Shout outs to Nona Hendryx, Ganessa James, Toshi Reagon, Ginny Suss, and other ladies who are standing tall in front of the movement. Motivated and inspired.
In a rousing revival of our Black Rock Coalition Get-Down Revue, we kicked off our 32nd year of mission-oriented programming with an encore performance of choice cuts from the Atlantic Records R&B box set in celebration of the pioneers of early rock & roll who called the label home from 1947-1974.
It was a certified dance party, featuring:
Luqman Brown – Musical Director/Bandleader
Jared Michael Nickerson – Bass
Ramsey Jones – Drums/Vocals
Ben Tyree – Guitar
Leon Gruenbaum – Keys
V Jeffrey Smith – Horns
Wayne Cobham – Trumpet
JS Williams – Trombone
Lisala – Vocals
Shelley Nicole – Vocals
“That the BRC is still here, and still needed,
was pressed home every time [Corey] Glover sang
‘Enough is never enough.’ Because the work is never done.
But the rock is worth the battle.”
—David Fricke, RollingStone.com, 2010
Dear Friends and Family, Thank You. Your support and contributions over the years have helped us achieve many community-building things on behalf of progressive Black artists and, as a volunteer-run, member-driven, nonprofit, we honestly cannot do it without you. We don’t pat ourselves on the back too often, but we have done a lot to be proud of over these past few years:
- Celebrated our 30th Anniversary with 30 Years In 30 Days, a month-long series of activities that serve our mission, including a launch party with performances by Vernon Reid and Corey Glover, Unlocking The Truth, Betty Black, The Veldt, and Burnt Sugar Arkestra with DJs CX KiDTRONiK and Sugarfree BK; BRC Orchestra shows in tribute to Band of Gypsys; a listening party; a screening of past BRC performance footage; the release of the third installment of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Reparations compilation series with a record release party; a gallery exhibit of photographs from the last 3 decades; a bowl-a-thon team for Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls; free rehearsal space for members and friends; a master vocal clinic with Corey Glover; and a BRC happy hour. Earlier in the year we held a panel at SXSW; a Million Man Mosh III (NYC and Baltimore) featuring Tamar-kali, Garland Jeffreys, and Dragons of Zynth with Saul Williams; and a BRC Orchestra tour of France for our Sisters, Sirens, and Songwriters show.
- In addition, our BRC ORCHESTRA, bridge-building collaborations between rotating groups of world-class musicians, performed salutes to the late, great Wizard of WOO, Bernie Worrell (Webster Hall), There’s A Riot Goin’ On and A Tribe Called Quest (BAMCafe Live), Prince and Earth Wind & Fire (International African Arts Fest), Deep Roots of Rock and Roll (Lincoln Center Out of Doors), a Salute to Richie Havens (BAMcafe), our Tribute to Black Women Songwriters (BIGSAS Festival, Germany), a 3-show residence celebrating Carlos Santana, Grace Jones, and Motown (Joe’s Pub), and the self-produced Gathering for Gil Scott-Heron (Symphony Space) in collaboration with Heron’s Estate. We also introduced the BRC Get-Down Revue (Midsummer Night Swing) which played hits from the Atlantic Records Rhythm & Blues box set.
- Our BRC SHOWCASES give musicians space to perform their own material at events such as Blunt Force Trauma, a presentation of proto-punk band DEATH, and Million Man Mosh 1, 2, and 3 (featuring Living Colour, 24-7 Spyz, Ronny Drayton, Nona Hendryx, Dragons of Zynth, Saul Williams, Tamar-kali, Thaylo Bleu and Throwdown Syndicate, among others).
- BRC COMMUNITY, BRC UNIVERSITY, and BRC RECORDS saw us collaborate with several like-minded groups and artists like Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls (we’ve provided several “Original Rocker” scholarships for campers), MAPP International and Lincoln Center Institute for our Blink Your Eyes: Poets To Music show in honor of late BRC pioneer Sekou Sundiata, Laina Dawes (author of What Are You Doing Here?) with whom we produced a compilation featuring women in heavy metal, punk and hard rock, Jeremy Xido (whose documentary Death Metal Angola we supported with after-parties featuring Unlocking The Truth, FunkFace, The Dust Rays, Year Of The Dragon, MilitiA Vox and DJ SugarfreeBK), and Rock ‘n’ Roll Reparations, v3: Million Man Mosh Edition, our 30th Anniversary collection featuring music from 31 down-for-the-cause artists. All-in-all, we’ve employed almost 300 musicians and reached over 10,000 people on two continents in the last 5 years alone.
