27 Oct City’s 22 black stars of future celebrated in stunning mura…
An incredible mural has been unveiled in the heart of Digbeth as an inspiring tribute to 22 of the city’s brightest black artists, creatives and influencers.
The traffic-stopping mural covers an entire building at the corner of Meriden Street and Bordesley Street, stretching from pavement to roofline.
It was created by artist Gent 48, a renowned graffiti artist and illustrator, to mark the week long Bass Festival 2019 , coordinated by Punch Records.
The festival culminates featured a music weekender which finishes today (Sunday) at The Vault Business Centre, Bordesley, with performances by artists, speakers and poets.
Now in its 13th year, this year’s event has been curated by Aliyah Hasinah and Rtkal and showcases exclusively black performers.
The giant mural is an expression of their desire to showcase the depth of talent in the city, much of it unheralded.
Said Aliyah: “We wanted to look forward and have a sharp focus on the creative but not just famous artists, people who we feel are really pushing the boundaries. We have some obvious choices in there but also some new faces as the list was hugely complex. We could only submit 20 but we actually had 50 in our first shortlist!”
Rtkal added: “It really was hard. I’m proud of this city and the talent it creates – knowing that we’re only able to highlight a few of our future stars has been tough. I hope we have done the city proud.”
Rapper Lady Sanity said she was honoured to be part of the mural. “Birmingham is full of so many amazing talents so to be incorporated into this is amazing.”
Who’s Who on the mural
Alexandria Chantiluke is a menswear fashion designer, born in Kingstanding. Her designs include ‘Swamp81’, a selection inspired by Handsworth riots in the 1980s.
Amahra Spence is an artist, public speaker and producer. Amahra’s work focuses on equity, ownership, people power and citizenship. In 2013, Amahra established MAIA Creatives CIC – a development and production company realigning the arts in Birmingham with a sharp focus on justice and social change.
Cherrelle Skeete is a Birmingham born professional actress who has featured in The Lion King in the West End. She’s starred in BBC’s Call The Midwife and other TV productions.
Daniel Alexander is a director, filmmaker and a BAFTA member. Daniel has won multiple awards for his work and has produced music videos, commercials and film projects with clients around the world, including the Birmingham handover to the Commonwealth Games, viewed by millions. Daniel has collaborated and delivered creative development programmes with the likes of the BBC Academy and BFI.
Dapz On The Map (DOTM) is a grime MC who began his music career in 2009. He expresses his topical and personal views through his music, inspired by garage, jungle, dancehall and underground grime and rap.
Darren Harriott is a stand up comedian, presenter and comedy writer. Darren has appeared on shows, including Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central and Live at the Apollo.
Despa is a creative entrepreneur and music manager. In 2008, Despa helped to establish ‘Stay Fresh Entertainment’, a label and production house, before launching his own BE83 Music Group, which supports new talent including Dapz On The Map, Jaykae and Remtrex.
Jacob Banks is a British Nigerian singer, originally born in Nigeria, who moved to Birmingham aged 13. Jacob debuted his titled EP ‘The Monologue’ and has supported Alicia Keys, Emeli Sandé and Sam Smith on their UK tours. He now tours globally and has a massive following in the USA.
Jorja Smith is an international singer-songwriter, originally from Walsall. Her main influences are Amy Winehouse, Damian Marley and Lauryn Hill. In June 2018, Jorja released her debut album titled ‘Lost & Found’ and has worked with the likes of Dizzee Rascal, Kali Uchis, Stormzy and Drake.
Knox Brown is a songwriter, producer and sometimes performer. Originally from Jamaica, he came to Birmingham at the age of 12. He has produced and written for various artists including Emeli Sande, Wretch 32, Beyoncé and Jay-Z. Knox also released his own EP, featuring “Harry’s Code”.
Lady Sanity is an award winning hip hop maverick who has performed at Glastonbury, MADE festival and the Commonwealth Games 2018 closing ceremony. She has also supported the likes of KRS One, Roxanne Shante and Lowkey. She embarked on her first UK tour last year.
Leon Edwards is a Mixed Martial Artist (MMA), originally from Kingston, Jamaica, who grew up in Birmingham. Leon is currently signed with Ultimate Fighting Championship as a welterweight, after turning professional in 2011.
Liz Pemberton is an inspirational nursery manager in Birmingham who holds multiple qualifications and believes in equality and citizenship. She has welcomed celebrities such as David Harewood to the nursery she manages.
Mellow is the founder of the award winning Mellow’s Catering Ltd and Mellows bar and restaurant based in Birmingham city centre. Mellow has provided catering services for celebrities, such as Chip, Lethal Bizzle, Giggs and more, with his bespoke approach to Caribbean cuisine.
Muna Ruumi is an up and coming music manager from Birmingham who has worked closely with artists, including Lottoboyz, Jaykae and Dapz on the Map. She owns her own music lable BHX MVMNT, which focuses on new music including trap, drill, hip-hop and grime.
Mystry is an extraordinary producer and DJ, who played on the legendary city centre radio station Silk City. His remix of Pulse 8 raised his profile and he now travels the globe performing.
ROMderful is a music producer from Birmingham, who has been producing music and playing the guitar from the age of nine. His main influences are nature, jazz, orchestral music, and late 90s and early 2000s RnB. He has worked alongside singer Emmavie and producer DEFFIE.
Suriya Aisha is a major force in the city – a leading creative producer, she founded Unmuted (a network for people of colour who identify as LGBTQI+). She is a TEDX Brum speaker.
Swifta Beater is a DJ, influencer and music producer. His back catalogue features numerous instrumentals – he has worked alongside the likes of Big Narstie, Scrufizzer, JME, Stormzy and Giggs.
T-Roadz is a young MC from Birmingham, who has been featured on multiple platforms including SBTV and Link Up TV. He recently delivered his Lord Of The Mics hype session and has released his new single ‘Grime MC’, complete with black-and-white video.
TrueMendous is a conscious rapper using poetry and punch lines, constantly pushing lyrical boundaries, performing internationally.
Xhosa Cole is a major force in the upcoming young British jazz scene. A Birmingham born saxophonist, he started playing aged 12, playing the tenor at Andy Hamilton’s Ladywood Community Music School. In 2018, he won the BBC Young Jazz Musician award and was part of the largescale community project 4 Wards.