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A Jacob & Co. metaverse exists? The beautiful world of crypto and jewelry

Jacob & Co. are opening up their luxury line of watches and jewelry to the NFT and metaverse space. In March, we witnessed the launch of ‘Astronomia Metaverso,’ the company’s debut NFT collection in partnership with UNXD.

Welcome to the Jacob & Co. metaverse

A team of Jacob & Co. scientists, were able to recover these precious pieces through the power of NFTs (non-fungible tokens), leaving them with special privileges within the evolving Jacob & Co. Astronomia Metaverso community.

The full story can be experienced here.

The crypto-inspired watches are slated for release in 2023, building on their existing ‘Astronomia’ line, as this project sees the jewelers put their original time-stamp on the NFT market.

Jacob & Co. has crafted the first luxury watch NFT metaverse project of its kind. Meshing the physical and the metaphysical as the brand successfully co-opts the two spaces.

The watches “are works of art in their own right,” according to Jacob & Co. As the company looks to reveal its works in an NYC flagship boutique.

Founder Jacob Arabov has exclusively designed eight watches that will never be made again in light of the company’s first dip into NFT waters. 

With five physical watch designs and three digital-only designs, Astronomia Metaverso’ is breathing new life into the industry. 

Metarverso Saturn
Photo Courtesy: Jacob & Co. Metarverso Saturn

All eight limited edition designs are inspired by the earth’s solar system, as the gem-encrusted pieces prioritize sleekness to celebrate their entry into the galaxy of the metaverse.

Each of them has 4k animated and still renders in the NFT space, alongside either physical or digital wearables.

‘Earth,’ ‘Mercury,’ ‘Venus,’ ‘Mars,’ and ‘Jupiter’ are all available to purchase in their physical form. While ‘Neptune,’ ‘Uranus,’ and ‘Saturn’ are the first appearances of bespoke digital renders of Jacob & Co.’s wears. 

Jacob & Co. astronomia metaverso
Photo Courtesy: Jacob & Co. Metarverso Earth
Jacob & Co. Metarverso Mecury
Photo Courtesy: Jacob & Co. Metarverso Mecury

With three different realms (digital, physical, and experiential), the company is searching to give consumers access to quality products in the real and virtual spheres. 

Jacob & Co.’s physical and metaverse goods are joined by an opportunity for consumers to access exclusive company events and private tours of their Geneva production facility. 

Each NFT is not only a beautiful work of art but also a membership pass to Jacob & Co. digital/physical activations.

Membership via the NFT includes access to an exclusive slate of events and activities. Each NFT includes high-resolution renders of the watch and a beautiful “digital timepiece” that functions as a clock.

Owners of NFTs from the five closest planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter) can claim the physical watch. But the company doesn’t want the ‘Astronomia Metaverso’ line’s exclusivity to signal this as a one-time thing.

Benjamin Arabov, CEO of Jacob & Co., said “This is a long-term commitment for us and the first in a series of launches…”

“As a company, we’ve always been on the bleeding edge of art and technology forging our own path instead of following the crowd. We’re putting all our creative energy into this and can’t wait to show the world what we’re making.”

Benjamin Arabov, CEO of Jacob & Co.

The luxury jewelry line has also announced future forays into the NFT and metaverse space, boasting their intention for a 2023 release of crypto-inspired watches.

Possibly, giving buyers a chance to partake in the design process for this new project. The Jacob & Co. brand has harnessed the stars of the metaverse but won’t stop there.

Additional details about Astronomia Metaverso will be unveiled in the coming weeks, and the collection will be released exclusively on UNXD.

Shashi Menon, CEO of UNXD, said “Jacob & Co.’s immense cultural impact has been long documented. We’re thrilled to bring this iconic brand into the metaverse in partnership with UNXD. We think people will be blown away when we reveal what we’re creating and the roadmap ahead.”

The Astronomia Metaverso collection will be released exclusively on UNXD. Reserve your spot now. Click here.

Diversifying the workplace one voice at a time with ADCOLOR

ADCOLOR founder Tiffany R. Warren has one mission — diversifying the workplace.

Recently, a California judge struck down a law mandating corporate diversity, a measure many believed was necessary to increase the numbers of underrepresented people in boardrooms. The time for industry leaders like Warren couldn’t come at a better time.

Warren is geared up to quite literally add diversity to the workplace. 

Her foundership and presidency of the non-profit community organization ADCOLOR have crafted a whole new vocabulary for the working world, leaving the days of monochrome sameness behind.

“I’m trying to make an army of accomplices so that we can shorten the time for equity,” Warren said.

Warren boasts new ideas in the name of diversity and inclusion. She designed newfound titles like her current Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer role at SONY which allowed her to break the mold within the age-old creative industry.

