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Statement From Chris Rockwell Regarding
2018 Asbury Music Awards

By Chris Rockwell

originally published: 04/10/2018

Statement From Chris Rockwell Regarding 2018 Asbury Music Awards

The Asbury Music Awards will take place on Thursday, April 12 at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ.  Every year fosters discussions; some of which get pretty heated. Chris Rockwell, one of artists nominated this year, believes there is an important issue that needs to be raised this year.  The following is a public statement he made on social media that he has provided to us as well.

It's been over ten years since I first started out performing in Asbury Park. My first performance there was during the Wave Gathering, when Rick Barry invited me to do a show with him at Twisted Tree Cafe. I felt very welcomed since day one, even though I was a poet who rapped with a band. Nobody was really sure what to do with me, but they still took me in. We all know how much things have changed in the elapse of that decade. We were doing poetry on Cookman Avenue when most of the buildings still had wooden windows, and Langosta Lounge was a shady dive called Club Deep. Now, there are bigger venues with better sound systems, and more money being poured into it all, but one thing has not changed. All the venues are still being booked by straight white people, and mostly older white dudes. 

So I'm here asking myself why I'm even shocked right now. Why I'm surprised that the Asbury Music Awards, a local beacon of light illuminating the best of our talent pool, is mostly just shining on the white people. Why, out of the literal hundreds of nominees, there are roughly ten black people. Why there is no rap category, despite the fact that rap music has been dominating the charts for the past five years. Despite the fact that rap acts had played to sold out and capacity crowds all over Asbury Park last year. Despite the fact that rappers have done more for charity in the past year than most of the names on that list of nominees. 

Mychal Mills is the only person hosting a regular poetry event in Asbury Park, donated his time and talent to benefit multiple charities, and was the only poet to speak at the Stand Against Hate Rally last year, and he didn't even get nominated for Poet Laureate. For those of you who don't know him, I'll let you guess what color he is. Juice has been the Remember Jones drummer for a year, and he's arguably one of the best drummers in our scene, and he was overlooked. Joe College was named one of the 31 Artists You Need to Hear in 2018 by NJ.com. New Star is one of the most significant rappers in our community, played Asbury Park six times last year, and released a record IN Asbury, and he was overlooked. Avery Rose Puryear is an unbelievable singer and keys player, and she was overlooked. Johnathan Stamper is an incredible singer/songwriter and he was overlooked. All of these people are black. Too many for this to be a coincidence, I'd say. This is what racism looks like.

I refuse to believe we're not encouraging rap music because of drugs or violence. I've seen more violence at all white punk shows than I've seen at local rap shows. I've seen knives pulled, and fists swirling in a crowd of white faces. I've seen all the drugs your little heart desires at literally every venue in Asbury, and at all white shows. When people say they don't like "the element" rap brings in, they're talking about black people. Plain and simple. This is on all of us. We're not taking them in enough. We're not making them feel welcome enough. 



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Rap and poetry matter, both locally and globally. The LA Times published an article saying that rap music has influenced pop music even more than The Beatles and the British Invasion. It's the voice of an underrepresented people. So, since these people are apparently going to continue to be underrepresented, I'm out. What kind of a friend would I be if I don’t show up when my friends need me? For the first time in ten years, I'm not going to the Asbury Music Awards. 

Sincerely,

Chris Rockwell

 

For more on Chris Rockwell visit his Bandcamp site.

Photo by Alyssa Ciervo




State Theatre Presents Diana Krall: Turn Up the Quiet Tour
(NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ) -- State Theatre New Jersey presents Diana Krall live in concert as part of her Turn Up The Quiet World Tour on Friday, October 12 at 8:00pm. Tickets range from $43-$153.50.  This concert will feature songs from Diana Krall’s stunning new album, Turn Up The Quiet, out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some fan favorites. 
Kean Stage Presents The Manhattan Transfer
(UNION, NJ) -- Going strong after more than 45 years, Grammy Award winner The Manhattan Transfer, with tenor vocals from Kean University alumnus Alan Paul '71, will captivate Kean Stage audiences with their distinctive four-part harmonies at Enlow Recital Hall on Sunday, September 30 at 3:00pm.
3rd Annual North Jersey Indie Rock Festival
(JERSEY CITY, NJ) -- The North Jersey Indie Rock Festival returns to Jersey City on October 6. Presented by Mint 400 Records and Sniffling Indie Kids, the festival includes acts from those labels and Little Dickman Records, Rhyme and Reason Records, and State Champion Records.  The festival takes place at White Eagle Hall. Doors are at 4:00pm and the music starts at 4:30pm. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
The Dryden Ensemble Presents Bach Cantata Fest
(PRINCETON, NJ) -- The Dryden Ensemble will present a Bach Cantata Fest on Saturday, October 20 at 7:30pm at Trinity Episcopal Church, 6587 Upper York Road, Solebury, Pennsylvania, and on Sunday, October 21 at 3:00pm at Miller Chapel, located on the campus of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer Street, Princeton, New Jersey. Tickets are $25 for general admission and free to students with an ID. They may be purchased at the door or online at www.drydenensemble.org.
Steve Barton & Robert Darlington From Translator To Perform at Randy Now's Man Cave
(BORDENTOWN, NJ) -- Whether it's pure pop or moody acoustic ballads, singer/songwriter/guitarist, Steve Barton, has developed a reputation for crafting some of the most literate and poignant music in underground rock.  In addition to being a founding member of the revered punk/psychedelic band Translator, perhaps best known for the Barton-penned song "Everywhere That I'm Not", he has released several solo albums.  The seventh and latest, "Tall Tales and Alibis", is a sprawling triple album tour de force filled with Steve's brand new songs, which was released in March by Sleepless Music.   To celebrate the release of the record, Barton will be making a rare live appearance with his Translator partner Robert Darlington, this Sunday, September 23 at Randy Now's Man Cave in Bordentown (134 Farnsworth Ave) at 7:00pm.  


