Through memorable discoveries on Instagram and resonating performances in passing, local rapper and singer dev11n is bringing much of Buffalo’s raw talent together. Queen City Live, an art exhibition in its second year, celebrates creativity and artistic liberation at its core.
“It was important for me to do something for women that don’t fit into the typical boxes,” dev11n said. “That was my focus. How can I find women from all different genres that somehow fit into the same theme?”
Showcasing female artists this year, the event, which took place at Sugar City this past Saturday, was an outlet for several of Buffalo’s musicians, painters, poets, and dancers. With a range of performances, from spoken word to burlesque, the show’s most intriguing factor was its spontaneity. Impromptu jam sessions, fierce theatrics, and intense crowd participation kept the show interesting. Seamlessly flowing many different forms of art together, dev11n’s master art curation of “Queen City Live” gave opportunity and a platform to artists of color.
“The theme was really just women. Black women, and our royalty. And we’re brilliant, and we’re creative and we’re limitless — And that’s what each artist, in short, captured tonight,” dev11n said.
Dev11n’s BA in music business also assists her execution of an event like Queen City Live. With the recent launching of her company, Muziqly Devine Entertainment, which focuses on event production, artist consultation, and music management, dev11n hopes to widen accessibility and provide more opportunities for local artists. As a dual threat in the music scene, the singer-rapper exemplifies this with Queen City Live, making sure the ticket sales benefited every artist that performed.
With unique performances from feisty feminist rhymer Desiree Kee, to melodic songbird Curtis Lovell, to gospel rapper A.I Musik, every presentation was starkly different, bringing in an impressively diverse crowd. With the success of the annual event, dev11n sees Queen City Live as something that could be more than yearly.
“I’ve been getting a lot more support…It doesn’t have to be once a year, it could be multiple times a year,” she said.
Other than managing artists, running a company, and making music for the last two months, dev11n is still actively performing throughout Buffalo for her solo career. The rapper’s next show will be at the Burchfield Penney Art Center on September 1 as part of the “Pillars: Hip Hop in WNY” exhibition.