Have you ever thought about diversity and inclusion?

A question she constantly asks, spotlighting the pressing need for diversity. 

But if Warren was going to make a change, she was going to have to start from the bottom up. 

From sugar dots to FAFSA forms

“Enterprising behavior is in my blood,” Warren said.

The Boston native grew up with entrepreneurs all around her. She had her own versions of Oprah Winfrey and Jeff Bezos. 

Examples of tough love and resourcefulness gave Warren the perfect background to nurture a business mindset just as she entered her teenage years.

Rewind the clock to Warren’s fifth-grader self as she burst through the door boasting her co-valedictorian status. High fives from her cousins didn’t stop her Grandmother’s indifference.

“‘Okay, what’s next?’,” Warren said, recounting the rude awakening.

“I didn’t have a lemonade stand but … she was my greatest teacher,” Warren said about her early days in the business world. 

But Warren’s first taste of business training was unorthodox, to say the least.

From her Grandmother charging her 10 cents for sugar dot sweets, to her Mother that made a trade out of helping Warren’s friends. “[My mom] was a whiz,” as Warren was reflecting on her mom filling out FAFSA forms for incoming college hopefuls. 

The realization for the need of diversity in the workplace

The ADCOLOR founder was certainly no stranger to success. The high-achiever was consistently at the top of her class and graduated from Bentley University with a Liberal Arts degree. 

Yet Warren’s scholarship was rarely paired with a sense of inclusion, “I had been in rooms since pretty much the fourth grade, where I was one of two people of color,” Warren said. 

The business mogul always made sure to include herself in multicultural networks, through roles like her Presidency of Bentley University’s “Black United Body.”

The further up the career ladder Warren went the less diversity she saw. 

There was simply no place for Black, Asian, American Indian, and Native Hawaiian leaders and innovators.

So Warren took matters into her own hands. 

“That’s ADCOLOR magic” 

ADCOLOR has “become a verb and a noun … it’s in the hearts of people,” Warren said.

There’s a buzz going on within the creative industry, pushing ‘ADCOLOR’ into everyday vocabulary.

It’s an organization that’s a testament to the strength, power, and ingenuity within the black community. ADCOLOR brings attention to shining stars and their lack of inclusion. 

After ADCOLOR’s 2005 founding, Warren looked to pioneer the inclusion of black and brown workers in creative industries – especially those at the top of their game.  

ADCOLOR aims to be the torchbearer of diversifying the workplace

“I have it a lot easier because of Martin Luther King. I have it a lot easier because of Coretta Scott King and Malcolm X,” Warren said with a subtly confident smile radiating across her face at how she herself is going to push the history of black greatness that little bit further… 

ADCOLOR is renowned for its annual awards show. Every year they honor newcomers, rising stars, and seasoned experts.

Additionally, their conferences allow critical voices in the creative sectors to rise up. 

It’s like a blueprint. “If people can see it then they can be it,” Warren said.

“When I launched, people actually told me that I would run out of people to honor in three years,” the ADCOLOR founder said about the doubt and alarming lack of diversity people believed there to be.

However, 2022 will see the 16th and 17th anniversary of the ADCOLOR Conference and Awards respectively, smashing previous expectations out of the water.

Despite starting out as just a conference, ADCOLOR now boasts several different facets that make it stand out from the rest. 

ADCOLOR Futures and ADCOLOR Leaders have innovated the way ADCOLOR operates, leaning into the organization’s motto of “rise up and give back.”

Futures acts as a “true family,” Warren said. The program allows for young individuals at the precipice of their careers to excel.

While the Leaders program is a pillar for the experienced without support. “Even at EVP, I’m still a learner. I’m still curious,” Warren said. The program seeks to give its members even more of what they already have: experience. 

All the initiatives behind ADCOLOR add a greater richness to diversifying the workplace.

“When I go back to my office, and I’m one of two, I know that I have a whole army that’s behind me [now],” Warren said, “that’s ADCOLOR magic … it’s like my mantra.” 

The grind doesn’t stop

ADCOLOR and the founder won’t stay complacent. 

“I create, I make it happen and then I keep it moving,” said Warren.

The mogul’s accolades are tough to keep track of.

From Broadway co-producer and TONY winning hopeful, Warren’s “Thoughts of A Colored Man” graced the stage for 76 shows. Alongside ADCOLOR’s Emmy nomination, where she produced a concert in partnership with CMG and Wyclef Jean.

Warren seems to dominate whatever creative industry she feels like taking a spin at.    

Boasting her 25th year in the Equality and Inclusion sector, the SONY EVP is mindful of keeping her humility.  

The assignment still remains.

“Staying humble and staying hungry and staying on assignment,” Warren said are her mental go-tos whenever she gets overwhelmed by the success stories already behind her.

