Alexis Moten Makes Connections And Events Happen. Now She's Doing It Virtually.

Alexis Moten, founder of Culture Jock, is kneeling next to a sign that says Culture Jock

As bars, social clubs, and events were shutting down under coronavirus mitigation mandates, Alexis Moten, the woman behind Culture Jock, had an idea.

When she founded the social commentary and pop culture website Culture Jock two years ago in New York City, Moten intended to use authenticity and honesty to counter misogyny and racism in the world of pop culture trends. Since moving operations to Cleveland, the site has organized events large and small.

So while organizing happenings is not new to Moten, creating an online music festival was. In response to the impending crisis posed to artists by COVID-19, she quickly began to put together a virtual music festival to support artists whose income relies on social gatherings.. 

Over three days in March, 17 artists performed for a total of 648 minutes of music on Instagram Live. Culture Jock’s Instagram feed featured a virtual flyer with all performers' Instagram handles, genres and places to send donations or buy merch, but each artist performed from their own page, in an effort to grow their regular audiences and followers. And each encouraged viewers to go to the next performance, on the next artist’s feed – just like encouraging patrons to stick around for the next performer at a neighborhood bar’s live music night.

People continued to comment throughout the performances, tune into multiple artists and donate to the performers, Moten said. Joey, a hip-hop artist in Columbus, had 86 people from around the country listening to his performance.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This Friday begins CJFEST We expanded our network to create a chain of artists IG live streams to help promote their pages and music. It is 3 days of music from 14 artists of 7 different cities with 500 minutes of live music. We’ll be supporting our creative community by sharing their online payment apps for fans to give donations. Several performing artists depend on social gatherings to fund their lives so if you can give a little it’ll be much appreciated. Thank you to the artists who are putting in the time to bring us some entertainment during the strange time. Can’t wait to see you all March 20 at 7pm at the kick-off with @pure_kahrin !

A post shared by Culture Jock (@culturejock_) on

Social distancing made Moten’s goal of booking 45 artists to fill a long weekend of entertainment uniquely challenging. She originally put up a flyer to see who was interested in performing before reaching out to artists she admired on Instagram, pulling in 36 interested musicians from as far away as Paris and Seattle.

Social distancing whittled that number down, Moten said, with some artists unable to get their entire band together to perform or finding their instruments suddenly locked in a studio they could not access. Problematic internet connections also knocked a few people out of the show.

Ohio musicians featured prominently among the final 17 artists, with Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus represented along with performances from Los Angeles, New York City, New Orleans, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Alexis Moten, Creator of Culture Jock [Michael Thornburg / Thornburg Creative]

Pandemic-related restrictions aren’t easing up any time soon – but neither are Moten and Culture Jock.

Culture Jock is hosting CJTV weekly: Culture Jock Television events to break up people’s day and continue to support their community. The first topic CJTV is taking on? Health, said Moten, with a specific focus on mental, physical and spiritual health during social distancing. The virtual summit, which kicks of next week, will feature three programs a day, including cooking demos, questions answered by medical professionals and live music.

Do you know people who are innovating, supporting their community and bringing a little more kindness into the world (from at least 6 ft. away) through COVID-19? Tag us and them with #coronakind on social media!

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