A TV show about local art and why you should watch.

The Rhythm-N-Hues Show is a canvas for local artists and members of the art community.

The budget was tight and the staff was scarce. When reading their lines offscreen, the hosts often forgot to blink. Guests stuttered and stumbled across their words on screen. But that day in 2008 inside her tiny makeshift studio in Tampa, Ordette "Rocket" Rocque saw the stuff that dreams were made of. 

There are people who make art and people who view art; then, there's Rocque. She makes it her business to help local artists realize their dreams. The Rhythm N Hues Show, which originated on YouTube, is a Tampa-based talk show featuring artists and the local art community airs Thursdays at 8 a.m., 1 p.m., and 8 p.m. on Bright House 365 and Verizon 32. But there's something for everybody, and I'll tell you why. 

Rocque knows how to get it done. "I started the show from scratch," Rocque tells me. And she really did. She was an artist herself with a background in photography, drawing and spoken poetry, but when the time came to choose a career path, Rocque realized she wanted to do something else. She started a  TV show. "I decided to take everything I love and everything I did and turn into me producing a show to help others have their dreams realized," she explains. What do you do when you want to create a TV show, but have no prior background in video production?

Rocque got on Craigslist and hired a videographer. Next, she used her connections in the spoken poetry community to pick up and interview fellow artists in front of the camera. She funded the production herself, stopping only when she ran out of money and had to earn more. Using manuals, mentors, and Youtube videos, she acquired the necessary equipment and learned how to shoot, edit, and direct the show herself. That's pure determination. 
Mastering success is a voracious beast. "No one is telling artists how to do it and they end up just thinking it’s easy. But it’s not easy and I want to tell them how to do it." Not only does the show place local artists in the spotlight, other segments such as "What artists need to know" invites local art gallery owners on stage to explain how artists can get their work in their exhibit. Another past segment explained copyright law when trying to create a performance name. 
“I want to bring on music producers who tell aspiring musicians what they need to do and what their focus should be. I want to bring on radio personalities who tell artists how to get their music on the radio. These are the things I want to put out there," says Rocque. 

Local businesses and members of the art community have a chance to participate. After her show was picked up by Tampa Bay Arts and Education Network, a non-profit program, the production quality is higher and she has more staff to assist. She hopes that the broadcast-ready production of her show might offer an avenue to garner support from local businesses and people in the art community. Until then, most of the show’s funds are out-of-pocket with the hosts and staff working on a volunteer basis. Rocque also continues to write and recruit talent for each episode. 

A chance for local artists to display their work. 
As far as the artists she chooses to feature, Rocque is open to anyone one with talent and has something to say. She books and showcases several artists in each of her episodes via an exclusive interview followed by a live performance or display of their art. When writing questions for the interviews, she has three things in mind: That they must serve to motivate, inspire, and educate both the viewer and the guests. She doesn’t discriminate against any type of medium or artist, but does prefer socially-conscious artists that have something positive to say.

The artists on the show are really good. A hearty lineup of locally renowned talent also appearing in the upcoming season include singer and songwriter Janelle “J’Nelle” Richardson, comedian Barak Amen, painter Mark Levasseur, and poet Dennis Amadeus. Her hosts are also artists. When they're not working full-time jobs or actively participating in the spoken poetry community, Spokenheart and Poetic Kiss come in to host the show on a volunteer basis. Fashion host Katie Brinson is a self described lawyer-by-day/fashionista-by-night. In a segment with Ari J, whose designs appear in New York Fashion Week, models grace across the set in long-flowing bohemian-chic dresses while Katie Brinson asks: "So how can somebody like me, who's not a size six, get one of your dresses?" Brinson has a taste in high fashion, but her ability to speak frankly about accessibility makes her enjoyable to watch. 

You won't find Rocque anywhere on camera. Hell, she's not even in any of these pictures.

“It’s funny. I do a show that exposes artists, but at the same time I would prefer no one knew my name. I’m not trying to go after fame or anythi ng. I literally just want to stand in the background and watch the show evolve.” Sorry, Rocque, but this article is mostly about you. She wants a show where artists can perform, talk about their art, inspire others, and hopefully when their next big release is out, they come back to share their experience the audience. “I’m not trying to go anywhere else. I think Tampa is a perfect place to do all of this.”

“People don’t exactly know that we’re here, so hopefully with this article, they will be able to see that the Rhythm N Hues Show is here.” Artists: The platform is here. Art community: This is a good opportunity to get your message on TV. And everyone else: Watch the show to find out what's going on.

The show might not be Empire, but it is real. It's a public program that covers local talent and information about art in our town. Do a Google search on "local artists in Tampa" and you'll find scrambled profiles and events. Simply put: It's not easy to find out who the best artists in our area are, or why we should care. The Rhythm N Blues Show showcases our local artists. And damn, they're pretty good. 
Check out the show's website for more information.

Ying Lo writes about television and entertainment for Creative Loafing. She has a blog and can be found flunking social media @yinglo. Let her tell you how best to binge watch every Monday.


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