standard Blending Genres, Fusing Culture and Community

‘Vulgar Colors’ Showcases Talent Across Multiple Platforms
Members of 'Vulgar Colors' the night of a gathering in Crown Heights (Photo by Matthew Taub)

Brandon Martin, Jibrail Nor, Cheeba Cruz, Mike Lattimore, and Sasha Anniyah, some of the members of ‘Vulgar Colors’ (Photo by Matthew Taub)

When Cheeba Cruz returned to Brooklyn in April, she wanted to do something different.

“I like to throw parties, but I also wanted to launch a magazine and create a colorful experience,” Cruz said. “I play in a band, but it’s important to promote the music and art of others, and also help local businesses and the surrounding community.”

Many of us linger on thoughts like this from time to time, then either get overwhelmed or distracted. But the Houston native got to thinking: why couldn’t she do it all?

Now, with friends and collaborators, Cruz may be on her way: ‘Vulgar Colors,’ a loose-knit group of like-minded individuals, is tackling multiple genres with little regard for conventional definitions (and confines) for talent, media, and community activism.

A "Southern Comfort" themed party in August at the Bushwick Venue 'Skytown' (Photo by Courtney Jefferson)

A “Southern Comfort” themed party in August at the Bushwick Venue ‘Skytown’ (Photo by Courtney Jefferson)

Is it a part-time magazine, an event promoting company, a DIY production house, a community collective, or just a rag-tag group of artists, musicians, activists, and supporters? Call it what you want, but don’t expect those involved to wait around–or care–about your classification. They’re too busy making waves.

A back-to-school drive at the Bushwick Community Garden (Photo by Matthew Taub)

A back-to-school drive at the Bushwick Community Garden (Photo by Cheeba Cruz)

Last Wednesday, the group showcased live music and performances at the venue ‘Friends & Lovers’ in Crown Heights. Over the weekend, they hosted a school supply and tie dye event at the Bushwick Sculpture Garden. A southern-themed affair in August featured music and food from the Gulf Coast, while performances of band line ups and multiple DJ sets continue to be planned for nearly every Friday night at any neighborhood (and venue) that will have them.

While these events are a team effort, without a doubt it is Ms. Cruz, Vulgar Colors’ “creator and curator,” who serves as impresario.

Cheeba Cruz (Vulgar Colors)

Cheeba Cruz (Vulgar Colors)

“More than anything I wanted to create a ‘brand’ that would speak to originality and authenticity,” Cruz said. “Whether it’s music, art, events, gardening, or giving away free clothes, it should be done in a genuine way, with a focus on bringing people together.”

A self-styled artist, writer and musician, Cruz grew up playing piano and later ventured to the bass, which she found more naturally part of her rhythm (as opposed to the guitar). At events, she’ll occasionally join the musicians on stage to play one of the instruments. In similar vain, other members may lend a venue space, like a dance studio they operate from, to make an event happen.

Flyers for previous (and upcoming / recurring) Vulgar Colors events.

Flyers for previous (and upcoming / recurring) Vulgar Colors events.

The group designs their own event flyers and considers their creation (and placement) to be as much as a performance as the gatherings they advertise. And while they have thus far have relied on venues throughout Bushwick and Crown Heights, the mission is to ultimately reach wider and embrace any location (or idea) that shares their spirit, and simple, straightforward mission.

“The goal is to make people feel welcome, and happy,” Cruz said.

‘Vulgar Colors’ is next presenting a ‘west coast party’ at Skytown, 921 Broadway (Bushwick), on Friday, 9.12.14. For more information, see the group’s Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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