When art, hip hop, film and fashion converge it’s pure magic! MUCE’s Now or Neverland: Ode to Hip Hop art fair and sister company SoFloWebFest created a space for nostalgia and innovation to co-exist, leaving attendees moved and inspired.
The lobby of the Little Haiti Cultural Complex was transformed into a pop-up art gallery displaying the work of 15 visual artists during Art Basel Weekend/Miami Art Week from Dec 6th-10th. As I entered the gallery, I was greeted with the 3D art of Jason Tetlak showing the Beastie Boys and a cassette player. These pieces were some of my personal favorites, as it was reflective of the past but showed the possibility of art for the future. As I scanned the gallery and saw hip hop greats such as Jay Z, Tupac, Method Man, contemporary Miami artists and art that were cultural representatives of hip hop; one could not help but be reminded of how vibrant the culture was and still is.
MUCE and sister company SoFloWebFest kicked off the opening night with a meet and greet with the artists and a film screening by local Miami directors. Hosted by Faisal, attendees got the opportunity to network with the presenting visual artists and gain a deeper understanding of the impetus behind their work.
The following days continued with an artistic and hip hop inspired fashion show by La’Belle Couture and the Founders Speak segment with Ashlee Thomas and Bart Mervil who laid out the long term vision for MUCE’s national expansion. As someone who loves technology, I particularly enjoyed the presentation by New Discovery Media on how brands, artists and nonprofits can use immersive technology such as 3D and 360 degree camera action to elevate their marketing and gain exposure.
Speaking of marketing, the keynote speech by Stacy Ike on #fightforyourfairytale was absolutely sublime and the road that she traveled was a testament to her positioning herself for the life that she wanted to live. Within six years, Stacy was able to move from an intern to the host of a Late Night Show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. She spoke about her humble beginnings and constantly having a burning desire to show up with excellence. Despite her internal apprehension, she was bold enough to ask Oprah Winfrey to be a guest on her podcast and to her surprise, Oprah agreed! By giving herself permission to shine, she left the attendees with a similar desire to ferociously chase our dreams and fight for our fairy tales.
Lashawnna Stanley had the models and aspiring models in the room mesmerized with her wealth of experience and knowledge. She was at the forefront of the talent management industry when she founded Ethnicity Models. Ethnicity Models started out representing Black talent at a time when there were few agencies that specifically had this niche. As a result, with hip hop’s cultural explosion and the need for more black models, she positioned herself to be the foremost agency that brands such as Akademiks and Phat Farm would reach out to for their marketing campaigns. Overall her presentation was an affirmation of niching one’s products or services to position themselves for success.
The art fair closed out with the an Art Talk titled #disruptit that featured DJ Heron, JLash and Tracie Marie, hosted by Faisal. The art talk, grounded attendees in the past, present and future of hip hop. The panelists highlighted that hip hop is here to stay, but has to evolve with the new age to continue its long standing cultural domination.
MUCE and SoFloWebFest had some amazing sponsors that played a role in making the festival a complete success. Cricket Wireless was a major sponsor for the web series Award Ceremony hosted by BET’s Comic View, Chello. Other major sponsors included Little Haiti Cultural Complex, Chef Creole, Art of Black Miami, Commissioner Keon Hardemon and more.
Stay tuned for the Save The Date for the 2018 art fair and I can’t wait to #basel with you next year.
Written by: Natasha Wright – Festival Admin