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Brooklyn’s Vulgar Colors showcases talent across multiple platforms

Group Blends Genres, Fuses Culture and Community

September 12, 2014 By Matthew Taub Special to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle from Brooklyn Brief
Brandon Martin, Jibrail Nor, Cheeba Cruz, Mike Lattimore and Sasha Anniyah --  some of the members of Vulgar Colors.
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When Cheeba Cruz moved from Houston to Brooklyn in April, she wanted to do something different.

Having formerly lived in New York, Cruz had a fresh vision upon her move back to the East Coast. “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 but then become overwhelmed or get distracted. But the Houston native got to thinking: why couldn’t she do it all?

News for those who live, work and play in Brooklyn and beyond

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.

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.

Earlier this month, the group showcased live music and performances at the venue Friends & Lovers in Crown Heights. The following 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 Cruz, Vulgar Colors’ creator and curator, who serves as impresario.

“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 will occasionally join the musicians on stage to play one of the instruments. In a similar vein, other members may lend a venue space, like a dance studio they operate from, to make an event happen.

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.


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