Interviews

Published on August 12th, 2021 | by Dr. Jerry Doby

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Meet Elite Hip Hop Violinist Joy Black

Joy Black knew that her life would one day change the moment she held a violin for the first time at age 13. She was a girl in the 8th grade who was routinely bullied for being skinny and for being different. In fact, the teasing was so excessive, that at one point it drove her to develop an eating disorder. However, on one fateful night, an unexpected dream completely altered her life Рpaving the way for a musician who would eventually work with major corporations and some of the biggest stars in entertainment.

“In my dream, I saw myself on stage in front of thousands of people. It felt so real and it gave me a sense of hope and something to strive for,” said Black. “I had never even seen or heard of a black woman playing the violin, but I knew that’s what I wanted to do. The violin is literally the reason I made it through high school because¬†my orchestra class was at the end of the day. No matter what I had to endure during the rest of school, I wanted to be there. That was my escape.”

Fast forward to the present day, and the 24-year old has performed at events for Ford, Gatorade, CBS, the New England Patriots, Essence, and many other companies.

We wanted to know more about Joy and her journey as well as her motivation to excel so we got her to weigh in on a few things.

From the outside looking in, who is Joy Black?

Joy Black is a 24-year-old classically trained violinist that enjoys playing Hip-Hop, Pop, and R&B music. She also makes meditation music for people to relax and study to. Aside from being a musician, she is also a woman that is passionate about veganism, environmentalism, fashion, and philanthropy. She wants to make a difference in the world.

What was the defining moment that brought you to music as a professional?

¬†I’ve had a lot of major opportunities¬†ever since I became a solo violinist, but the one opportunity that I would consider as a defining moment for me as a professional musician is when I did musical theatre in Busch Gardens, Virginia for a show called Oktoberfest. I had to perform 4 times a day, 5-6 times a week for about 5 months. I was performing for thousands of people a week. I was their featured solo violinist. I learned how to really entertain a large crowd and be comfortable¬†doing it.

Tell us about your experience becoming a respected violinist!

When I first started out, there weren’t many examples of black female Hip-Hop violinists to follow for inspiration. There wasn’t much info or advice online to follow¬†if you wanted to have a successful career. So, I pretty much had to learn to navigate things by myself and become accustomed to the stares¬†from people and the shock that I was a young black woman doing what I do. It has not always been easy.¬† I’ve experienced major highs and lows, but they all turned out to be valuable learning experiences.

Tell us about your current project and what it means for you!

Currently, I have a single out called “Champion Rising,” which is available now on all platforms.¬†¬†Also, I’m working with celebrity wardrobe¬†stylist Royal Fudge, styling on some very creative photoshoots. We are pushing boundaries towards new looks with amazing concepts. I always push towards creating things that most people haven’t seen before. I am very excited for people to see what I am coming out with next.¬†

What’s the most important thing we need to know about Joy Black?

I am a person who is truly passionate about using music as an outlet for spiritual and mental healing. I grew up not fitting in with other kids and teens in school, and due to those experiences, I was always depressed and anxious. Listening to music and playing it has always relaxed me. I love to use my gift to also help others as well and to bring an audience to a relaxed state of mind. 

Do you have a bucket list of collaborations?

I would love to work with Nicki Minaj, Drake, The Weeknd, Beyonce, and Lil Baby.

How do you fight the stereotypes of being a black violinist?

I’m not fighting any stereotypes.¬† The stereotypes¬†do exist, but I’m not responsible for changing the negative thinking of other¬†people that¬†I don’t even know. It has not held me back from¬†accomplishing those things that I already have, and the¬†things that I wish to accomplish in the future.¬† As a musician, I had to learn to accept that not everyone will like me or my music. I always benefited from the negative energy by not feeding it, but transmuting it into positive energy to manifest a successful career, and going back and helping others. My goal is to show them that anything is possible as long as you’re confident in your gifts, no matter how anyone else sees you.

What about the sexist vein in the music world…how do you cope?

I really don’t experience sexism in the music industry. Since the industry has way more men than women, and that coming across a Hip-Hop violinist is rare; I’m really not seen as competition. Music producers and artists are more than willing to collaborate with me since I’m bringing something new to the table. So far, the male music producers that I’ve worked with have been very respectful, they don’t try to belittle me in any way.¬†

What’s been your funniest WFT?! moment thus far in your career?

When I was doing musical¬†theatre in Busch Gardens in Virginia, one of my fellow stage members was standing a little too close behind me, and I accidently poked her in the face with my violin bow. A few people that were in the audience noticed what happened and laughed. Being professional¬†performers, we have to carry on like it never happened. I’m not able to see behind me when I’m playing and sometimes I have come close to hitting people. I kind of find it embarrassing, but other people think it’s hilarious lol.

What’s next for you?

I’m currently working on having my very own concert. It’s the only thing that I haven’t done that I’d like to do. If that doesn’t happen, I’m living in the moment and going with the flow of life. I live life with no expectations. I get to enjoy where I’m at, and just be grateful¬†that I’ve made it this far at a young age. I don’t truly know what’s next for me, all I know is that there’s no place greater than this very moment.

For updates and more information on Joy Black and her work, visit www.joyblackviolinist.com or follow her on Instagram at @blacksworld.



About the Author

Editor-in-Chief of The Hype Magazine, Media and SEO Consultant, Journalist, Ph.D. and retired combat vet. 2023 recipient of The President's Lifetime Achievement Award. Partner at THM Media Group. Member of the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the United States Press Agency and ForbesBLK.


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