I have been working in a varieties of ways to support the underground, independent, unknown artists since the days of Flava Coffee House 2003-2008 to now the days after Flava. Before closing the doors of Flava I got into online promotions and marketing for a variety of artists but heavy in the literary industry. In 2008 I hosted a literary conference at Flava Coffee House and it was a great success with Authors and Fans of Literature flying in for a 3 day weekend event including folks and Authors from Seattle.
The literary conference was a success because there was a team that was created by the co-host of this event and everyone put in the hard work to promote and invite people to pay attention, to join the event and to take part in the excitement of the whole experience. This took place back in the days when MySpace was the place to hangout and Facebook was just being created.
Fast forwarding to 2017, a new year in the game of creative soulz, I have decided to embark on a new beginning for myself personally and professionally. I made the decision to move to Vegas, the Entertainment Capitol of the World. I have colleagues there along with a “following” from my great connection to Sherry Gordy (Berry Gordy of Motown’s daughter) and Lillian Rice of The Love The Muzic Entertainment and Productions. Plus my business partner, Marc VanClaggett Owner and CEO of Marlex Records relocated to Vegas with our Indie Record Label.
I had come up with what I believe is a great concept for an ongoing Indie Artists Showcase where there would be no more that 3 acts spotlighted. The goal was and is to fly artists in from around the country, provide lodging for them and an professional showcase to be featured and paid for their performance. After processing if I could do this in Seattle with my business partner Jace ECAj of Black Stax, we decided that Seattle struggles in supporting the culturally diverse art seen and artists walk away disappoint more often then not. So I had a grand idea, why not do it in Vegas…So Flava’s Lounge is birthed and will take place in Las Vegas< NV with the support of my colleagues who also loves the concept.
Now how do we fund this concept and get if off the ground. Every business needs money to build from, and I am not a person with a lot of money, so where will the MONEY come from or where SHOULD it come from. I feel that anyone that believes in the concept that I come up with and the artists I support in a variety of ways on my radio shows and promoting to my networks a several social media sites…they should come on board with me and help me raise the funds to support the beginnings of Flava’s Lounge. I feel we the people should be our own investors…But They Don’t or very few have stepped up to support the concept and need. I am so extremely grateful to those that have give and in-kind gift and I am still hopeful that others will come on board.
Before my Daddy’s passing last year, he gave $100.00 a month towards Unity Through Arts Exchange/Flava’s Lounge because he believed in it and wanted to show his support in hopes that will encourage others to join in. I have tried to encourage especially Indie Artists to join me in building by everyone giving a $1.00 to $5.00/$10.00 a month and we could raise a significant amount in a short amount of time…What a struggle, the numbers will not come on board with this concept and join me in building a foundation for ARTISTS.
I have wondered is it because they do not give because there is a lack of trust in me? I have been consistent over 10 years in doing the work…shouldn’t that be proof that I am sincere in what I want to do in support of great talents. I shake my head in disbelief and with lack of understanding on what I need to say and do to get people on board with Unity Through Arts Exchange/Flava’s Lounge.
I am the face of FLAVA’S LOUNGE #VEGAS, but the project is for Quality Indie Artists that have Mastered their Craft and ready to hit a stage in Vegas. I came up with Flava’s Lounge based off of conversations that I have had time and time again, with disappointed Indie Artists from here in Seattle where I am, to across the United States to even around The Globe…Indie Artists are treated like the industry’s step children, than with the support and respect that many of them deserve. I want to make sure everyone that needs to and deserves to gets paid, to be apart of Flava’s Lounge. I do not want to base the responsibilities on what is made at the door, and I don’t want to seek any investor who I will need to payback with interest, immediately after the show. I have heard horrible stories about both ways.
Tell me, am I wrong for believing that we can united to create our own lane? Am I wrong for wanting to raise the funds to pay for the venue, light & sound person, pay the band and DJ and pay 3 amazing featured performers? It feels like I am wrong to want to do this, or I am not famous enough for people to come on board.