Warren is aware of the role she was given.

“I’m not being punched or kicked or hosed,” like her freedom-fighting predecessors, Warren said. Her mission? Diversifying the workplace for all. She won’t be distracted by personal wins and will keep fighting the fight.  

Letting go of your baby, or bringing it on stage

Despite Warren’s accomplished portfolio, her biggest success has nothing to do with diversity or business at all. 

It’s letting her loved ones shine first.

“My biggest achievement is being a really great aunt,” Warren said. The businesswoman has brought her niece on stage at the end of every ADCOLOR Awards to say goodnight since she was two years old.

“I just love her so much and I look forward to seeing her become the woman I know she’s gonna be,” Warren said.

Letting others take the spotlight always came with ease. Still, letting go of her life’s work wasn’t natural.

“‘I only know what is right for ADCOLOR!’,” Warren said, mocking how tightly she used to hold on to her bundle of joy before she was able to let the micromanaging go. 

“[Now] it’s making sure that everybody at the table has a point of view,” Warren said – reflecting on ADCOLOR’s past eight years of passing the torch onto the next set of visionaries. 

The Diversity and Inclusion expert now sees herself in the role of mentor, taking inspiration from Tupac, Warren “‘may not change the world, but [hopes to] inspire the person that will’.”

The wins Warren has under her belt have changed the world of diversity and inclusion, but the entrepreneur will not give in. 

She will continue to make a change and diversify the workplace.

One classroom, work office, telecast list, and Grammy nomination at a time.

ADCOLOR “is a movement,” Warren said.

music minted

An NFT party scene in NYC is on the rise: How to get your music minted

Every first Thursday of the month, at OS NYC, an NFT party scene and culture is bubbling.

At the most recent BRONXLYN NFT event, artists Jay Prob and Rocky Snyda (the duo behind FUTRxLGND) paved the way for two new artists to rocket themselves into the NFT stratosphere.  

Pull up to the next FUTRxLGND NFT party at OS NYC on April 7. Artists looking to get their song minted for FREE submit your entry HERE.

Artists Mareko and Carter Brown stumbled into FUTRxLGND’s next big thing by accident.

Easy concept. The song with the best audience reception gets a chance to make itself heard on a bigger stage with a bigger audience. 

So how come two artists came out on top?

One hinge date-turned-music-contest, and another last-minute pull-up, brought Mareko and Carter to the next level.

Jay Prob and Rocky Snyda join forces with PHLOTE to create one hell of an NFT party

Read more about PHLOTE here.

The Jay-Snyda duo took started off their joint journey as NFT pioneers with a bang as the two founded their FUTURxLGND brand, soon after welding their solo songs together to make their collaborative debut: “BRONXLYN.”

“I’m glad that I ended up trusting his vision,” said Snyda.

Who was initially a little skeptical of the blended song, instead of the regular EP collaboration. “It was really cool,” said Jay, “mostly because people like Rocky as a person more than me,” the rapper joked. 

Check out the BRONXLYN NFT here.

Creative direction lay in the hands of Jay and Snyda too, as they directed and edited the entire “BRONXLYN” piece – basing the music video in locations inspiring their rap repertoires now: an “infamous diner” in the Bronx, and Snyda Chicken. 

“People like seeing us do things together,” said Jay. Previously the artists have joined forces to bring their music into the main domain, even re-inventing the concert wheel with subway jam sessions.

What’s an NYC NFT party without NFTs? Meet the winners

Neither artist intended to be there that night.

But swarms of sky-high 100s emoji paddles filled the room when the crowd heard the sound of Mareko and Carter Brown. “The reaction that they both got […] was just kind of undeniable,” said Jay. 

It was a rare opportunity for any artists in the making to get their voices out in the open.

“It’s not something as an artist that you experience too often […] You don’t really get a chance for people to hear your music live and see a reaction,” said Carter.

But these artists took to the main stage next to Jay and Snyda, swarmed with love for their tracks: “Veronica Decides to Die,” and “Your Cool.”

Mareko and Brown showed up completely at the last minute to the event as those around them convinced them to come to the first live Phlote vote.  

Snyda and Jay laughed about how unplanned both artists’ submissions were. “First of all, let’s shout out to how small New York is,” said Snyda. “I feel like it’s really funny that you guys ended up winning when one: Mareko you weren’t even supposed to be there, and two: Carter you were about to not be there.” 

Mareko and Carter had no intention of storming their way to the top that night. Snyda was glad they did though and felt “like everything just worked out the way it was supposed to work out.”

Mareko shows up and shows out

Mareko is an up-and-coming artist with an eclectic style. From electric guitars to electronic beats and smooth bars, the 22-year-old is breathing fresh air into the NFT space. 

