The BEAT of Viacom has been nonstop this Black History Month.
Earlier this February, Viacom’s affinity group for African-American employees held a presentation that took us behind the scenes with the creative producers involved in Viacom Media Networks on-air promos for Black History Month. It organized a discussion with Po Johnson of VH1’s LaLa’s Full Court Life and hosted a slew of other ongoing events as well.
But the centerpiece of its musically focused Black History Month event lineup was “Listen to the BEAT: An Audio Visual Experience,” a special event at Viacom’s headquarters featuring Swizz Beatz and a crew of up-and-coming artists.
The BEAT’s leadership group first thought about focusing on music as a theme for the month when it began planning last June. It ultimately decided to highlight the musical accomplishments of Blacks throughout the African Diaspora and how these artists have influenced many genres.
“We wanted to highlight the diversity in black music – to showcase how it has created and influenced so many genres, ranging from jazz to R&B,” said Tara Shaw, an executive assistant for Nick and Marketing & Event co-chair of the BEAT.
Po Johnson spoke on her recently launched rock/pop career on Feb. 8, and musical dance troupe Jazz Ain’t Dead opened the event this afternoon.
And, of course, Swizz Beatz was an appropriate choice, given the message.
Nelson Boyce, senior vice president of Ad Sales Strategy for Nickelodeon and Executive Co-Chair of the BEAT, called him a “true Renaissance man.”
In addition to his work as a DJ, producer, rapper and painter, Swizz Beatz recently entered into a business venture to bring Korean pop music to the United States and has been working to launch an art gallery showcasing works by emerging international artists.
Swizz Beatz MCd and introduced the lineup, which delivered with a good range of sounds and stories that kept the room in motion. Artists included Luke James, Adrienne Mack-Davis, Najee The 1 & DB2, Colin Smith and Sofi Green.
“It’s about moving forward, spreading art globally and migrating the culture of music, period,” Swizz Beatz said. “Last thing we need to segregate is our music, our art.”