You’re invited to JW3’s first Black Mitzvah Party.
We’re so excited to celebrate the Black and Jewish voices in our community with a night of performances that question what it means to ‘come of age’.
Hear from Yiddish singer Anthony Russell, songwriter and producer Autumn Rowe, actor C. Gerod Harris, rapper Nissim Black, and actor and director Rebekah Murrell as they respond to the question: if you could give your Bar or Bat Mitzvah speech today, what would you say?
Hosted live from JW3 by Lara Monroe, this event is part of a series of workshops and events for Black History Month.
NB: Rebekah Murrell and C. Gerod Harris will be performing live at JW3. Anthony Russell, Nissim Black and Autumn Rowe will be performing online from around the world.
Anthony Russell is a vocalist, composer and arranger specializing in music in the Yiddish language. This work has brought him to Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Miami, New York, Toronto, Montreal, London, Berlin, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Krakòw, Tel Aviv, Symphony Space in New York City and the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. Anthony's work with klezmer trio Veretski Pass resulted in Convergence, an EP exploring a century of African American and Ashkenazi Jewish music. He also performs in a Yiddish songwriting duo, Tsvey Brider, with SF Bay Area accordionist and keyboardist Dmitri Gaskin. Anthony lives in Massachusetts with his husband, Rabbi Michael Rothbaum.
Autumn Rowe is a Singer/Songwriter/Producer/DJ from New York. Growing up in the South Bronx, she applied her musical talents in a range of roles, from bandleader to session singer. Later, she became a sought after songwriter, working with some of the world’s biggest artists and record labels.
She wrote the dance anthem behind the 2011 FIFA World Cup “Happiness” featuring Alexis Jordan, and has worked with Dua Lipa, Ava Max, Jon Batiste, Stargate, Jax Jones, MK, Avicci, Zedd,Alesso, AfroJack, Deadmau5,Alex Newell, Leona Lewis, Digital Farm Animals, Boy George, The Knocks, Nick Jonas, Kali Uchis, Kacy Hill,Fifth Harmony, Rodney Jerkins, Sinead Harnett, Lindsey Stirling, Becky G, and Macy Gray, among many other artists.
She performs as the DJ act AFTR PRTY since 2018. She is currently signed to Stellar/Sony ATV as a writer and Ultra Records as an artist.
Autumn is also a celebrated vocal coach. She appeared on season 2 of The X Factor, and as the only vocal coach on America’s Got Talent for five years, between the show’s ninth and thirteenth seasons. She has coached artists including America’s Got Talent winner Grace VanderWaal, Fifth Harmony, Bea Miller, Arin Ray, Carly Rose Sonenclar and Diamond White.
Currently living in Los Angeles, Autumn continues to write and mentor both established and emerging artists. She most recently collaborated with Jon Batiste, Ava Max, Naia Izumi, Tkay Maidza, and P!nk, while continuing to work on her own projects as an artist and producer.
In 2020, Autumn began to use her platform for activism and wrote a song called"WE ARE" by Jon Batiste, which had been chosen to be a part of the "Mask Up America" Campaign. WE ARE was crafted with Autumn to help fuel the Black Lives Matter moment.
Autumn became Co-Director of SONA (Songwriters of North America) songwriter relief fund fighting for the rights of songwriters and also raising money for grants. In 2020, Autumn joined the board of directors for the Norwegian American Chamber of Commerce. In July 2020; Autumn became a judge on Music Is the Universal Cure Song competition.
C. Gerod Harris
Born and bred in Los Angeles, California, Gerod is a multi-faceted performer/academic. He attended Hollywood Performing Arts High School where he trained in dance, singing and acting.
Upon graduating from the University of Southern California (USC) with a BA in Psychology, Gerod juggled teaching languages and humanities with small roles in daytime soap operas, The Young and the Restless, Days of Our Lives, and Santa Barbara.
His desire to hone his craft and expand his horizons motivated Gerod to audition for and gain acceptance into the London Academy of Music and Drama Art (LAMDA) where he earned a degree in Classical Acting.
Upon graduating he was immediately cast in the European tour of Carmen Jones and hasn’t looked back. He has featured in several West End musicals, the most recent being as Ed in Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Whistle Down the Wind” at the Palace Theatre.
Feature films were not far behind and he has the great pleasure of acting alongside Debra Messing in “The Wedding Date”, Gwyneth Paltrow in “Proof” and Jean-Claude Van Damme in “Until Death”.
Gerod has also enjoyed some music chart success with the release of several singles, the most successful being the co-written, “Headaches and Heartaches”.
In the last several years, Gerod now manages and performs in the singing group, Emperors Of Soul. The Emperors Of Soul were semi-finalists in the BBC1 TV programme, Eurovision: Your Country Needs You in which they were mentored by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. They also opened for Barry Manilow in London’s Hyde Park in front of an audience of 40,000 people.
Nissim Black has been a gangsta rapper, a gang member, and a faith seeker. But it is his current incarnation that is here to stay: an African American Hasidic Jew who brings sharp beats and hook-filled rhymes to the masses.
The first single of 2020, “Mothaland Bounce” is a confluence of everything he’s ever done, and everywhere he’s ever been. The vibe is old school, but the song is thoroughly fresh, pairing big beats, an African hook, and a catchy chorus with a video that has already garnered 4 million views on YouTube.
With “Best Friend,” his latest single, and other new tracks, Black has reset his sound to better reflect his past and his present. “’Best Friend’ is a love song to music itself which does so much for the Human soul. "We fall in love with music before we know how to speak, it befriends all of us at an early age,” Black says. “Through life’s ups and downs it always has the right tune or words to comfort us.”
The new tunes feature Black’s melodic singing mixed with silky smooth beats and his nimble verbal sparring; Black’s music has always leaned heavily on melody, but he had to wait for hip hop to catch up. After a long discovery process, both musically and personally, Black has finally found his true identity. “All of those journeys—being in a gang, being on the football team was a part of me trying to say, ‘I belong to something greater than myself, I don’t know where, but I belong somewhere,’” he says. “It’s almost like trying to find that home.”
Rebekah Murrell is an actor and director. Acting credits include: Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare's Globe), Nine Night (National Theatre/Trafalgar Studios), Whitewash (Soho Theatre), Glass.Kill.Bluebeard.Imp and Scenes with girls (Royal Court Theatre). Rebekah made her professional directing debut with J'Ouvert by Yasmin Joseph (Theatre503).
Lara Monroe (Host)
Lara is a 40-something Black Jewish mother and writer from Inner London. In her spare time, she shares the best, worst and often complex simplicity of being a Blewish (Black and Jewish) woman in the UK.