Check out MOM’S SPAGHETTI NFT here

“Like they almost didn’t even play my stuff, because they were about to wrap up,” said Mareko. But the musician got her chance to hear her beats when she called out Jay and Snyda for playing mainly male musicians.

Her January 2022 release (“Veronica Decides to Die”) has just topped over 4000 Spotify streams and 2000 views on YouTube, as the artist looks to unlock new levels in her music game.  

“I feel like I was kind of avoiding looking in people’s faces too much,” said Mareko when her single was mid-play before she realized just how much the crowd liked her head-banger song at the NFT party.

The artist went on to describe how her song stood out from the rest, and how that originality carried her to the win. “It was the most different to everybody else’s […] kind of hip-hop stuff and my song’s a bit more punk-rock oriented.”

Mareko was no stranger to the NFT space though. “I was already into Web 3.0, NFTs, and all that stuff, but I just never acted on it,” said the artist. The second BRONXLYN event was the step that took her to that new height out of her comfort zone.   

Carter Brown unlocks the heat

Paraprofessional by day, rapper by night, Carter strives to be “the next best thing to hit the music scene.” The Queens native was raring to bring his music into the NFT space and find a new platform for his sound.  

“The first event I wanted to go to was to just learn a lot, and I did,” said Carter. But the rapper thought the BRONXLYN NFT event “was a one and done thing.”

The tune Carter played that night was definitely a switch-up. The artist focuses on slower R&B or rap, so the pop vocals and upbeat record showed the audience another dimension to the musician’s many sides. 

Carter played his main single “Your Cool” that he’s pushing, with over 114,000 streams on Spotify already and a pending music video. “It’s different from the rest of my music and it’s different from everything else I heard that night […] they rockin’ with it,” said the rapper.

Check out Carter Brown’s music NFT here.

“The reaction that they both got […] was just kind of undeniable,” said Jay about the passion the audience felt for both of their drops.

Amongst the sea of trap and rap music that night, these two artists shone without any hype around it. “I feel like our music spoke for itself,” said Mareko.

Curating a community of dope BIPOC music artists

The NFT space and those that built it are making moves and paving the way for a new wave in the music industry.

The potential is boundless and exciting to see. “You guys might be pioneering a lot of s**t that you don’t even realize,” Snyda said to the winners.  

Jay and Snyda’s vision is clear. “We’re really just like road-mapping BRONXLYN in the world of Web3 […] continuing to have those real-life interactions and events too where we can help people like these two come into Web3 and do their thing,” said Snyda.  

NFTs aren’t always so straightforward for a musician. 

At times it can feel overwhelming and backward for artists new to the Web3 scene though. Mareko highlighted some of the fears artists can have about these things, “I’m into this technology and stuff, but I’m not trying to compromise my artistry.” 

It’s exciting to see what’s in store for visionaries like Jay and Snyda, and artists with new launchpads like Mareko and Carter and where they’ll take the NFT space next.

Pull up to the next FUTRxLGND NFT party at OS NYC on April 7. Artists looking to get their song minted for FREE submit your entry HERE.

What do you have to lose?

New Orleans

The New Orleans music scene is a magical experience

Have you ever experienced the New Orleans music scene? You can hear the magic in the streets, even after Mardi Gras is over…

New Orleans gets its name as “the birthplace of jazz” for a reason.  It’s vibrant, eclectic and oozing in style. One of the musical hotspots of the world.

With each twist and turn of the renowned French Quarter either bringing forward a beautiful homage to the late greats like Louis Armstrong, Irma Thomas, and Ernie K-Doe, or a new genre of music flooding your ears after every ornate block of eighteenth-century buildings you pass by – ones you wouldn’t even imagine could exist.

That’s without even bringing up what the Big Easy is infamous for: Mardi Gras.

“Laissez les bon temps rouler!”

It’s a musician’s dream.

To play the music that sets the tone for vivacious parades, fantastical costumes and crowds of people from all over the world wanting to dance the night away

The magic of the Mardi Gras green, gold and purple gives New Orleans the blueprint for what music could and should achieve all-year round.

It sets the stage for the melting pot of music that NOLA represents. With sounds from all over the continental U.S., that will completely stop your own little world just to fill it up again with a smooth blend and burst of every dance and song under the sun.

The leaders of the New Orleans music scene

So who are the people that keep and care for this reputation New Orleans has?

Its musicians. 

I talked with three different New Orleans-based bands and artists – all from different walks of musical life – to get a feel for what the paved streets, and balconied pastel clubs and bars really have to offer. 

From jazz and blues aficionado Marty Peters and his band ‘Marty Peters and the Party Meters,’ to the all-encompassing sound of ‘The Phunky Monkeys,’ and apocalyptic rock artist Steve Mignano and his band ‘Drab.’ 

