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Brooklyn Group Looks to 'Spread Love' With Freestyle Pop-Up Performances

 Avenue Music Group hosts summer
Avenue Music Group hosts summer "Spread Love" cyphers throughout Bedford-Stuyvesant, with performances from local artists, musicians, poets, and more.
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Avenue Music Group

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — They’re spreading love, the Brooklyn way.

An organization is taking to the streets of Bedford-Stuyvesant with outdoor music performances to showcase local artists and spread positivity, according to organizer Joshua Walker.

The “Spread Love” summer series from Avenue Music Group features cyphers, or group freestyles, with hip-hop artists, musicians and poets in public spaces around the neighborhood.

“Because of the social media age and people’s attention spans being five seconds, nobody does anything in the community anymore,” said Walker, CEO and founder of AMG.

“There’s no real engagement and I just wanted to bring that back.”

AMG has hosted four cyphers since the start of the summer, with three in Bed-Stuy and one in Queens.

Performers and spectators come and go during the two-hour block, with more than 30 artists stopping by, Walker said.

“You can come, vibe out real quick, and enjoy the rest of your day,” he added.

Warning: Video contains profanity

The performances are held at pre-determined locations with heavy foot traffic. Past spots have included Fulton Street and Nostrand Avenue, Fulton and Utica Avenue, and Restoration Plaza.

Attendees have the chance to participate in free photo shoots and videos for AMG's collaboration with clothing brand "I Am Culture," Walker, 23, said.

In addition to providing a platform and network for emerging artists, the founder said he sought to combat increased crime that usually comes in the summer months, as first reported by Voices of NY.

“I wanted to show young people doing positive things,” the Bed-Stuy resident explained.

“We want people to know, this is what our culture should be like. When you think of African-Americans, the first thing you think of shouldn’t be something like, he’s probably a drug dealer, he’s probably shooting somebody or has been to jail.

“Our culture is full of strong, powerful, strategic, creative people so I want people to see: this is what we could be, this is what we should be.”

The cyphers came as an extension of AMG’s “Make it Happen” campaign, in which artists and musicians visit neighborhood schools for entrepreneurship workshops.

“If I can make a change, that’s what I’m trying to do,” Walker said.

He hopes to expand the “Spread Love” series across the five boroughs this summer, he added.