Creative Pick!: 5 Questions for Black Rock Star Super Hero, Head-Roc

Creative Pick!: 5 Questions for Black Rock Star Super Hero, Head-Roc

rsz_head-roc_cp_0521Just who is Head-Roc? I like to think of him as a cultural superhero, who uses his keen sense of insight and lyrical abilities to say the things and ask the questions, others shy away from. Whether he’s at the helm of funk super group, GODISHEUS, speaking out against the imperialist capitalist motives of big box stores, or questioning the practices of area venues and their treatment of local artists, one thing Heady has never been afraid to do is tell you what he thinks. He is passionate about many things and of course, there is more to Head-Roc than meets the eye. On Wednesday, May 22nd, he celebrates the official release of his latest project, Black Star Superhero Rock Star Music Street Tape and on a more personal note, another year around the sun. It would have been easy to ask him questions about his latest project, but I will save that duty for Dr. Jared Ball who will lead a live on-stage interview and Q&A, during the release event. Instead, I wanted to know more about Head-Roc as the WALA Arts Ambassador. As usual, I had five questions. Check out his answers, and then stop by Jin tomorrow, starting at 8PM for a celebration of one of DC’s finest.

Risikat Okedeyi: What is WALA?
Head-Roc: WALA, which stands for Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organizatio that is essentially a collaboration between Artists and Lawyers. The organization provides, “access to education, advocacy and legal services through workshops and seminars, legal clinics and pro-bono referral services for creatives and cultural organizations”. WALA does this through its great relationships with the top law firms in the entertainment industry, and stellar reputation as a top notch information/legal resource service provider amongst the regions arts organizations.

RO: How did you come to join the organization? Tell us about your role as Arts Ambassador.
HR: I was hired as the first ever Arts Ambassador of WALA three years ago by former Executive Director Paige Totaro, who’s vision was to expand the knowledge of the organization and its immense benefits provided to its members in all sectors of the DC area Arts Community.

I serve as the primary outreach instrument within the organization on the ground, and being Head-Roc perfectly suits me in the performance of my duties. As I am out on my grind and hustle as an artist entrepreneur, I meet so many others on the same mission every week. Whether at theatres, music venues, galleries, street performers, vendors, etc… it’s such a pleasure to speak with other artists about their dreams and inform them about the wonderful resource WALA offers to the community.

Recently, I was given the responsibility of project managing WALA’s education workshops for 2013. Every month there is a “basics” workshop. WALA provides education on the following topics in alternating order: Copyright, Trademark, and 501(c)3 startup. Twice a year, we have our signature workshop series called the “Creative Entrepreneur Series” which goes deeper into the nuts and bolts of running one’s own business sustainably. The topics covered are Business Formation, Copyright/Trademark Protection and Use, Contracts and Licensing, Tax Strategies, Negotiations, and Funding, Leases and more.

RO: Why is it important for artists to be members of this organization?
HR: WALA is a great organizational resource to have in your back pocket as an entrepreneur! Where else can you get (income based) pro-bono legal advice, attend legal clinics and over two dozen education workshops (Q & A style) taught by the best attorneys in the business for a basic $35/yr membership fee? It cost literally hundreds of dollars per hour to see the caliber of attorneys who donate their time through WALA.

I get calls and emails everyday from artists, almost in tears, about how they were ripped off for their work because they didn’t copyright/trademark, or understand how contracts work. A two hour workshop with WALA and the rock star attorneys who share their multimillion dollar deal sealing expertise and all myths are dispelled about these simple, but necessary processes that will save you grief later on. WALA’s existence is priceless within our local community, as all the Volunteer Lawyer for the Arts Organizations are nationwide.

RO: As a long-time artist what are some of the benefits that you’ve received from being a member of WALA ?
HR: Simply put, I understand better that my Art is my work, and my work is worth protection and compensation in the Arts economy.  As a result, I am enjoying my best years in all phases and sustainability as an Artist since becoming a member.

RO: What are some of your upcoming events and where can people go to find out more information about becoming a member?
HR: We closed out our first ever Creative Entrepreneur Series at the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities this week, but. folks can visit www.waladc.org/events to see the upcoming workshop schedule. The next CES will be this fall at THEARC Theatre in SE DC!

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