These polar opposites of musical style and performance are just steps away from each other on Bourbon Street, allowing the jungle of sound that New Orleans is infamous for to live up to its reputation. 

The musical mavericks themselves

‘Marty Peters and the Party Meters’

The five-piece band aims to be “heavy hitting, high energy and engaging,” Peters said. 

The frontman of the traditional jazz band utilized his initial vocal training in the Episcopal Church choir and formal education in modern jazz at SUNY Purchase, as a real launchpad to become the musician he is today. 

They are a band with unidentifiably individual voices and sounds, chiselling out quintessential jazz songs through deep tones and jokey ad-libs to heighten everything they originally stood for. 

With a wish to “have [their] own sound while paying respect to the tradition and to the music of the city,” Peters also said that the key to their artistry is “immersing [themselves] in the material.” 

Brass, strings, and percussion from ‘Marty Peters and the Party Meters’ all come together in a drowsy haze that gets everyone up on their feet and leaves them there.

The Phunky Monkeys

“The magic was in the record itself,” frontman Michael Taylor said about the cover band’s philosophy on performance and putting the audience first. 

A focus on the classics gives ‘The Phunky Monkeys’ the chance to re-energize previous hits, and breathe a whole new life into the core songs that founded the classic NOLA sound – they are an emblem of the mixed music palette that New Orleans is all about.

Covering artists all the way from John Mellencamp to Doja Cat to Tina Turner, with over 1100 songs in their repertoire, the NOLA music scene is anything but one-dimensional. “There’s a lot of different subcultures that all take precedence […] and they all have space to live and breathe in New Orleans” Taylor said.

Taylor is a second generation musician and New Orleans native who always looks for the next opportunity for the 12-piece band to make it big. 

“Some people only subscribe to doing the one thing and doing it really well, but we just try to do everything well,” Taylor said. “If we’re playing a rap song, we’re trying to make it sound like a rap song […] if we’re playing a country song, we’re trying to make it sound like a country song.”

This “we want to play what they want to hear” mantra that Taylor discussed, sets the band apart from the run-of-the mill cover acts and tribute bands. ‘The Phunky Monkeys’ tailor their music so by the end of the night the voices of the crowd are singing the songs for them.


“I don’t love New Orleans, I’m in love with New Orleans. It’s like this passionate affair” the 12-year New Orleans local, Mignano said.

His self-acclaimed “apocalyptic rock” and “neo-grunge” sound certainly lives up to expectation, with a hellish tinge of lyric and style taking hold of any stage or record that ‘Drab’ makes their mark on. Taking clear inspiration from rock legends “Nirvana and Soundgarden,” according to Mignano.

Between knife-edge vocals and killer guitar licks, this trio are no strangers to hard work and are pioneering the up-and-coming underground rock scene in NOLA, alongside bands like ‘Silver Dose’ and ‘She Might Be a Beast’. 

The band arose out of the COVID-19 pandemic and have went from strength to strength since. Building on their 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Bourbon street gigs to the release of their January 2022 self-titled album – garnering the band over 3200 monthly listeners on Spotify. 

Migano commented on the “vibe of hopelessness and paranoia” of the album as almost a mirror image to the chaos and instability of the pandemic that it was recorded during.

Put some respect on the New Orleans music scene

This birthplace of jazz gives the modern-day musicians of the New Orleans music scene some pretty big shoes to fill. With a pressure to stay true to the musical tradition by paying homage to the trailblazers – for giving NOLA the chance to become the thriving music scene it is today.

We must “pay homage to this music […] take care of this music” and “play good music with the respect that it deserves” Peters said. With some of the bands having “direct lineage to the real roots of the music of this city,” like Charlie Gabriel and his performances at Preservation Hall. 

Gabriel is a New Orleans local who has performed traditional jazz for over 70 years, with mesmerizing accolades like joining the Lionel Hampton band at age 16 and performing in Aretha Franklin’s Orchestra. 

Maintaining a standard is especially key as “oftentimes [for visitors to New Orleans] this is the first experience people have with traditional jazz,” the ‘Marty Peters and the Party Meters’ frontman remarked.

With such golden history books behind NOLA’s music scene, there’s no doubt artists have to (and do) live up to an expectation of bringing it every night they hit the stage.

The strife and struggle of the New Orleans music scene

“New Orleans has a musical community that’s unlike any I have ever experienced” Peters said.

Each of these artists can attest to the beauty that the NOLA community has to offer, especially through the recent hardships it’s faced that’ve taken a real toll on the lively Louisiana city. 

COVID-19 left the streets of New Orleans soundless as the virus threatened lives and forced people into their homes.

