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Swizz Beatz inspires at NYC Bacardi Rum Room for ‘No Commission’ at Miami Art Basel

On the late great Gordon Parks’ birthday, the maestro Swizz Beatz was conducting an artsy show of his own at the PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown in NYC. For the night,  Swizz and The Dean Collection were to host another generous opportunity for creatives.

This time it was a celebration of NY cultures captured candidly on film. Fifty who did it the best were selected to showcase their works in the labyrinth-like Bacardi Rum Room.

For sure this was more than an opportunity, it was a moment and not just for the photographers — it was a moment in time for every single aspiring artist that was in attendance.


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It ain’t a movie dawg it’s a ZONE! #bacardirumroom

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Whether a photographer, writer, painter, sculptor, or record spinner it didn’t matter what beat of creative life you might’ve spawned from to get into that packed club. If you were there, that night, Swizz should’ve inspired you.

Only a handful of security guards watched Swizz at a distance while he was strolling through the many photographed works by those who won the creative competition. It took some time for people to notice that Swizz was just browsing but soon enough the selfies and photographs began. Still, that didn’t bother Swizz.

He spoke to some of the artists that were in attendance, dapped it up with his fans, and posed for pictures. People were thankful for his attendance and those who won couldn’t help but express their gratitude.

Native New Yorker and a winner, Janis Wilkins has captured photographs and created art for 30 years. Still, the opportunity meant a lot to her and for her career. She said,

“I’m thrilled to be included in this show. I love that Swizz is so receptive and open to embracing photographers and offering so many opportunities. It gives affirmation to all the work that I’ve been doing…”

For self-taught lensman and fellow winner Evan Ross, the occasion was a very “important metaphor.” He said,

“As a street photographer, you are just a documentarian. You’re just documenting life and you have to catch it from an angle where people will find value in it… There are so many things that you walk by every day that you probably take for granted because you see it all the time. But for someone else to be able to catch a perspective of your experience and where you’re from is priceless…  “

There was a good spirit flowing around the room. Everyone felt it. Still, Swizz kept a confident humility.

The Dean Collection’s photographic presentation at the Bacardi Rum Room in NYC is only a tiny taste for what is to come at this year’s Miami Art Basel. At the world-renowned art show, set to commence this week, ‘No Commision’ will set the bar high for other collectors and galleries who try to pinch pennies from artists.

Trust that if he could do it, Swizz would have “20 shows plus” going on simultaneously. His support for creativity is natural but dishing out hope to artistic visionaries is also a big responsibility.

Before he made his way downstairs to crush his DJ performance in one of the Rum Rooms, he expressed to me how much bigger and better he wants to go after every event. Swizz told me,

“This is something I’m just doing naturally. After coming in here, seeing all of these artists, the super talent, the amazing work that’s in here, and the amazing vibe; it’s like, man, I wish I was able to let like 300,000 more people show their work tonight. Swizz continued, “I’m about to come with a way where we can show 20 plus shows at one time… ZONE!”


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“THE DEAN” #AiCreô

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Downstairs the artful maestro killed his set and in between songs he would speak on the harsh realities that creatives experience. In a way, it was like he was giving a hip-hop induced sermon.

You could see how much he inspired the crowd as those enjoying the performance would stop dancing and listened whenever Swizz paused the music and said something. Over the mic he said,

“Our culture is a target because it’s powerful. People only care about things that are powerful. Everyone in this room is powerful and that’s why everybody in this room is under attack. That’s why the artists and the creatives are the least paid in the world even though we run the businesses’ billions around the world…”


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“UP NEXT” #AiCreô

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Truth be told we should all be excited for what’s in store for Swizz Beatz, The Dean Collection, and No Commission because with all of this inspiration creatives will be empowered to support only economic systems that work in their favor.

“You don’t understand your power? Understand your power man because when you understand it they can’t take it from you. What you don’t know you’re going to pay for,” said Swizz.

Don’t stop dreaming.