Music festival to help students get into industry

Pablo Belloso Chavez

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Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist and actor Common alongside other music and entertainment industry professionals will be present at CSUN for the 11th Annual African American Music Festival next week.

The festival, from March 22 to 27, is organized by the student group African American Music Association (A2MA) and supported by various organizations, including the Pan African Studies Department and the Entertainment Educational Foundation.

The six-day festival, which is aimed at high school and college students, will include music workshops, educational panels, networking forums by music executives and performances by various artists including celebrated jazz musician Washington Rucker.

“I think students will gain a lot of valuable information on culture and music,” said Deborakh Broadous, Pan African studies professor, who also coordinates A2MA.

The annual event will help students in learning about the contributions and originality that African Americans have given in the development of music admired my many worldwide and also provide information on the opportunities available within the music industry.

“What we aim to do is make sure the young people have an avenue in which they can become aware of what’s available and have contacts and be able to network with those people in the field,” Broadous said.

According to Broadous, the flagship events of the festival are the Business of the Music Business Workshop and the student tour and showcase, hosted by Chicago rapper Common and Ernie Singleton, who helped launch the careers of artists such as Mary J. Blige and Bone Thug-N-Harmony as former vice president of Urban Music for MCA Records.

Nearly 300 guests are expected for these two events in which music professionals and executives will network and supply students with resources and understanding of the industry.

“Students should show up because our panel is mainly focused on giving people insight information from industry experts about the music and the entertainment industry,” Singleton said.

“We also have a Q&A session that allows the students to ask their own questions,” Singleton said. “We strive to help kids and students to look at the entertainment industry as a business, not just a source to get entertainment. We strive to do that with the panels and people we bring and connect students with people that have real hands-on experience with the industry.”

Also, students have the opportunity to apply and perform in front of panelists and other students during the Student Tour and Showcase, which is open to CSUN students.

“They need to apply by Monday, they’re only taking six acts to be presented,” Broadous said.

Broadous said students should show up because of the opportunity it provides to gain knowledge of the music industry and to have their work critiqued by professionals.

“It allows you insight into what you’re doing. And for those people who have a destiny in the area of performing arts, we will have people here complete your destiny,” Broadous said.

“If they miss it, they miss a blessing,” Broadous said. “Because so many students have had an opportunity to come and they were so surprised in not only the depth of the information that was presented but also the type of presenters coming. And this is for CSUN.”

During the event, students will have an opening to speak directly with music executives and experts and what to expect in the future of the music industry.

“We strive to help kids and students to look at the entertainment industry as a business, not just a source to get entertainment. We strive to do that with the panels and people we bring and connect students with people that have real hands-on experience with the industry.”