Whilst the nine-day August to September stretch of Hurricane Ida further ravaged the city with severe flooding and wreckage. Ida’s 150mph winds left NOLA powerless as local lives hung in the balance.

Though these disasters only strengthened the celebrated community spirit that New Orleans is renowned for. The locals and their unbreakable spirit is “just like a big hug,” Peters said.

Other infamous music scenes like NYC (where Peters grew up) can be less accommodating, especially to new musicians on the block, with an almost “cutthroat” feel to it Peters said. 

The level of welcome you instantly feel in New Orleans is second-to-none.

These support networks are upheld by the distinct diversity of the city, in both the wider community and the musicians communities too: “there’s space for everybody, of all genres of all skill levels of all types of bands,” Taylor said.

“It’s just how it is in New Orleans. It’s like this incestuous group of musicians that all play with each other,” Mignano said in light of the community-feel the city exudes. 

The highlights and the road ahead

But for all three musicians, and the scene at large, the road ahead is bright.

With stellar past achievements like ‘The Phunkey Monkey’s’ playing halftime for The Pelicans, and for The Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV party in Miami in 2010. A “huge huge moment” for Taylor as a lifelong Saints fan.

To Peters’ playing at the Brooklyn ‘House of Yes’ and coordinating his Southern drawls with the burlesque dancers song requests – playing songs that were “so dirty motel funky that the ‘M’ on the sign flickered off and it’s just ‘OTEL’ funky.”

Even to Mignano playing at Millennium Park in Chicago and opening for his heroes like Luther Dickinson and North Mississippi, which was “worth more than a million bucks” for the lead ‘Drab’ vocalist.  

With dreams like touring the EU, White House gigs, and playing at big Louisiana festivals on the horizon, there’s no telling how far the artists in New Orleans can go.

“We really enjoy what we do […] Not a lot of people can say that they’re truly happy in their job” Taylor said, which perfectly sums up the spirit of the Big Easy.

Unified. Innovative. Caring.

Harry Belafonte turns 95 and in celebration we get a new anthem ‘I Believe’

In celebration of Harry Belafonte and his legacy and new single has surfaced from The Gathering for Justice camp featuring Mysonne the General, Keris Love, Jackie Cruz, Feefa, Carmen Perez, and the legendary Belafonte.

An ode to the civil rights movement saw The Gathering for Justice nonprofit activist organization take to the music booth with their recording of the new single “I Believe.”

The single will drop on March 1, 2022, featuring artists involved with the two state-based task forces under the bracket of The Gathering for Justice organization.

Artists have set the stage to pay their respects in the perfect setting, as the single goes live on Harry Belafonte’s 95th birthday.

The New York native pioneered the mainstream Caribbean-American music tradition, founding the nonprofit Gathering for Justice in 2005 too. 

“When the music is strong, the movement is strong…”

– Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte said, highlighting how the arts can be the key that unlocks freedom for the masses. Artists are just as important as government officials or legislators in catalyzing the march towards a fairer tomorrow. 

i believe single
Photo Courtesy Gathering for Justice

The Gathering for Justice’s goal is to represent black and brown lives and the injustice that they face today against the backdrop of inequalities of the American justice system.   

“Music is the heartbeat of the soul. The drum combined with the lyrics and rhythm create the energy that many of us need to keep on fighting against the ills of our society and towards our collective liberation,” Carmen Perez-Jordan, CEO of The Gathering for Justice, said.

Perez-Jordan commented on the upcoming single, stating that it “is our generation’s anthem that inspires and energizes us to keep on fighting.”

‘I Believe is an ode to the movement; it’s an offering that we as artists are giving, because we know it’s our duty to use our platform and our gifts to curate the narrative of why we fight for the liberation of all oppressed people,” said Keris Lové, an activist and Justice League NYC member, commented. 

“It not only speaks on our current movement, but it also pays homage to our elders whose shoulders we stand on. For we know that we are here because of them and are simply carrying the torch.” 

– Keris Love, Activist

Jackie Cruz went on to comment on the single’s power in the community. “The collaboration between Black and Latino artists matters because our communities are interconnected…”

“Our unity is powerful, and Mr. Belafonte has always stood for that. I’m honored to be featured on the I Believe single.”

– Jackie Cruz

Meet Dad Bodi: The new rapper we bump every day

Dad Bodi is an independent artist looking to “get [his] bread and cater to [his] fanbase” above all else. Still undecided about involvement with major record labels, Bodi is a rapper that claims the space of unsigned artists with pride. 

“I’m not trying to be Drake or nothing like that,” the 26-year-old rapper from Raleigh, North Carolina said. 

“I pretty much put myself into my music,” the up-and-coming artist said, and he won’t stop until he’s at the top of his game on his own terms.

