Back in 2012, sisters Symone and Quiana Major came to believe that Miami didn’t do enough to help Black musicians.
So they started their own organization.
So, alongside Symone’s fiancé Frankie Midnight, they created “Context of a Generation,” which focused on promoting diversity within the Miami music community, and amplifying minority voices by giving them a platform of their own.
“We formed it out of a need to study our craft, but we didn’t have the funds to do so,” said Symone Major. “I had wanted to do an artist residency in New York, and I didn’t have enough money for it, so we fundraised. We fundraised every day, and we were able to do it successfully. Because of that, we started this conversation of ‘if we could do it ourselves, we can do it for other people.’”
Driven by their own experiences with community fundraising, the Major sisters turned it into a non-profit in 2019. So far, they’ve raised almost $10,000.
(For more on the subject, read “Black musicians make waves in Miami.”)
Quiana Major said the name derives from the millennial generation’s circumstances.
“There’re always programs to help younger children, and there are programs to help those aging out of the workforce to be retrained,” she said. “But there are no programs for those of us who have to just grind it out.”
Symone added: “The question is ‘What’s for millennials, and where do we fit in? What programs are there for Black millennials?’” she said. “So, we asked ourselves ‘Why?’ and built it ourselves.”
Through their work, they have been able to help provide over 100 artists a platform to showcase their talents through their online shows “The Indie Seat,” and “Mango Sessions,” as well as through booking shows throughout South Florida.
And Context of a Generation makes a point of booking artists who are underrepresented in the music community and pays them for their efforts.
While the efforts of the Major sisters focus on the local music scene, some of the artists that had their start on the platform went on to become nationally recognized.
Ale Mor, a solo artist, won a Latin Grammy after being on the “Indie Seat” and “Mango Sessions.” Local band Mustard Service, toured nationally after their appearances on the same shows.
“I came to the realization a while ago while separating myself as ‘Frankie Midnight the artist,’ and ‘Frankie Midnight, the secretary of a non-profit organization,’ and realized that I have access to opportunities that I never had when I first started.” Midnight said. “And being able to relate to artists that or Black or of color, or of any minority, I knew we had to provide something for people to be able to get their starts, to build that platform that we never had to begin with.”
The organization also partners with other local non-profit organizations to provide classes and services for those who need it.
Generation Defined, a series of free professional art classes for children experiencing homelessness, is sponsored by both the Miami Light Project and the Lotus House.
The South Beach Ritz Carlton provides an artist residency every weekend. Winemaker E & J Gallo partners with local musicians and poets to create art and wine pairings.
Symone Major is looking toward the future and hopes that the organization will last beyond her efforts.
“We want to make sure that it doesn’t just stop here after us,” said Symone Major. “We want to make sure that the generations to follow can pick up where we left off and look out for their generation. You know, context of a generation.”
To learn more about Context of a Generation, contact the group at SUBMIT@CONTEXTOFAGENERATION.ORG or visit their website.