So I face a great challenge in supporting Indie Artists. Everything that I do in support of Indie Artists, I pay for from my own money with no reimbursement from anywhere. Does it make me bitter, no just frustrated. I want to build with others and give others, I would like to have a planning committee to help make the decisions of how this will come together and who should be chosen for the event. It would be awesome to build this to the point, where I can hire staff and turn it into a profit making business that grows and grows in it’s capabilities.
We live in an era where people feel “entitled” and want this handed to them verses working hard with the right people to created opportunities. I personally and professionally feel that the digital era has taken the value away from paying for Art…Once upon a time you knew when a new album, 45, book or movie was going to come out and you saved the money to purchase the product and the experience. Now it’s all about digital downloads and everything needs to be purchased online verses an actual store. I also believe the digital downloads looses sales because not everyone has the capability to buy online or they do not feel comfortable in buying online. So how does that dilemma get resolved?
How do we come together and make success stories for many in the Indie Artists Community…Can we build it together, or is that just out of the question? I thank my Daddy and the few that have given to Unity Through Arts Exchange/Flava’s Lounge…Together we have raised $724.00 ($500.00 of it was gifted from Unity Through Arts Exchange) I have set up a CD Account for the money that has been raised through www.gofundme.com/flavaslounge along with in-kind gifts I receive in person, and through paypal and square.
I have been given information for an arts grant that I am going to apply for. So send me good vibes that I will be among the ones selected. It will help expand my radio show, host Flava’s Lounge and develop a strong promotional and marketing program for everything I do in support of local, national and international indie artists. And when I speak about Artists, I am speaking about Artists of all genres and all art forms.
At times I feel like giving up, but then I wake up and continue to promote and encourage people, Artists, Industry People, Fans and those that Follow me on Social Media to join me in building this foundation for Indie Artists, I am pulled into my purpose and mission…I am Grassroots but effective in so many ways and I want to keep this concept and project grassroots.
For Us By Us (Daymond John FUBU) We really don’t need anyone but ourselves to build. Think about it…Jace ECAj and I have had a conversation many times over the years that goes like this “if everyone we knew and everyone on our social medias gave $1.00, that would amount to a great foundation to work from.” When I speak to my business mentor she gets frustrated and says, Susan, you should be asking for $100.00 and not $1.00.” I understand why she says this and I believe that it will get to that point where I can and will be able to request more…Today, my request is based more on united than the actually amount donated.
I have had the opportunity to have a matching funds sponsor. The requirements was to raise a certain dollar amount and by a certain number of people and they would match what was raise. Well, you can guess that, that didn’t happen.
I would love some feedback from people on what I am trying to do in support of creating an Indie Artists Platform and Foundation of Financial Support.
We are living in a time where our country is falling apart, not coming together based on the person that somehow was voted into our presidential office.
People still don’t understand that we have power in uniting together to effect change. I am here to advocate in making a change and placing value on Indie Artists and allowing them to be financially compensated for their creativity. Could you imagine if ART did not exist? No music, no books, no visual art, no creative chefs, no clothing designers…no colors and designs, no textures…Art is all around us every single day, I think we take that for granted.
I fight for Underground, Independent Artists, The Unknown Artists…I see them as amazing soulz that need a leg up for mass exposure. I will continue to advocate for Unity Through Arts Exchange/Flava’s Lounge. Several times before my Daddy passed in 2016, he told me that my ministry was with artists, and I take this very seriously, this is not a game nor pass time for me.
Again, I hope you will post your thoughts, I appreciate your feedback.
Learn more about Unity Through Arts Exchange and Flava’s Lounge by clicking the links below.
Unity Through Arts Exchange www.gofundme.com/flavamarlex Building a support foundation for Artists from all art forms and genres.
Flava’s Lounge #Vegas Meet & Greet, Open Mic and Showcase 2017 www.gofundme.com/flavaslounge
Lady Flava of
Lady Flava News www.flavanews.com
FMarlex Artists Services www.fmarlexconsult ing.com
FCH206 Radio-Seattle, WA www.blogralkradio.com/fch205radio
Marlex Records www.marlexrecords.com