BRC ORCHESTRA A collaboration of immensely talented, often underappreciated, musicians—some famous, some less so—who, under the musical direction of one progressive visionary, reimagine a specific canon of culturally-significant material. Recent examples include shows celebrating the influence of Bernie Worrell, Curtis Mayfield, The Deep Roots of Rock and Roll, Stevie Wonder, Sly and the Family Stone, Nina Simone, James Brown, Betty Davis, the music of Detroit, Carlos Santana, The Blaxploitation Songbook, Black Women Songwriters, Stew and The Negro Problem, Sam Cooke, Grace Jones, and Miriam Makeba. Partnering venues include domestic and international spaces such as Central Park SummerStage, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Institute, Harlem Stage, Whitney Museum, Symphony Space, BAMcafé, Joe’s Pub, Schomburg Center, BB King’s, Sons d’Hiver, MC93, and Chateauvallon.
BRC SHOWCASES A series of performance opportunities created, sponsored, and/or presented by the Black Rock Coalition to give progressive musicians space to rehearse, perform and perfect their own original material in the live arena—giving worthy artists the exposure and career development they so rightfully deserve. Past examples include showcases featuring Living Colour, Dr. MaddVibe (Angelo Moore of Fishbone), Earl Greyhound, 24-7 Spyz, Melvin van Peebles wid Laxative, Kyp Malone (of TV On The Radio), Ebony Bones!, The London Souls, Garland Jeffreys, Dragons of Zynth with Saul Williams, Sophia’s Toy, and The Dust Rays. Host venues include Central Park SummerStage, BAMcafé, Whitney Museum, Lincoln Center Atrium, Highline Ballroom, Gibson Showroom, Joe’s Pub, Club Europa, and Le Poisson Rouge.
BRC UNIVERSITY Educational initiatives designed to expand the knowledge and improve the skillsets of our members and the communities in which they perform. Activities vary from panels, workshops, instrument clinics, program scholarships, curricula-building, field trips, and informational sessions. Past examples include panels at SXSW, CMJ, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, scholarships for young women to attend Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, a vocal clinic with Corey Glover, collaboration with Lincoln Center Institute to create two distinct class-based curricula inspired by the relationship of poetry with music and the global travels and the resultant art of Nina Simone, BRC photo exhibits at NYPL for the Performing Arts and RAW Space, and participation in the Archives of African-American Music and Culture’s national conference on Black rock at Indiana University-Bloomington.
BRC RECORDS Since 1987, the BRC has identified and collected stellar works from progressive voices in Black music and sought to distribute them far beyond the limitations of physical audience. This has resulted in a series of mostly-DIY releases: 9 Against Nepotism, History of Our Future, Blacker Than That, The Bronze Buckaroo Rides Again, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Reparations Volumes 1, 2, and 3: Million Man Mosh Edition. Featured artists range from well-known to lesser-known and include Fishbone, Vernon Reid, Fantastic Negrito, Earl Greyhound, McRad, Jeffrey Gaines, Stew and The Negro Problem, Sananda Maitreya, The Family Stand, Imani Coppola, Graph Nobel, Tamar-kali, KUDU, Michael Hill’s Blues Mob, Screaming Headless Torsos, Pillow Theory, and Honeychild Coleman. Some releases have been for sale, but most have been used as a free, promotional outlet for the artists and the BRC.
BRC MEDIA An idea still in its nascent stages, this program endeavors to maximize Black rock and the BRC’s visibility and viability within today’s many media outlets. Spanning a wide range, this can include supporting, creating, producing, or becoming otherwise involved in things as varied as books, radio, television, film, websites, a music licensing service, a photo/film/music archive, a Black rock fact-checking service, and more. Elements already explored along these lines include internet radio shows on Soul-Patrol.net and Art On AIR, slavetotheISM.com, a cable television show operating out of Los Angeles, book launch parties in support of Maureen Mahon’s “Right To Rock,” Kandia Crazy Horse’s “Rip It Up,” and Earl Douglas, Jr.’s “Black Rock Volume 1,” involvement in Petra Richterova’s photo exhibit “,” and appearances in, screenings of, or events involving such films as “Everyday Sunshine,” “Electric Purgatory” and “Afro-Punk.” BRC officers have also played frequently in the media—being interviewed or featured as cultural currency by such entities as Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Spin, Daily News, Wax Poetic, Vibe and theroot.com.
BRC COMMUNITY As an organization that operates for the benefit of its members (and thus society as a whole), run exclusively by volunteers—some of whom have been involved for 30 years, some for 30 days—we depend upon our community. To reach, build, and support our core, we utilize any number of interactive vehicles: social networks, social gatherings, blogs, events, benefits, giveaways, discounts, newsletters, etc. Specific avenues include the month-long celebration of the BRC’s 30th Anniversary, Million Man Mosh I, II, and III, BRC-LA’s 21st Anniversary party, record release parties for Rock ‘n’ Roll Reparations, Vol 2 and 3, the “This Week In Black Rock” 3000+ subscriber e-newsletter, benefits for Bernie Worrell, Pedro Bell, Garry Shider, and Donovan Drayton, no-fee BRC Orchestra presentations for the Jazz Foundation of America (a kindred non-profit), and Dinner and A Show. This is a short and incomplete list that can and should be added to as needed to truly reflect and address the needs of our members.