Whether you’ve heard the Bodi essentials from “Bodi and Friends” to “Credit Card,” or you’ve only just opened the vault to more hidden gems like “Coulda Been,” Dad Bodi is a rapper with trajectory.

The artist started the ‘Bodi brand’ after realizing he needed “a name that was gonna stick out.” His signature ski mask set up and the Dad Bodi name were Bodi’s first steps in carving out his place in the rap game. 

Level after level, the rapper has started to make his mark on the music scene. “I would tell myself to get a home studio earlier,” the artist said with a smirk.

Thinking back on it, Dad Bodi was keen to emphasize how important it is to take care of your music – to put in what you want to get out. 

dad bodi artwork

From starting off as “​damn-near like a music nerd,” to becoming a hotshot SoundCloud rapper and verified Spotify artist with almost 24,000 monthly listeners, Dad Bodi takes pride in his evolution as an artist.

The further Dad Bodi gets into his groove, the more renowned the evasive and hard ski mask-bound image is starting to become. 

Dad Bodi’s work to date

So far, the rapper has dropped three albums and two EPs, – with a variety of singles – allowing his ability to produce work with quality and quantity to speak for itself. 

His latest work “Hold It Down” has over 2000 plays already on Spotify, whilst his other recent drop “Fix It” really stood out to him with a distinct “plug-type sound.” 

Both releases resemble just how confident the rapper is in what his work is all about. “I definitely feel like I have a signature sound, it’s kinda more like a laid-back trap,” he said when describing the beats and flow that have that quintessential Dad Bodi vibe. 

The trap musician “gravitate[s] towards style” and has a clear confidence in what works for him as both an artist and an individual. 

Dad Bodi owes a lot of his production credits to underground producer Icy Twat, and is a big fan of other producers like Cardo Got Wings and Pi’erre Bourne – “that’s the type of beat I am tryna rap on,” said Dad Bodi. 

Though the rapper backs himself and his talents regardless of external help and production, describing himself as “pretty consistent [… and] prolific” in his field.  

The visual identity Dad Bodi has engineered for himself comes across in his music videos and social media presence.

From humble beginnings, as someone who started off virtually clueless to what the rap scene was all about, to an identifiable musician with a recognizable aesthetic of attitude and reverence for where it all started for the North Carolina native.  

Bodi’s collective and potential NFTs

Back in 2018, Bodi formed a “loose collective” of TommyxBoi and himself called ‘Champagne Club.’ 

This acted as a launching pad for Dad Bodi’s career, as “there’s strength in numbers” the artist said. ‘Champagne Club’ allowed him to reach new audiences for his beats, and have new platforms where he could express himself, by pushing past the boundaries of his immediate circles. 

This collective has been a major turning point for the artist in many ways, especially with how ‘Champagne Club’ collaborator and high school friend TommyxBoi “damn near taught [Bodi] how to rap.” 

The musician is excited to take his collection even further by eventually starting his own label, to facilitate the careers of other like-minded artists new to the scene just like he was back in 2018.

Bodi also talked to us about his future steps as an artist through his potential for involvement with NFTs going forward. “I gotta do my research before I just jump into it,” Dad Bodi said.  

Love for that Bodi 

“I get a lot of love,” Bodi said as he reflected on the outpouring of appreciation and love he gets on social media.

With at least one to two DMs every day and over 1000 followers on Instagram, the rapper smiled saying “it’s really genuine, and they’ll just be quoting the lyrics to me.” 

All his viewers and fans tune in from across the globe, with supporters from across America, reaching states like Wisconsin, to international fanbases in places like Italy and South Africa – “they’re tuning in from everywhere man,” said Dad Bodi.  

We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the masked maverick next.

Tune into Gatekeepers of Truth: A collision of art and activism

Looking to further the discussion within marginalized communities Gatekeepers of Truth exemplifies unity in the face of injustice. The goal of the nonprofit activist organization: The Gathering for Justice.

This Tuesday at 6.30 pm, the group will host a livestream special “Gatekeepers of Truth” with guests: Danny Glover, Ebro Darden, and Carmen Perez-Jordan.

Gatekeepers of Truth presented by The Gathering For Justice and Hot 97

“Intergenerational dialogue is crucial to inspiring the future of activism. When we understand how our elders moved the needle, it gives us ideas for how to harness our creativity and energy to take it further,” said President and CEO of the nonprofit Perez-Jordan. 

The three hosts will talk about how artists past and present harness their art to promote black and brown lives amidst a legal framework built to suffocate them.

In collaboration with Hot 97 radio, The Gathering for Justice campaigners will discuss the harsh realities that children endure and racial inequalities that plague today’s judicial and prison systems. In a bid to effect positive change and spark conversations every one of us must-have.  

