Black Violin, Breaking Your Musical Stereotypes | UNCHARTED

Black Violin, Breaking Your Musical Stereotypes | UNCHARTED


Our manager be, like, “Hey, I got these two
black guys that are gonna play violin in your club. It’s gonna be amazing,” and they would literally,
like, laugh us out there door. They’re like, “This is South Beach. This is dance clubs. What do you mean you’re going play a violin?” I think stereotypes are something that we’ve always dealt with in a very direct way. I mean, we don’t look like violinists. So when we’re in airports or anywhere, they
often try to guess what’s in our case and they are always wrong [LAUGHS], you know. It’s motivating too, you know. Please tell me I can’t do something. It’s extra boost to get me to show you and
prove to you that I can do it. I started playing the violin when I was 9-years-old. I got caught stealing candy and my mom comes
home and she’s in a great mood and I’m just in the room, like, “Oh, my gosh.” When I found out about it, took him back to the store, gave it back to the manager and I decided I have to get him off the streets. Next day, she puts me in this music class,
the only thing left was the violin and I did not want to play that instrument. I wanted to play the saxophone. I went up to the band teacher and signed up
for the summer program that they had and they put me in the wrong class. Right before I picked up the viola, I was a 12-year-old-kid
in the hood, just didn’t really have a lot of clothes and just things that, you know,
I think a lot of people take for granted. We know some of you thought you were coming
to a quiet violin performance, but rule number #1 to a Black Violin show is that this is
a party. You guys want to party with us? [CROWD SCREAMS] One, two, three,…[SINGING] When we used to do these little shows, people used to just always say, “Hey, we want those black violin guys to come back.” So it was actually the fan base that created
the name. That is my second favorite thing about playing
the violin, is that I ain’t supposed to be doing this, and what other job or what other
occupation is there that you can change the way people think when you’re
finished with your job. Getting into a performing arts high school,
ended up meeting Will there, I would play my Bach and Beethoven, but I was always very,
very hip-hop, you know, and then I had a teacher that just cared. His name was James Myles. He bought a viola for me, like, he bought,
a $2,000 advanced student viola for me and I still have it to this day. He just pushed us, made sure we practiced and
he said, “This violin can open doors for you that you’d never imagine,” and boy,
was he right. We were, like, you know, ramen noodle eating
college kids. There wasn’t a lot of opportunity happening
for us. I took a tape, recorded them in the studio,
sent the tape off to New York city where the Apollo was being filmed. Two years later, we get a call that our video
was found in the back of a P.O. box and that the producer of the show watched it, loved
the guys and want us to come on. ANNOUNCER: The world famous Apollo Theater is proud to present, “It’s Showtime at The Apollo.” We grew up watching The Apollo so it was a
big deal to us and we went there and, you know, we’re downstairs before we get onstage
to perform. We’re thinking, Man, everyone’s getting booed,
man. What if we get booed?” That crowd, that will boo you. Like, they love to boo you. So the fact that we won the entire thing was
amazing. Next day we go out and we play for Alicia
Keys’ manager and, honestly, that’s what changed the life. Everything became a blur from there. After “Showtime At The Apollo,” a lot of changes and a lot of travel came in and that’s when he was barely home and he was traveling a
lot, really trying to, you know, get to the next level, get to those next steps. Tonight is the 84th and 85th show of the year
and we’re halfway through the year. After a while, it just kind of starts taking
a toll on you. And you know, with the kids too, I mean it’s
difficult. Sometimes it’s hard, like, them being on the
road so often, especially, like, February, they were gone pretty much all month and I
had just had a baby in December, but he’s out and he’s making a difference in people’s
lives and I know that and that makes him being gone ever more worth the while. I have my kids and my kids are the reason
why I’m here because now I’m thinking about not just making the best music for me, but
I’m also thinking about making music that my kids can be proud of. All right, well this is Black Violin with
the Greater Miami Youth Symphony and this is our last song. And this one is called “Shaker.” We also have kids in youth orchestras
come and join us onstage. We’ll bring them in, onto our stage so it’s,
like, almost like we’re performing and infecting the community at the same time. We feel like we must play for these kids. We do something that’s really, really impactful,
you know, we feel a responsibility to show them, “What can you do differently than no
one thought you could do?” I just played with the Black Violins, which
is actually a really cool experience. Favorite moment was probably…playing. Playing with them. I thought they were, like, gonna, you know,
be normal people playing classical music or something, but, like, it was sort of like
hip-hop and classical at the same time. They’re unifying different types of genres and melding them into one. So it’s really something that really defies
stereotypes. The message is global, you know. So many children live inside of a box and
it is their goal to get them out of that box and let them know that regardless of your
circumstance and where you come from, that if they could do it, that any kid is capable
of doing exactly what it is they want to do and excelling and changing the game and rewriting
the rules so that they’re on top and until that happens, they ain’t done. Yeah, they’re not done.