From the Ballpark to the Concert Stage: Bernie Williams LIVE! at The Grunin Center
Fans of sports and music are lining up outside Toms River, NJ’s Grunin Center of the Arts this Saturday, September 8, 2018 for a concert by four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist/composer Bernie Williams and his All-Star Band!
“Here’s Lucie!” Lucie Arnaz LIVE! at the PNC Bank Arts Center
Even though the weather outside Holmdel, NJ’s PNC Bank Arts Center is cloudy with some light intermittent drizzle this Wednesday, September 12, 2018 afternoon, the venue’s stage is still shining brightly with talent thanks to a live performance by television, film, and stage actress/singer Lucie Arnaz!
Mike Aiken Talks About Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch At RVCC
(BRANCHBURG, NJ) -- Raritan Valley Community College presents Aiken & Friends Fest, North Branch on Friday, September 21 and Saturday, September 22.  The three-day event will feature a number of different musical shows by Mike Aiken, as well as other solo artists and groups.  
Virtuoso Jazz Violinist Jean-Luc Ponty LIVE! at the Newton Theatre
It’s a warm but lovely Aug. 23, 2018 evening here in Newton, NJ. After enjoying some hand-dipped Cliff’s ice cream from the window at Hayek Market, we march up Spring Street looking forward to hearing some world-class jazz at one of the Garden State’s favorite concert venues, The Newton Theatre.
An Interview with Bernie Williams
Four-time World Series Champion and Latin Grammy-Nominated guitarist and composer Bernie Williams will perform with his All-Star Band at the Jersey Shore this Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018 at The Grunin Center of the Arts in Toms River, NJ!










Event calendar
Saturday, Sep 22, 2018


MUSIC

Asbury Park Porchfest @ Booskerdoo, Asbury Park - 12:00pm

Carl Chesna & Co. @ Hotel Tides, Asbury Park - 1:00pm

Echoes @ The Stone Pony, Asbury Park - 7:00pm

Cole Swindell @ Hard Rock Live Etess Arena at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City, Atlantic City - 8:00pm

GRUPO NICHE @ Bergen Performing Arts Center (bergenPAC), Englewood - 8:00pm

The History of Motown @ Englewood Public Library, Englewood - 7:00pm

Drake Bell @ iPlay America, Freehold - 7:00pm

Classic Stones Live feat. The Glimmer Twins @ The Levoy Theatre, Millville - 8:00pm

Opera Theatre of Montclair Presents Hansel and Gretel @ Central Presbyterian Church, Montclair - 4:00pm


Oscar D’León with Tony Vega and Los Hermanos Moreno @ Prudential Hall @ New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Newark - 8:00pm

SunDog Band at Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ @ Duffy's Tavern, Paterson NJ, Paterson - 9:00pm

Celtic Thunder X @ Count Basie Center For The Arts, Red Bank - 8:00pm

Young Person's Concert @ River Dell Middle School Auditorium, River Edge - 1:00pm


Tigerman record release show for “Descend Into Savagery” @ Debonair Music Hall, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Hubby Jenkins @ Lizzie Rose Music Room, Tuckerton - 7:30pm







THEATRE

Souvenir @ Surflight Theatre, Beach Haven - 8:00pm

East Lynne Theater Company presents SILENT SKY @ First Presbyterian Church (Cape May), Cape May - 8:00pm

The Shuck @ Cape May Stage, Cape May - 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Incorruptible @ Ritz Theatre Company, Haddon Township - 8:00pm

West End Festival of the Arts- Theatre Brut Session 2 @ West End Arts Center, Long Branch - 2:00pm

Evita @ Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Pitman - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

Seuls en Scene French Theater Festival - "Claire, Anton et Eux" @ Class of 1970 Theatre, Whitman College, Princeton - 2:00pm and 8:00pm

HUMAN ERROR by Eric Pfeffinger @ West Windsor Arts Center, Princeton Junction - 8:00pm

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest @ Black Box PAC, Teaneck - 8:00pm

Assisted Living: The Musical @ Jay & Linda Grunin Center For The Arts At Ocean County College, Toms River - 2:00pm

Brick City @ Premiere Stages at Kean University, Union - 3:00pm


DANCE

SWAN LAKE - THE ATLANTIC CITY BALLET @ The Strand Theater, Lakewood - 7:00pm

SOLE Defined @ Mainstage @ Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC), Rahway - 8:00pm


LITERATURE

Monthly Saturday Writing Retreats @ Tiferet Journal, Bernardsville - 9:00am

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