Love Letter to Newark Features the Mayor's Spoken-Word Narration
The Greater Newark Convention & Visitors Bureau (GNCVB) launched a 2:30 video promoting the city's diversity in arts, entertainment, restaurants and residents.
The campaign was two years in the making. Nate Nichols, founder and creative director of the Palette Group, tells Muse this was a "planned 2019 project for a campaign in 2020." Then Covid-19 hit and the project was put on pause until this year.
"Welcome to Newark" features an original score, produced by Palette Group, local musicians, artists and spoken word by Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka.
"The mayor has been doing a lot of spoken word lately," says Nichols. "Speaking is his self-expression."
Nichols was inspired by this and knew he wanted to work with not only the mayor but the community, too. When it came time for Mayor Baraka to record his spoken word, Nichols recalls he was "in and out in 20 minutes. He didn't even write anything down."
Some highlights: "This is Newark, finest Portuguese food this side of the tri-state area. If you ain't been here, you ain't been nowhere ... Multicolored faces and languages of all kinds. Whether you're in Ivy Hill having cocoa bread and beef patties or Lower Broadway with espresso and mofongo. Newark is us all. Many footprints. Many fingerprints. We are Newark. One family. Brick City."
Interspersed between Baraka's performance at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center is a depiction of Newark's lively city life. Outdoor dining, public art, a distillery, happy hour, a packed roller rink, Branch Brook Park, a cigar shop and performances by artists with Newark ties: Bri Blvck, Janetza Miranda and Moruf Adewunmi. The track was produced by Carter "Roc" Mangan Jr., a music producer, musician and sound engineer who's also from Newark. The video's director, Amandla Baraka, is the mayor’s daughter.
"We wanted to illustrate what a Saturday in Newark looked like," says Nichols. "To capture the essence and vibe of Newark but also honor the people involved in the community."
The video can be found on the Newark Happening website, GNCVB's YouTube page and throughout the New York market on broadcast TV, radio, digital, social media and out-of-home.
Original Musical Score
Mayor Baraka, Spoken Word, @rasjbaraka
Janetza Miranda, Vocalist @jane.tza
Bri Blvck, Violinist, @briblvck
MoRuf Adewunmi, Rapper, @moruf88
Roc Mangan, Composer, Producer @producedbyroc
Creative and Crew
Amandla Baraka, Director, @totheppl
Kevin "GK”, Director Of Photography, @gk_dp
Nate Nichols, Creative Director, @the_nichols
Steffi Behringer, Executive Producer, @steffliiii
Isaiah Little, Producer, Client side
Jadzia Erskine, AC, @jadzia_dp
Bradley Credit, 2nd Unit, DoP, @bradleycreditdp
Hanna Sturwold, Senior Editor, @hannasturwold
Patrice Boweman, Colorist, @bowman_pictures
Chrys Davis, Photographer, @dolo_foto
Malaika Muindi, Photographer, Photo Assistance @malaikamuindi
Michael Grant, Photographer, BTS Shooter, @mikhaelgrant
Dre, Line producer, @andreavelarde
Cody, PA, @cterreson
Esteban Veras, Gaffer, @tebanvera
Avery Bowling, Grip, @takenbyavery
Jeremy Gutierrez, Grip assistance, @grandmasterjerm
Michael DeVon, Wardrobe Stylist, @theemichaeldevon
Sonaya Styles, HMUA, @sonya_styles_