But as Nina Simone lamented, we’ve still got so terribly far to go. As we come out on the other side of our 30th Anniversary, it’s painfully obvious why we need to keep going. Too many Black voices are still not being heard. As a grassroots, arts-support organization, it is our Mission to serve an artistic community of outsiders, fighters, warriors, griots, contrarians, pioneers, and culture mongers of color, so they can serve the world. To do that, we need your help. This year, we want to overhaul our website. We want to take another panel and some bands to SXSW. We want to send our BRC Orchestra on another international tour. We want to release our most ambitious compilation album to date. We want to create a series of showcases for local and domestic bands. We want to resurrect our internet radio channels. We want to give grants to bands. We want to continue our scholarship program with Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls. We want to have a knock-down, drag-out, Damn-This-Is-Epic party. We want to publish a book. We want to bring our community together for more networking and face time. We want to take our Million Man Mosh platform to any state that needs to mobilize artists to fight injustice. We want a lot. And every little bit you can give will help immensely. So please, consider becoming a member. Or renewing your membership and getting more involved. Even a one-time donation of $30, in your name or someone else’s, would be greatly appreciated. And if you’re really feeling the long-term love, we even have a lifetime BRC membership for $250. That’s less than $10 a year for the next 30 years. Thank you. Together we can make all kinds of things happen, just like we have since 1985.
President, Black Rock Coalition
P.S. If you’ve already given this year, please consider giving an additional donation for the Holidays. All monetary gifts are tax-deductible and will be put toward our ambitious calendar.
“What started out as a bitching session,
really became more about a proactive and developmental approach to the issue,
which was, instead of talking about how we’re locked out of the Master’s house,
why don’t we just build our own? And that was when it fundamentally came together as an organization.”
—excerpt from an interview w/ Greg Tate, BRC Newsletter, 2000
Black Rock Coalition is a nonprofit organization with tax-exempt 501(c)3 status.
Saturday, October 1, 2016 @ BAMcafe Live
The Black Rock Coalition Orchestra’s Tribe Called Quest Retrospective
Long recognized as one of the greatest hip-hop collectives of all time, A Tribe Called Quest took the genre to new heights sonically and lyrically by combining street beats with jazz influences—a style and a sound that laid the groundwork for new genres like acid jazz, trip hop, and drum and bass.
As part of SOURCE360 Festival, the BRC Orchestra paid respect to these hip-hop icons with a program that showcased some of the group’s best work, along with choice album cuts from classics like People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, Low End Theory, and Midnight Marauders. The program also honored founding ATCQ member Malik ‘Phife Dog’ Taylor (who passed away in March 2016), and Weldon Irvine, a distinguished composer and teacher who mentored the group and many others within the BRC circles.
Part of the SOURCE360 Festival
Saturday, September 24, 2016 @ BAMcafe Live, 9p, FREE
Luv n’ Haight: The BRC Salutes Sly & The Family Stone’s There’s A Riot Goin’ On
There’s A Riot Goin’ On was created during turbulent times. Its resonance with the current political climate helps us make a statement, through the music, that reflects our solidarity with today’s Black Lives Matter movement as well as other social-minded, action-based organizations. This performance also continued our Million Man Mosh initiative of bringing artists, activists, and fans together to move the needle for social change.
Hosted by Miles Marshall Lewis, author of There’s A Riot Goin’ On from the 33 1/3 book series
with words shared by Carmen Dixon, a representative of Black Lives Matter, New York Chapter
Saturday, July 2 was the world premiere of the BRC Get-Down Revue. MD Luqman Brown assembled a killer crew of crack cats who to make booties shake to hits from the Atlantic Rhythm & Blues Box Set—celebrating the genius of Ray Charles, Ruth Brown, Big Joe Turner, The Coasters, and more. With DJ Monica Sharp at the famous Midsummer Night Swing at Lincoln Center.
On Mon Apr 4 @ Webster Hall, NYC, we threw a benefit funkraiser to show our love for Bernie Worrell. Not only is he a member of the BRC Board of Directors, he’s been at the forefront of funk from jump. With a little help from our friends (most notably Nona Hendryx and Rob Max of Sweet Relief), we raised over $50,000 to help pay Bernie’s health and living expenses as he fights Stage 4 lung cancer and liver and prostate cancer. Many of his biggest supporters, oldest friends, and most notorious collaborators were there—Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, Living Colour, Paul Shaffer and the World’s Most Dangerous Band, Meryl Streep, Rick Springfield, Jonathan Demme, Mudbone, Leo Nocentelli, Questlove, Buckethead, Mike Hampton, Sarah Dash, Fred Schneider, Marc Ribler, Screaming Headless Torsos, and of course, The BRC Orchestra.
You can still donate directly to Bernie’s health and living expenses at sweetrelief.org.