Brooklyn poet and jazz artist looks to make a difference 'behind the scenes'

Born to a Panamanian father and an American mother, Tai Allen says he wants to see more artists behind the scenes and not just in the spotlight.

News 12 Staff

and Noelle Lilley

Sep 25, 2023, 11:48 AM

Updated 209 days ago

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As communities of color continue to fight for on-screen representation in the entertainment industry, one local poet and jazz artist is at the front of it all.
Brooklyn's Tai Allen told News 12 it's important for Black and Latino artists to own their own work. It's a lesson Allen learned firsthand - he can't use music he made from his first record deal due to ownership issues. Allen now works to curate spaces across the city where artists of color can perform such as the live band experience he co-created called Sample Sale Music.
"If we're not controlling the output, then we're just receivers," said Allen.
Born to a Panamanian father and an American mother, Allen added he wants to see more artists behind the scenes and not just in the spotlight.
"If we're just receivers, then we have no ownership," he said. "You have no ownership then anything goes out in the world without our saying so. The accountants, the transportation, security, the lawyers, the engineers cause the front-facing part we have a good handle on. That way we are not just being the artist but we're also being the administrators and caretakers of our culture."


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