Today’s Hot 97 Gatekeepers of Truth live stream will see members of The Gathering for Justice organization come together in conversation on these topics. 

Perez-Jordan will guide the discussion, as The Gathering for Justice board member Darden and long-time organization friend Glover join in.

“I’m very excited to join Danny and Ebro in this special program,” said Perez-Jordan. 

The Gathering for Justice activist organization was founded in 2005 with two state-based task forces: Justice League NYC, and Justice League California.

They use “juvenile and criminal justice experts, advocates, artists and individuals who’ve experienced or been impacted by incarceration directly” in order to engineer change

The ideology of “nonviolence as a social application for systemic change and civic engagement,” is at the heart of these organizations. Gatekeepers of Truth only hope to further the discussion.

Ray Da Yungin: The visionary rapping to save his community

Eleven-year-old rapper Ray Da Yungin creates fire lyrics with vibe and flow but doesn’t miss his shot to speak on gun violence in his community.

The independent artist from Louisiana described his sound as “definitely one of a kind,” as he blends Hip-Hop and RnB stylings through his sharp lyrics. 

Ray Da Yungin came onto the scene in 2019, with his debut single “Up Next,” and has since released his first album “Look Out World” with 8 tracks and 15,539 streams on Spotify.

All under his own self-created music label ‘MadHouse Muzik.’ 

An antidote to the hate-violence epidemic

Kid visionary Ray is on a path to make a change for both himself and those around him, amidst the current national epidemic of gun violence and police brutality against Black Americans.

“It always feels good to express myself through music,” said Ray.

His most recent release “Miss You” reflects on the deaths of his two school friends, 12-year-old Xavier Perry and 13-year-old Oxford “Ox” Foster who lost their lives to gun violence and a car crash respectively. Ray calls attention to how difficult dealing with loss and trauma is, especially at such a young age.

With lyrics like:

“How do I handle all this so young?/ Yeah, how do I know if I’m ‘posed to cry? Every day know I thank God we breathin’/But why I feel like all my brothers leaving…’”

Ray uses his song almost like his own personal grieving ground, giving his all to make sure he remembers his brothers and spreads the message he wants us all to hear.

That we have to stop the violence and hate that caused such tragic deaths.

Rapper Ray’s “Miss You” lyrics and music video are crucial for today’s rap game. They aren’t just a general commentary on – and protest against – the murderous environment that Black people face, like Childish Gambino’s “This is America,” Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar’s “Freedom,” or J. Cole’s “Be Free.”

Ray actually gets into a story of personal trauma and loss, that should drive home exactly why: gun violence, racial profiling and brutality, and the Black poverty line are problems we must solve right here and right now.

Anecdotal and storytelling rap should be at the forefront of the BLM movement right now, and Ray is taking a huge step forward to help achieve that.

He is stepping up to the plate alongside artists like Janelle Monae and her track “HELL YOU TALMBOUT,” which mentions specific tragedies at the hands of racism and prejudice:

“Trayvon Martin, won’t you say his name?/Sean Bell, say his name.”

Ray Da Yungin and reconciling hatred with music

With mass shootings becoming a daily occurrence in America (shown through record-highs of 610 mass shootings in 2020), gun violence is a serious threat to any American’s life.

Never mind when weapons of mass murder are driven by poisonous American societal norms – endorsing harmful preconceptions and racist attitudes in the country’s highest institutions.

The police, the courts, and even the White House itself have been twisted and tainted with bloodied footprints and answerable bullet holes. Ray Da Yungin takes an active stand against this in “Miss You,” leaving the listener empowered with love and commemoration for victims of such senseless gun violence.

But much more importantly, Ray is paving the way for the most powerful tools we have. 

Our voices. 

“Tap into whatever it is you like to do as long as it’s positive. Try to do it as much as possible and you’ll feel better.”

– Ray Da Yungin

Ray Da Yungin is breathing new life into this simple power that we all have to make a difference. Just within our reach, we have voices and hearts that can protest with more fire and power than the firing of a gun ever could, and Ray is here to remind us of that.

With his flow stressing just how bad the losses can be, alongside just how equally strong the justice for them can be:   

“Oh you know imma miss you/Real life I was just ‘wit you/These memories never gone fade away/Make sure that they don’t forget you.” 

His melodic bars hit us in just the right place, and all that from an 11-year-old makes you think that any notion we have of being powerless is false.

Ray demonstrates to us all that it just takes one voice to make a change

Future plans

The future is bright for the young star, as Ray Da Yungin gives himself hope each day. “In the next 5 years it’s my hope for me and MadHouse Muzik to be at the top of the game,” Ray Da Yungin said. 

Let’s see what’s next for the Ray Da Yungin