Most heads with any sort of hand or ear to the Jersey scene has heard of Broadway Blake. Born and raised in one of Newark’s toughest neighborhoods, Blake — like many of his peers — needed all the inspiration he could find. Luckily hip hop was the escape that provided him that. He came in the game with a strong mixtape run, followed by a solid indie release, Broadway Empire. He’s currently to work towards Broadway Empire 2 while contributing as a member of the buzz worthy LiFECREW collective.
More notably, though, Blake has transcended the everyday hustle and worked to develop a platform for talent to connect and be heard — offline. Vibes In The City held weekly in the heart of Newark, has become a successful series, thus far running for over year.
“I started Vibes In The City because I felt like there was so much talent in Jersey, but not enough opportunities,” says Blake. “There’s not enough outlets and platforms where the artist can build and network on a regular basis.” As an artist himself, he understands the frustration of having to go “out of town” to feel like your moving your career forward — especially when you have to consider travel and living expenses. “It’s a lot of money for starving artists to get a foot in the door.” He initially wanted to build something locally; something that artists felt like they were getting value from by building their network and fan base.
“I also thought it would be perfect for us to have a home where we can practice our craft — even if it was just once a week,” Blake also notes. “Luckily, I’ve been able to build it with people who have a similar vision for it as me. For a long time Jersey had a stigma of not wanting to support our own, so we wanted to be one of the outlets that broke that wall down. I had the idea for Vibes In The City in my notebook for at least 5-6 years, and I would always go back to it and tweak things based on other events I would attend.”
Once Blake found the perfect location, everything fell into place, and Vibes In The City was born on January 6th, 2016. Since then it has become a “haven” for artists in the community. However, it beginning to branch out further than even Blake had initially imagined; “through our social media presence, we have been able to attract artists from all over the world — including Brazil, Miami, Milwaukee, Philly … that’s just to name a few.”
“To date, we have been going 70 consecutive weeks, and every day we think of ways to evolve it make it more beneficial for artists, fans and our independent scene as a whole.” What started as a goal to have a weekly hub is always evolving in concept, and Blake and his co-founders have lofty goals for its future. “Why not Coachella? Why not Afropunk Fest? Why not Made In America or SXSW? Of course, we’re talking about five maybe even 10+ years from now — but why not think as big as possible? Thanks to the endless amounts of talents and creative minds we’ve been able to meet through Vibes In The City, the plans are unlimited.”
If you’re in the Tri-State, drop by Vibes In The City any — or every — Wednesday; if you’re an artist, get at Blake and be a part of