When you buy a ticket to the Afrohaus cultural brunch in Los Angeles, you’re urged to “come with an open mind and an open heart.” Though there are musical performances spanning a wide range of genres, this is not a concert. As founder Kelly Brett describes it, it’s a “spiritual community journey” – an intimate experience where you can watch painters making art, participate in a guided meditation, enjoy food by local chefs, and dance your heart out, all while giving artists a way to express themselves.
Brett is a quarter of The.WAV, a group of musicians who met as friends in New York and moved to the West Coast together in 2015. Though they all write, sing, produce, and engineer the music, each has their specialty: Brett is the group’s promoter and designer; Tanzania-born producer Gregory Stutzer is the visionary behind the sound; Tarik “Cardigan” Barrow grew up rapping in the Bronx; and Badí Meccouri has been called the group’s “soulful crooner.”
The.WAV—the name is inspired by the high-quality audio file format—will soon put out their second album of high-energy dance music, under the U.K. label Dudley Road Records. They are among the finalists in the Performing Artist category at the Creator Awards, sponsored by WeWork, performing live in San Francisco on May 10.
As The.WAV develops its own following, the group is driven by a larger mission to champion other musicians, poets, and artists through its Afrohaus events. Born about eight months ago, the alcohol-free events are part music festival, part classy brunch, part spiritual retreat, and part dance party. They begin with acoustic music, poetry, and dance, and always close out with an upbeat performance by The.WAV.
The artists receive a small stipend and a consistent venue to showcase their talents—which often leads to other bookings, says 32-year-old Brett, a Spelman graduate who previously worked in finance and fashion, created her own line of jewelry, and ran private art shows in New York.
“For me it’s always been about creating something for the community,” Brett said. “I really believe there’s a way for communities to run these sort of events and bring people together but also pay artists.”
Afrohaus was a finalist this year at WeWork’s Creator Awards San Francisco, held on May 10.
In the past eight months, Afrohaus has showcased approximately 50 artists and performers to more than 1,200 guests, with revenues of approximately $19,000. Brett is working to replicate the experience in New York later this year and would like to expand to London, San Francisco, and Hawaii.
“With my background and all these different jobs I’ve had, I’ve learned so much and I love sharing what I’ve learned,” she said. “Afrohaus is everything. It’s exactly everything I ever wanted from all my experiences. I dream about it.”