Jamaica Center for Art and Learning hosts a free monthly performance series in southeast Queens

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Jamaica Mic Drop brings live entertainment on the last Friday of the summer months as neighborhood small businesses emerge from COVID-19 restrictions. (Photo courtesy of JCAL)

Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning launched Jamaica Mic Drop, a new community-first program to bring free live, outdoor performances to southeast Queens, which was deeply impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

With sponsorships from the Jamaica Center BID, MetroPlus and Con Edison, Jamaica Mic Drop takes place in the Parsons Public Space, the full block between Archer and Jamaica avenues on Parsons Boulevard on the last Fridays of June, July, August and September, beginning at 5 p.m.

“The last Friday of every month this summer, we’ll start the weekend with live, free entertainment,” JCAL Interim Artistic Director Courtney Ffrench said. “And given where we are with reopening and things getting back to normal, we’re putting homegrown talent front and center. Our community is strong, and the talent within it is what makes us so strong.”

In addition to delivering free entertainment to the southeast Queens community, Jamaica Mic Drop will drive foot traffic to the surrounding small businesses on Parsons Boulevard and Jamaica Avenue.

Each month, the event series will present an array of emerging community-based talent in genres from reggae to hip-hop, Latin jazz and R&B, as well as spoken word.

“JCAL is hugely grateful to our sponsors — Jamaica BID, MetroPlus and Con Ed — for sharing our vision for presenting a live show every Friday afternoon this summer in the Parsons public space,” JCAL Interim Executive Director Leonard Jacobs said. “This is about our community coming together and about celebrating the creative energy that our community has to offer.”

The first Installment of Jamaica Mic Drop showcased Queens-based percussionist Joe “Blaxx” Grissett, a highly sought-after drummer and music producer who has shared the stage with Grammy-winning artists such as Stevie Wonder, John Legend and Wynton Marsalis.

In addition to his work as a drummer, Grissett has formed Blaxx Powered Movement LLC, a NYC-based production company; he has produced music for MTV, Oprah and more.

“One of the top requests we receive from our businesses is for events that enliven the downtown and draw pedestrian traffic to the area and into the stores,” Jamaica BID Executive Director Jennifer Furioli said. “As we seek to reinvigorate our streetscape, support our small business community, and bring back the spirit of NYC back to life, events like Jamaica Mic Drop are the perfect way to help with the recovery on a neighborhood basis, and we’re proud to sponsor this event.”

Founded in 1972, Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning is a multidisciplinary arts center based in southeast Queens with a mission devoted to offering quality visual, performing and literary arts, and to providing accessible education programs to encourage participation in the arts.

For additional information, call JCAL at 718-658-7400 or visit its website at jcal.org.

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