Thank You Cameron Bethany - YMMN
I leaned my head on Ashley’s shoulder as I felt my nose burn, anticipating the tears that would follow. The power had already cut off twice, but as Cameron Bethany made his way through the third power outage with a bone chilling acapella cover of Radiohead’s Creep, I felt my frustration with the technical difficulties dissipate, turning into pure gratitude. Bethany’s willingness to offer himself to us in such an authentic and vulnerable way filled my heart to the fucking brim. Reflecting on that moment, days later, my hairs still stand on end.
I was surrounded by artists who I loved, staring up at one we unanimously admired as he made his way through his final song. Love is not a big enough word for me to use when defining my personal feelings towards Bethany, his music, his showmanship, or his intentionality. By far one of the most talented artists I have encountered since I began this work, I go out of my way to attend his shows (I am an unashamed stan), and that night was no different.
I was asked to MC, and if you know me, you know there are few things I hate more than public speaking, but when called upon for Cam I didn’t hesitate. Upon arriving I made my way to the back of Loflin Yard in search of Kid Maestro to begin my hosting duties. I was floored by the intentionality that went into the release. Beautifully hand folded, origami cranes hung sporadically throughout the yard. A man sized crane was posted on the side where people were asked to share things that made them nervous (the night concluded with us burning that hoe down insecurities along with it). From the photo booth, to the garments, to the merch, and smores, the evening had been thought out at every level. To the point where I caught myself wondering, days later, if the technical difficulties had been staged, to create that insanely powerful closing (I would not put it past IMAKEMAD lol).
After the show I got to hug the genius that is IMAKEMADBEATS and he said something to me that I think will stick with for the rest of my life: “it’s about more than ambition,” which brought on my second wave of feels. The shit we do is hard, and yes it does require a certain level of ambition, but the community we are building for, the artists we are fighting for, is where that stuff comes from. I am surrounded by talented brilliant beautiful Black artists that I love; artists who have turned into family, folks who come to shows and chill at my mama’s house, creators who have stood by my side in marketing meetings and hospital rooms, and thinkers who have held my hand through nonprofit development and broken hearts. We get to build for our family, and I was reminded of that on the night of 11.11.17, and I am forever grateful to Cameron Bethany, IMAKEMADBEATS, Unapologetic, and my family of artists that came together to celebrate them for that reminder.
Thank you Cameron Bethany,
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