Earlier yesterday, thanks to the legendary graffiti artist Crash, we met up with Swizz Beatz after several exchanges over social media regarding the No Commission Art Fair being held in Port Morris at one of Keith Rubenstein’s properties.
Several of the concerns voiced to Swizz was the fact that it’s being held on Rubenstein’s property which many feel and agree is a sort of ground zero for the gentrification that is occurring throughout the South Bronx—an event such as this would only help further the developer’s agenda and also show the precarious world artists have to navigate and often find themselves being used as pawns by said developers.
After talking for several hours with Swizz, I got to understand better the thought process behind the event. The event was already curated for some time and there was a push for it to take place in Brooklyn but the artist made it clear, “I’m not from Brooklyn, I’m from The Bronx and that’s where I want this event to take place.”
“I wanted to bring something special for the people of The Bronx which is why the event is free, something that anyone can enjoy and have asked for,” he said on why he’s holding the event at the property.
All that being said, after speaking with Swizz some more, we agreed to collaborate on a future event that will be curated to include Bronx artists as the highlight and to hold it at a more neutral location that doesn’t have such charged up negativity around it.
No date or logistics is set for this event but the will and commitment are there by Swizz Beatz because he wants to not only give back to the community but to be able to do something for the very very concrete for the community he came from.
As for the No Commission / No Bronx Artists Anti-Party to be held at Wallworks this Friday from 6PM-9PM is still going on but now being looked at more as an evening to celebrate Bronx art. Swizz loves the idea behind this event.
Gotta say that it’s pretty dope that he’s been so accessible to personally speak with folks, including artists, who weren’t happy with the event and the fact that we were able to agree to collaborate on a future event for Bronx artists just further shows he’s not just talking the talk but walking the walk. Several artists walked away with a better understanding and appeared satisfied.
I was impressed to see him acknowledging his privilege, owning it, and also making a sincere effort to utilize it for the people.
While some may say he may have been motivated to perhaps save face, ultimately what he says that fuels him is to be in a position to be able to contribute.
Swizz added, “I can’t save everything but I’ll try my best to help those that I can.”
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