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30 thoughts on “Black Violin, Breaking Your Musical Stereotypes | UNCHARTED”

  • Bartholomule01 says:

    Wow, I really like this. It's really awesome to see someone do something original like this. Classical has a lot crossover potential but it seems to rarely happen.

  • In 2015 they came to broughcal middle school then the next year I join the school and I'm like I need to see them !! Thx to people like this makes me whant to practice all my instruments (🎷🎻🎹)more !!!❤️❤️❤️

  • you guys should look into doing a show with Lindsey sterling. it would blow you guys up which I feel is well deserved.

  • to every one that is BLACK WE DON'T CARE if your black gust you do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Lone Ranger 22 says:

    Wow talk about incredibly cool guys on a worthwhile mission who deserve to succeed…so inspirational. Love your classical music cross-over into hip-hop. It works really well because of the quality of your playing and great sense of rhythm. Black Violin breaking new ground long may it last. Hope the biggest DJs and orchestras in the world collab with you.

  • Mr. Nerve Damage says:

    I'm not quite sure how this "breaks stereotypes"? I'm fully aware that tons of black people are badass guitarists, bassists, singers, and members of orchestras… and I almost feel like by using "hip-hop" along with the orchestral instruments, they are actually supporting the stereotype that "all black people like hip-hop", lol. If they had jumped out with some bluegrass I would get the reference, but these guys (while very very talented) kind of took it in a "stereotypical" direction… especially considering that neither of them really even wanted to play these instruments initially… they were just the only instruments available for them at that time. Again, this comment has nothing to do with their ability (they are both extremely talented and I feel this type of music is worth WAY more than generic hip hop songs about sex, drugs, and money), it's just interesting that I don't see much here in squashing stereotypes. Lejon Witherspoon and Derrick Green (black guys who sing in metal bands) have broken many stereotypes though, and Darius Rucker (alternative/country singer) haha, : ).

  • Love this!! I am an educator and it kills me that some schools are doing away with MUSIC CLASS and BAND. NO! It's crucial to some children.

  • One of the greatest banjo players happens to be White (Bela Flack). One of the greatest golfers happens to be Black. Now these guys come along…

    This must be driving Trump and his supporters crazy. 🙂

  • I love the strong women in their lives and all the support that they give them. kudos to the men for being providers for their families.

  • Last year they had a concert and played with bravo for one of them I'm one of the bravo students it was so fun I still have the signatures

  • i was 6 when i picked up the violin and was trained with the philharmonic man i hated it at first but then i learned to love it them went on to play the cello

  • Keep Being strong and do your thing! You guys are amazing! To the ninth degree! Don't let the haters stop you! Your music and what you do is amazing! Your kids will be very proud of you! Stay strong! Love you till the end!

  • Darian Gregory says:

    Funny they say we aren't supposed to be doing this. lol Of course you are there's nothing black people can't do if we want to.

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