfather’s dream.” She then led a chant of “Show me what democracy looks like; This is what democracy looks like!”
Friday was also the 65th anniversary of Emmett Till’s murder. The 14-year-old was lynched and thrown off a bridge while visiting family in Mississippi. He was abducted after “allegedly whistling at a white woman,” according to ABC 7 Chicago, and his body was found mutilated in the Tallahatchie River. Till’s family never received justice, as the two men responsible for his death were both acquitted. Till’s murder helped to spark the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s. Civil rights leader and former congressman John Lewis wrote that “Emmett Till was [his] George Floyd” in a New York Times essay that was published on the day of Lewis’ funeral.
The trip provided a meaningful experience to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as time to see local relatives. 360 President Vaughn Lowery visited his uncle Leroy Lowery, the former executive director of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, who raised over $120 million for the Stone of Hope.
Leroy Lowery is the son of the late Rev. Joseph E. Lowery, a civil rights leader who helped Martin Luther King, Jr. establish the Southern Christina Leadership Conference, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Leroy Lowery attended the march with his father in 1963 and stated on Friday, “to see that we have to march [again] 57 years later is deflating.”
“The rising LA rapper started his rap career just a few short years ago, but he already raps with the kind of wise, world-weary delivery that some artists don’t develop until they’ve been at it for twice as long….He raps his ass off, he tells introspective stories and tackles some heavy topics, and his words and delivery are both sharp.” – Brooklyn Vegan
“Maxo’s music showcases an underlying grittiness that effortlessly matches his stylish sound: a balance of low-key cool with a weariness that only comes from having to grow up too soon.” – Pitchfork
“The video suits the textured track wonderfully, complimenting its inviting sounds. With the swirling camera and gentle color pallette, it’s the perfect introduction to Maxo’s music.” – Complex
Maxo, 23, started recording his musings just a few years ago, inspired by his older brother’s struggles in coping with the world around him.
“That was around the time of Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin,” Maxo recalls clearly. “Just being a Black man will take a toll on you, whether you recognize it or not. That, in combination with trying to find yourself. It will drive you crazy. He lost his shit.” A middle child (he has a younger brother), it was tough to see his older bro—who loved to rap—hit a rough patch. When society stressed him out of his love of music, Maxo picked it up for him.