UO Interviews: Brown State of Mind

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For this month's Local Heroes we've been working with Brown State of Mind, a local organization that helps creatives of color achieve success and recognition in the Austin area by providing creative services from brand identification to event booking and more. 

Consisting of Adrian Armstrong (Co-Founder/Director of Visual Arts), Akili Humphrey (Co-Founder/Director of Design), Cierra Moore (Event Coordinator), Evan Roney (DJ/Director of A&R), and Tarik Daniels (Outreach Coordinator), the four-person team has hit the ground running since inception in June of this year, working with some of Austin's best artists and musicians to put on shows at Cheer Up Charlies, the African American Cultural Center and now this coming weekend at Space 24 Twenty. 

Below we chat with Co-Founder Adrian Armstrong on how the organization was created, the importance of this sort of outlet in our society today and future plans for expansion. 

Come experience what Brown State of Mind is brining to Austin tomorrow night at Estival at Urban, kicking off at 6pm.

Photo by Levi Thompson 

Tell us more about Brown State of Mind. How long has the organization been around for and how did it come about? 

I had been working with organizations like Human Influence and Counter Balance: ATX. Both great orgs doing amazing things. Although I liked what they were doing, I wanted to do something where I could pursue my own vision and my need to help and collaborate with other creatives of color specifically. I brought the idea to Akili and we formed the partnership. With the help from three very talented and skilled individuals, Cierra, Tarik, and Evan, we were able to bring this organization to life. 

In your opinion, what’s the importance of offering a creative outlet exclusive to artists of color in today’s society, and Austin specifically? 

Historically, people of color have always gotten the short end of the stick, although talent is far from lacking. Because we are the minority, the artistic field is already predominately white, and for us, the odds are already against us. Our work is less likely to be shown or acknowledged simply because we are statistically outnumbered. Especially in the city of Austin. It’s important to offer this creative outlet for POC because we need them to know their work and artistic efforts are being seen and their voices are being heard. It’s extremely important for them to know that if no one else sees them, we do.

Is Brown State of Mind something you’re looking to keep local, or do you have hopes of expansion in the coming years? 

In the coming years, we plan to expand Brown State of Mind beyond the Austin city limits. We anticipate to spread through Texas first, and eventually make our way nation wide. Our biggest long term goal is to make this a global brand and become well known for supporting artists of color.

Give us a few local artists you’re super excited about right now… 

There are many artists in the city that are doing some amazing new things! As far as music goes, of course all of the artists who are showcasing during our upcoming event, “Estival At Urban” at Space 24 Twenty. For starters, our first artist Shiela has an amazing, powerful voice. Foray and II.XXI (II.XXI is affiliated with Soulection) are two of the best up and coming DJ’s in the city. The Teeta is a pioneer of “pretty boy trap” and his latest project “KillStreak” will blow you away! Mike Melinoe out of Detroit is an amazing rapper and artist who has a unique sound. Noisey just premiered his video for Phase Face Moonlight. Other artists include Omenihu, whose aesthetic and vision is unmatched and singer/song writer Erva Carter who presents a sultry and soulful sound.

When it comes to art: Celesta Danger (photographer), Levi Thompson (photographer), Beth Rubel (artist), Aimee Everett (artist), Dawn Okoro (artist), Jessie Rodriguez (photographer/videographer), so many more! All of the artists can be found on IG through our page @BrownStateofMind.

What can we expect from your coming show at Space 24 Twenty? 

Our next event, Estival at Urban, is sure to be a hit! You can expect a lot of activities such as giant games, raffles, and simply good vibes. Most importantly, you can expect to see some great performances. Urban Outfitters and Space 24 Twenty gave us a great opportunity to engage with the UT community and offer them a unique experience as well as cool prizes for our giveaway. In light of recent events regarding Hurricane Harvey, Brown State of Mind will be donating part of our proceeds to those who became victims of the storm.  

 Keep up with Brown State of Mind happenings here.