Meet The Group Behind Black Canvas | COSIGN Award Nominee
Name: Black Canvas
What is Black Canvas?
Black Canvas is an Open Mic night in Deep Ellum located at Kemet Kitchen. Founded and co-hosted by Cameron Johnson and Princess Wittington, and DJ’ed by Kennan “DJ Kmor” Morning and Gabriel “DJ GS” Sheffield (pictured left to right). It was started as a safe space for black artists to perfect their craft (what ever that may be). You, of course, don’t have to be Black to attend or perform. We have featured a variety of local Dallas artists, painters who have displayed and sold their pieces, musicians, DJs, bands, and especially poets. We have had first time performers and seasoned veterans take the stage and used us as a platform.
We are every second and fourth Thursday of the month with our next event taking place November 9th hosted by Jaren Collins of JCI Creatives.
What void does your business fill in your current industry?
We supply a supportive and welcoming environment for artists of all backgrounds, skill levels, and talents to use our platform to not only do what they enjoy doing, but to become better. One of our rules at Black Canvas when we call an artist to come to the stage states: “if you’re not clapping, you’re a hater” and that essentially sums up the purpose.
Tell us three lessons you’ve learned while operating your business.
1. Finding and appealing to your target audience is crucial. Not everyone will support or find value in what you are doing, and that is perfectly fine.
2. If you enjoy doing something, it is better to learn how to take a break than to quit.
3. If you see a need for something, make it.
Mentorships are vital, if you could be mentored by anyone in the world who would it be and why?
DJ Kmor- Jay Clipp. Dude knows how to take DJing to a whole other level.
Cameron- Robert Glasper. I’m first and foremost a musician. And what Robert does with music and on the keyboard is insane. And Stevie Wonder. The man who inspired me to take up music in the first place listening to him when I was 9 years old. A man with no sight but the way he paints pictures musically and puts chords and progressions together…. unbelievable.
Princess- I would say Viola Davis or Tracie Ellis Ross. Viola because she overcame obstacles and odds that were against her and is the epitome of a strong black woman. Tracie because she is fierce in all aspects of life and doesn’t allow anyone to dim her light or define her.
Tell us one thing majority of people don’t know about you.
DJ Kmor- People don’t know I actually can sing.
Cameron- I’m actually very much an introvert.
Princess- I love to write songs and poetry.
Why do you feel that you should win a COSIGN Award?
In a world where Blackness is utilized while at the same time suppressed, we supply an environment where it is encouraged. Our main goal is for Black Canvas to be a mecca of Black Culture in Deep Ellum. We are supporting Black Talent, artistry, and economy by hosting our event at a black owned establishment (Kemet Kitchen) while promoting other businesses as well. We truly are putting the focus back on the people and the community. Without the people this event would not be a success.
Who do you #COSIGN and why?
We #COSIGN any poet, artist, band, etc who has graced our stage. We wish you all the best of luck in your endeavors and we will do our best to make sure that our platform continues to give you the tools and environment to achieve your goals.