An organization called 237 Entertainment, founded by Jon Paul Williams, Chris Waters and Nigel Wimberly, put on an Underground Natives showcase Thursday to display the talent of local artists. Designers, artists, and musicians from Howard and more were in attendance. Featured artists Chloe Griffin and Joelius Dubois used their art to portray the beauty they find in black culture.
Griffin loves to use bold colors in her work while emphasizing black features almost like a caricature. One of her pieces titled “Blue Man” was inspired by the experience of black men in America and modeled after a close friend. The combination of light and dark blue hues creates a somber tone meant to induce feelings of loss, grief, and the struggles of black men.
One of Griffin’s favorite pieces was one that depicted a memory of her and her mother cooking in the kitchen. The piece, titled “Easter Sunday” evoked nostalgia not only for Griffin but her audience as well. You can find more of her work on her Instagram page, @icloart.
Joelius Dubois’ work pulls inspiration from the black renaissance era with his own twist creating contemporary and pop art pieces. The piece he’s most proud of is “Sunday Evening. It sparked a pivotal moment in his career and allowed him to create with intention. The picture illustrates a man and woman enjoying a Sunday evening while playing the trumpet.
The blend of warm earthy colors brings a sense of relaxation upon viewing. Along with his choice of single, full body portraits to highlight the focus of his pieces and induce nostalgia, a feeling Dubois intended for his audience. His art can be found on his Instagram, @joeliusdubois.
In addition to the talented artists that displayed their art, there were many other phenomenal artists at the show that night. Fashion designer Alexis Stewartson had her clothes modeled in the fashion show that took place early Friday morning.
Stewartson has been designing for almost six years and just recently founded her LLC, TheLexIndex, in July 2021. Her sustainable fashion is completely handmade; she repurposes secondhand clothing, and donated clothes from friends to create her collection.
Inspired by her childhood, Stewartson always received hand-me-downs from cousins and siblings, using what she was given to create her own style. Her belief that, “you can always make something better,” is what allows her to turn a simple pair of jeans into a fashionable crop top. Her collection includes various shades of denim and bleach to form the clothes and bags she has for sale on her website.
Another designer that displayed their work at the Underground Natives showcase is Graham Peyton. This is not the first time Peyton has displayed his art with 237Entertainment. His inspiration is self-motivated, combining his passion for art and his skills for making clothes into one.
His passion radiates from the way he talks about his clothing to the style he wears himself. He believes the possibilities are truly limitless when it comes to “getting lost in what you love”. His work can be found online, with an online collection available to the public coming soon.
The various talented artists at the Underground Natives showcase are multi talented and diverse. One of the musicians, who goes by the name of Scotty Bleu, performed amongst other artists. His music portrays his day-to-day life and the ups and downs of his emotions.
Scotty is a songwriter, singer, rapper, producer, and guitarist, who started at the age of ten. His use of music is not only an outlet for him but a force to bring people together and physically move people with his music by getting them out of their seats.
His energy was electric during his performance on Thursday night. The heads in the crowd were bopping, and the base was booming thanks to Scotty Bleu as the opening act.
Underground Natives showcase was another successful event by 237 Entertainments’ events held to showcase art across the diaspora. Howard University students are always welcome to contribute their art and music and can reach out on their Instagram and website.