Swizz Beatz Talks to New Saudi Authority, Lewis Hamilton, Art for All – WWD

When founded as Swizz Beatz was a Music producer and seasoned art collector, he ventured to Saudi Arabia to set up a global creative agency based in Riyadh.

During a call Friday with Good Intentions partner Noor Taher, Beatz discussed the youth-centered realm, the need for arts accessible to all, the value of Black artist and why he never gets in a car on a full stomach when his friend Lewis Hamilton gets behind the wheel.

Beatz’s new project comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is strengthening its culture and drawing brands, investors and tourists to the super-rich region. Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Culture announced the creation of 11 specific committees to promote local heritage, meet global demand and boost the national economy. The plan is that the cultural sector will contribute more than $23 billion to the Saudi economy and create 100,000 jobs over the next 10 years.

Architects, designers, artists, filmmakers, writers, Music Producers, playwrights, fashionistas and others will be among the advertisements represented by the new agency. Having laid the groundwork for the project for years by speaking to people in Saudi Arabia, Beatz said the plan will be carried out on a project-by-project basis.

Drawn to the Saudi region in part because of its young population, Beatz also likes that many of the creations there are largely unexplored. Two-thirds of the population is under the age of 35. “It’s a new day and a new era for the world to know it and understand the innovations there,” he said.

The Good Intentions talent pool will help share the region’s stories through tourism, entertainment and the arts. It will also help bring branding and advertising to Saudi Arabia. Working with artists and creators is familiar territory for Beatz. A renowned collector with his wife, Alicia Keys, Beatz created the No Commissions platform to share work globally from the couple’s vast art collection, known as The Dean Collection.

The launch event of Good Intentions in Saudi Arabia will be four public art installations at Jeddah Art Promenade to be viewed during the F1 Saudi Formula Grand Prix from December 3 to 5 Studio Drift, Kwest , Javid Jah and Janet Echelman create large works and impressive outdoor sculptures. The first project is being produced by Far Right Productions and managed by Umbereen Inayet. For example, an artistic falcon lying on the water would be recognizable from a distance.

Janet Echelman

Janet Echelman
George Chinsee for WWD

Multi-Grammy Award winner Beatz said, “A lot of people go to Saudi Arabia and they don’t bring team A. They bring team D but take team A money. The thing for me and Noor is, ‘Let’s really bring quality. quantity and don’t worry about quantity.’ A lot of people come and just say yes to everything. I don’t think we’ll say yes to everything. We like to say yes to projects that we can make, make claims, and set an example.”

As for criticism regarding Saudi Arabia’s controversial reputation for its treatment of women and human rights abuses, Beatz said, “I’m there for the creative part. Good intentions are run by women. Noor is from Saudi Arabia. The team we are assembling are all women. Yes, there’s Saudi news but we can’t stop it from moving forward and working with great creators and people and doing great things and leading the way. There’s so much change going on in Saudi Arabia that I’m seeing, it’s just amazing. Hopefully the world will see that side of Saudi as well. “

He continued, “But there is no place in the world that is perfect, not even where I am sitting right now [in New York]. But we are focusing on highlights of positivity like I do anywhere else in the world. Wherever you go, there’s an upper, middle, and lower deck, right? I wouldn’t rate an entire place downstairs when the world’s youngest population is probably in Saudi Arabia. When you liberate the artists, you liberate the world. My mission has always been to empower creators around the world, that’s why we don’t have Commissions and Dean Collections. I won’t take Saudi off that list because of the great ads there and they deserve attention too. “

Taher then added that the stigma about Saudi Arabia happens because people don’t often talk to people, including Saudi women, to discuss with them women’s rights and what they have to talk about. this problem. “A lot of times it’s the headlines, the media, and the stereotypes that speak for us. More than ever, you have so many women in leadership roles and in government leading so many initiatives,” she said. “…I’m on a construction site and I feel completely at ease and really safe. This needs to be heard, especially given the way we want to build Good Intention here with a group of mostly female leaders. “

Referring to the years of human rights abuses there, Taher said, “Yes, yes, of course, as has happened around the world. Just need a little clarity on the positivity going on here. If that were focused on every region of the world, there wouldn’t be any progress. Politics is not really our way, as Swizz said. It’s really nurturing and growing a creative movement here. ”

When asked about F1 champion Hamilton, Beatz said: “I’m scared to drive with him but he’s one of my best friends. If you get in the car with him, you just know – you don’t eat,” he said, laughing. “You have to be hungry if he’s going to drive you.”

