Rise Edutainment Celebrating Black Music Appreciation Month
By Michyla Tross
June is Black Music Appreciation Month. It was originally established in the United States by former US President Jimmy Carter to recognize the contributions of Black artists in music history. To celebrate, R.I.S.E Edutainment hosted a show featuring local Black artists from Toronto under the Frequency Fridayz series. R.I.S.E is a youth-led community movement founded by Randell Adjei, a spoken work poet. R.I.S.E is a platform for up and coming artists to get the mentorship and opportunity to showcase their talents. The show was held live at the CNE grounds and I had the opportunity to attend.
The host, Nathan Baya, opened up the show by asking the audience to share any life lessons they learned during the pandemic. In my opinion, I thought this was a great way to get the audience engaged and interactive with one another.
The first performance came from Manayena, an artist from Zimbabwe. He moved to Toronto ten years ago. He gave us a sneak peak of his new single which had not yet been released. Manayena kept the crowd uplifted and kept us dancing to the beat. I was amazed at his confidence on stage and great storytelling.
On how his experience with R.I.S.E, he says, “I met him (Randell) when he was first starting R.I.S.E and I learned from him…I was just around people who were confident at the time and picked what I can learn from them.”
The next to perform was Round Table, a collective of artists with brand of unity and flair. The group is made by five artists: Priority, Miamaorsuave, Skoobie, U5 and Kingsz.
The group performed the setlist of their discography, including their latest single, “Krazy.” Their performances were energetic and inspirational. Priority set the tone as he hyped up the crowd before his performance, U5 gave us a romantic feel as he sang his heart out, Kingsz had the crowd impressed by his smooth flow and Skoobie kept the crowd lively all throughout.
Keeping with the theme of Black Music Month, Miamaorsuave performed his rap song called Black Love. I thought was a perfect way to raise awareness of the struggles Black people face in the community.
“These lyrics I'm going to speak to y’all are coming from a place of experiencing troubles within the people in my community here, in the Caribbean, even in Africa and America,'' he says to the audience.
The DJ started the track allowing the crowd to join him on the first line, “I love being Black,” really driving the sense of unity home. After the show, I got a chance to speak to Kingsz on how he felt about his overall performance.
“I feel amazing,” Kingz said. “I just got the opportunity to perform in front of a new crowd. I loved the energy and their vibe. I loved how everyone was moving. We got to show them something new and we killed it!”
The next artist to perform was Asha Lee, who got the crowd standing up from their seats waving hand shaped hearts in the air. Not only did Lee perform her latest hits, but she also paid homage to the old school classics with a cover of ‘One Love’ by Bob Marley.
On her performance, Lee says, “A lot of people say all the time that there's no more hope left, humanity is going down the drain and just seeing everyone out there willing to put their hearts up to be a part of that good vibe shows you that there's a lot of good people out there.”
The final performance came from Juvon Taylor, who was armed with irresistible charm and undeniable talent. After grabbing the crowd's attention with his guitar play, he invited a girl to join him onstage and to the crowd’s delight spiced his performance up by serenading her. When asked what Black music month means to him, Juvon proudly remarked, ”I believe we are the pioneers and catapults of anything great that has ever happened to humankind, history period.”
To close off the show, the host had a performance for us as well, chairs were moved and what was a seating area instantly turned into a dance floor as the crowd and the artists danced to what we like to call Black Music.