BCNN

Courtesy of Yohan Rodriguez

By Iness Rabah, Layout Editor

Whether you’re a rapper, painter, poet, singer, comedian, The Bergen County Neighborhood Network or BCNN, is a professional not-for-profit organization that is the answer to any potential artist that wants to get themselves out there and start turning dreams into reality. BCNN wants to get a message across to the community, its message of “Yes M.A.M!” (“Yes media arts matter!”)

Located in Fairview NJ, the BCNN studio encompasses four major events for artists interested. Mic Check 1-2sdays, Creative Conflicts, Metafour, and Untold Storytellers. All of these events are streamed on their website. The stage changes often with every event to suit the mood as best as possible. “It’s like  our little playground,” said DJ Raphael “Gdwrkz” Peralta. Before every show, the camera crew makes sure that the lighting is perfect and the DJ picks out the flavor of the hour. “Mic Check 1-2sdays” is a show that is held every Tuesday that gives any vocal or instrumental artists a chance to show off their talent. There’s definite variety among the group of people chosen each week. In one show, there was a beatboxer, a rapper, and a singer along with an ongoing game of truth or dare with the audience. There was not one dull moment throughout the night especially since the host Dusha Holmes brought so much energy into the show.

Creative Conflicts, also known as the art battle, is an event in which canvases are set up for four artists who take center stage to create a painting. An art gallery is set up displaying artwork from many differents artists. The lighting throughout the studio is much brighter for people to navigate around the wonderful pieces displayed around the studio. The four artists have 30 minutes to start off their artwork with one medium assigned to all of them such as charcoal or marker. There was a short break in which one person played the sax and rapped while the other played a keyboard and beatboxed. The lighting was dimmed to fit the jazzy mood. Then the artists had an additional 30 minutes to finish their artwork with paint. When time is up, the onlookers cast their votes for a winner.

Untold Storytellers is an event where people tell a story based on a topic, for example: the summer. Each person who has a story to tell goes up and delivers a story associated with the topic. They have seven minutes to tell it or their mic gets cut off. The storyteller is then rated by three teams from the audience based on their delivery. Some are meant to make people laugh until they can’t breathe. Others are meant to stir up emotions. Whatever they may be, each storyteller has a motive by standing up in front of an audience and performing. It is indeed an art form. In the end, the person with the highest rating becomes the storyteller of the month until the next Untold Storytellers event.

Metafour is a poetry slam that also occurs once every other Friday. The traditional snapping instead of clapping and relaxing music plays in the background. Even those who aren’t big poetry buffs may be pleasantly surprised at how much they’ve enjoyed themselves. “The exchange between a speaker and a listener is a ritual as old as humanity,” says Dusha Holmes II, Director of Operations at BCNN, “in a society where everyone is screaming to be heard The Metafour brings back the dignity of a word whispered well and the sanctity of a well spoken thought.”
To perform at these events, with the exception of Untold Storytellers, one must go through a registration process at thebcnn.org. Once chosen, they will be able to kick start or continue their reputation as an artist in their community. For anyone who is too camera shy, it is encouraged that they show off their talent after the show when the cameras have been switched off.

“This is your opportunity to take your weirdest, most intimate, I-don’t-think-people are-going-to-like-me type imagination and just put it out there. I guarantee you that people will like it. Someone will,” said intern Mariany Segura. BCNN also provides internships and has officially launched a Media Arts Matter Campaign to raise a million dollars for the creation of a full media arts center for Bergen County.