Black Rock Coalition

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The Black Rock Coalition is a New York-based artists' collective and non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the creative freedom and works of black musicians.

The BRC was founded in 1985 in New York City by Vernon Reid (guitarist for the rock band band Living Colour), Greg Tate (journalist for the Village Voice), Dk Dyson (lead singer of Eye & I), and Konda Mason (producer),[1] but today has members from around the world. Members that helped propel BRC at that time include but are not limited to; Chuck Mosely (lead singer, Faith no More,1983-1988), Angelo Moore (lead singer, Fishbone), Corey Glover (lead singer, Living Colour).[2] Many of these members were key players in the formation centered on the band Living Colour to start with. The Black Rock Coalition was created to band black rockers together in the music world because of racial discrimination in the music industry.[3] In the 1980s and 1990s, some Black rock bands such as Living Colour and Fishbone had illustrations rather than photos as their album covers. LaRonda Davis, the executive of the Black Rock Coalition, explained this was a marketing tactic used to avoid any confusion that the consumer may have off their judgment of the album cover. "If you saw a Black person on the cover, the assumption was that the music was R&B or hip-hop. It was about the look of the person on the cover as opposed to the sound inside, which created more work for the marketers."[4]

“Their goal: to assert that a new generation of black musicians could play more than just R&B and hip- hop, and could rock the house as much as Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Arthur Lee, and Jimi Hendrix had done before. Now most of the scene’s bands are either footnotes or forgotten."[5] The BRC's mission is to maximize the development, exposure, and acceptance of black rock musicians, and encourage artists who refuse to cater to "the creative straitjacket the industry has designed."[6]

The Black Rock Coalition was formed in order to reaffirm that white rock had evolved from black origins, to combat racial stereotyping in music, and also to work to re-establish rock forms as functionally black music and as further proof of black music’s power to make innovative leaps. It supports and advocates performances by black musicians of musical styles publicly associated with whiteness – hard rock, heavy metal and thrash.[7]

Among other activities, the BRC actively seeks performance venues, recording opportunities, and equitable distribution opportunities for black artists. They work to archive performance footage of cultural events related to their oeuvre, and to provide or publicize various educational opportunities (e.g. lectures, workshops, seminars, research, library and audio-visual resources, public forums/discussions, etc.). BRC also solicits funding for projects and provides networking opportunities. BRC and their volunteer base is a resource to their community of members and other organizations such as the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. In 2015 the BRC celebrated their 30th anniversary throughout the month of September with "30 Years in 30 Days" that encompassed events to showcase their support. Events in Brooklyn, New York and neighboring locations ranged from a fund raiser for BRC's Original Rocker Scholarships, a vocal clinic at the Metrosonic Showroom, rehearsal space at the Funkadelic Studios for members and friends, performances by BRC's Orchestra playing tribute to Jimi Hendrix's live album Band of Gypsys at the BAMCafé, and various social events.[8] They also hosted "Million Man Mosh 3" at The Wind Up Space featuring artists such as Tamar-kali, Thaylo Bleu, and Throwdown Syndicate.[9] Some of the live recordings taken at the events will be included onto BRC's 8th Rock’n’Roll Reparations compilation album that highlights "songs that bring to light some of the issues that affect people and musicians of color" says BRC's executive LaRonda Davis.[10]

BRC addresses a phenomenon about the crossover of black musicians to white audiences. Two different positions were expressed on the crossover of black musicians to white audiences. Steve Perry (musician) saw the phenomenon of black artists topping the “Hot 100” positive for its integration and implications for cross-racial harmony. Nelson George (music critic) saw this as a dilution of black social and cultural power, arguing that black artist who aimed at the mainstream were forsaking the black musical tradition.[11]

The BRC is governed by an executive board and an advisory board; board members have included Me'shell Ndegeocello, Bernie Worrell, 24-7 Spyz, the members of Living Colour, Bill Stephney, Craig Street, Sekou Sundiata, Chocolate Genius, Don Byron and Nona Hendryx. Artists who have participated in BRC activities include Doug Pinnick (frontman and bassist for the progressive metal band King's X), Spacey T, Keziah Jones, Tamar-kali, Suffrajett, Graph Nobel, Imani Coppola, David Ryan Harris, Jeffrey Gaines, Sophia Ramos, FunkFace, Pillow Theory, Apollo Heights, Avery Brooks, The Family Stand, Carl Hancock Rux, Caron Wheeler, and DJ Reborn.

BRC had an active radio show in the 1980s. Today[when?] it maintains a website as well as an email list and a regular mailing list, an Internet radio station (BRC Radio @ Soul-Patrol.Net), and a MySpace page.

See also[edit]

  • Mahon, Maureen. Right to Rock: The Black Rock Coalition and the Cultural Politics of Race. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004. Review
  • NAACP
  • Afro-punk

References[edit]

  1. ^ Daphne Brooks, "Burnt Sugar: Post-Soul Satire and Rock Memory", p. 103–116 in Eric Weisbard, ed., This is Pop, Harvard University Press, 2004. ISBN 0-674-01321-2 (cloth), ISBN 0-674-01344-1 (paper). p. 109.
  2. ^ Browne, David. "Black Rock: An Oral History". SPIN. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Brownlee, Henry. The Journal of African American History. p. 111. 
  4. ^ Francisco, Jones. "Black Rock Coalition Creates Much Needed Outlet for Alternative Artists". Inity Weekly. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  5. ^ Browne, David. "Black Rock: An Oral History". SPIN. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  6. ^ Dowling, Marcus. "C-Sides: Living Colour “Love Rears Its Ugly Head” (1990)". Those People. Retrieved 14 December 2015. 
  7. ^ Frith, Simon (2001). The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock. Cambridge University Press. p. 266. 
  8. ^ "30 Years in 30 Days". Black Rock Coalition. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  9. ^ Mitchell, Gail. "Living Colour's Vernon Reid, Corey Glover & Black Rock Coalition Celebrate '30 Years in 30 Days'". Billboard. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  10. ^ Brickler, Samantha. "Thirty (Year) Rock: How the Black Rock Coalition Keeps Process Alive, Nurtures a Vivid Scene". Rock Paper Scissors. Retrieved 8 December 2015. 
  11. ^ Frith, Simon (2001). The Cambridge Companion to Pop and Rock. Cambridge University Press. p. 266. 

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