Despite having a collection of Ferraris, Beatz isn’t too concerned with acceleration anymore. “Honestly, I’d rather look at the cars than drive them. For me, Ferraris are great sculptures. Yes, I drive them, but I don’t speed like I used to. I did not know what had happened. When I was a kid, I just wanted to put the pedals on the floor. I guess I’m older now”.

With art Recently, the market has been plummeting, Beatz said he has bought and not sold anything from his and his wife’s private collection for more than 20 years despite many offers for other works. together. “We help the African American market with The Dean Collection. Our aim is to build a community in the art world [through] a traveling museum so that our people can access art. That’s the whole reason we started it – not to sell art but to make it accessible to people who don’t really have access to our culture,” he said. speak.

Works by Kehinde Wiley, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Derrick Adams and many others are part of their collection. “We supported these artists before the boom came. When we run a lot of these artists, we run big works from them. We like to collect in large format, because very rarely do we find ourselves in possession of large portions of our culture. We wanted to have in our collection oversized pieces that represent these artists in a very powerful way,” he said. “Over two thousand pieces in the collection.”

Interested in bringing the Dean Collection to a wider audience, Beats said he and Keys just didn’t want to do it the traditional way. “I wanted to do it so that you have to go to many places to see the entire collection. That has always been my goal because I want to encourage people to travel. A lot of cultures don’t travel. I want people to travel as much as possible and as often as possible,” he said.

While some major art museums and cultural institutions are trying to showcase more work by Black artists, Beatz sees everything as being in “one great space”. As a board member of the Serpentine Gallery and the Brooklyn Museum, he praised later director Anne Pasternak as “a great leader, always disrupting, changing and delivering shows different creations. Even when people disagree with her, she’s there to change, which is why I’m on the board of the Brooklyn Museum. This is what we need – future-minded people, and that’s what I see in Saudi. That’s what’s going to get the world’s attention on what’s to come.”

When asked how some companies spoke during the social justice movement last year about the need to improve equity and social diversity and since then, while others other people no longer have that ability, Beatz said, “I’m not part of the company. I am a disruptor even though I know the company very well. I have worked with the company in changing many of these companies. At this point in my life, if companies aren’t in the creators’ mission statement, I don’t even want to talk to them. It is just a waste of time. Following a trend instead of setting an example are two different things. We’re trying to set an example for the next 20+ years, not follow a trend that’s been happening for the past 10 years. That’s not progress.”

Often “very skeptical” when corporations come to the table, Beatz allows a few companies to add some greatness. “I feel that advertisers should have their own plans so that when companies come to them, advertisers know how they can win. Corporations already know how to win. That’s the problem. That’s why I promote education so much… a lot of people just don’t understand business, period. They don’t understand that this is music business, fashion business, art business. If I were an artist, I would focus on the art, not the business. I leave that to my lawyer or manager. We should act as managers and lawyers so that when we hire them, we are smart and know when we are being taken advantage of. If you do not have the information, you will have to pay the price in money and in time. Either way, you’ll have to pay. I appeal to all simultaneous creators to master their business and craft, because they always go hand in hand with action. “

https://wwd.com/eye/people/swizz-beatz-talks-new-creative-agency-in-saudi-arabia-speeding-with-lewis-hamilton-and-accessible-art-1235000904/ Swizz Beatz Talks to New Saudi Authority, Lewis Hamilton, Art for All – WWD


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