Herndon, Virginia – The DMV’s “Urban Party Station,” Urban Flava Radio, will celebrate its one-year anniversary on June 29th and the mastermind behind it discussed how it started and where it plans to go next.
Urban Flava Radio is a 24/7 Internet Radio Station that plays your favorite urban Hip-Hop, Rap, Old School, Gospel and Indie Artist music.
Abraham Amir is the mastermind behind Urban Flava Radio. He put the Urban Flava Network together by himself. His goal was and still is, to change the narrative of media, and how it portrays Black people. Another one of his goals is also to educate, enlighten and empower the urban community.
“The media plays a big role in how we view things,” Amir said. “Traditional media – I believe– pushes the agenda of advertisers of corporate America. With me being independent I get to push the narratives we as Blacks need to push.”
He voiced a person could turn on their local news and a Black minor can commit a crime and that minor can be called a “thug.” While a white minor can commit the same crime and be called “a troubled teen.”
“Why can’t the Black minor be called a “troubled teen?” Amir rhetorically said.
“The media has controlled the narrative for so long of how the black community is seen and we need our own stations and media outlets,” he said. “So I created the Urban Flava Radio Network to take back control of the narrative.”
He understands that there are outlets out there for Black people – like Black Entertainment Television. But Amir voiced that networks like BET have changed their narrative in a way that does not always show Black people in a great light.
“BET was the love of my life when I was younger,” Amir said.
He said when he was younger there was a BET office in D.C., and he knew people that worked there, and he could pass it on a regular basis.
“I lived in D.C. and loved it,” he said. “I went to Ohio and went to my friend’s house and saw he was watching BET. It blew me away. I only thought BET was a D.C. thing. It was national and everywhere. It made me so much more proud to be black.”
He wants people to have that same pride in Urban Flava Radio. He wants it to be the authentic urban experience – authentic Black experience.
Amir said he now knows BET has been sold to a larger media outlet, but he said it exploits Black people more than it inspires or empowers them.
“I was born and raised in southeast D.C. and I’m proud to be black,” he said.
He expressed that he could sit in anyone’s corporate boardroom and go toe-to-toe with the best of them. He can be in any alley in any hood and commune with the best of them, he said.
“I’m urban and I refuse to give you a fake experience,” he said. I’m not showing you the hood or drugs narrative anymore. I’ve elevated and you can too. We need to graduate from that and elevate,” Amir said. “I tell people, you are so much more than you know… and together we can create a change.”
June 29th marks one year since Urban Flava Radio hit the scene.
“It has been rough because we’re going against the grain and that’s never easy,” he said.
He said if he did things the traditional way and conformed, cajoled to media outlets, his radio station probably would be farther. He said he wouldn’t have been able to make a change the way he has.
“It’s been rewarding,” he said.
Amir has been able to touch the lives of many with his platform. At one of Urban Flava’s events, he met some comedians there. They always wanted their own comedy show and now they have a platform with Urban Flava on Urban Flava Radio Reloaded.
Their show is, “Shits and Giggles.” They do it every first Sunday at PJ Mulligans in Herndon, Virginia.
“I was able to open that door for them on Urban Flava Radio Reloaded and that is rewarding being able to help facilitate someone’s dream come true,” he said. “Nothing in the world like that,” he said.
He said while out in the community, people have voiced they have listened to his radio station. He said that is rewarding too.
What makes them different from traditional radio stations?
“We’re more internet-based,” he said.
He added that with traditional radio, they will push being played in the car versus through the internet. Amir added when this happens, it will not be long before the radio station is not heard anymore, and an individual must tune to another station.
He said with Urban Flava Radio they can be heard through a web browser and their app is also coming soon.
Amir said another thing that makes them stand out is that they can play the music the urban audience wants to hear. He doesn’t have to play a certain song several times during a specific time block. He said this is due to him not being controlled by advertisers or corporate organizations.
The Indie Artist (Independent artist)
Amir said a lot of indie artists are not able to get radio play on traditional stations. He said because traditional radio is operated by commercial media and has a set playlist that consists of mainstream artists that will make them money. Because of that commercial media is not focused on the indie artist.
Traditional radio may play indie artists during the late night or early mornings, but hardly ever during a rotation when mainstream artists’ music is played.
“We’re self-contained, so we have the power to play what we want to play,” Amir said. “We add our indie artist into the regular rotation of mainstream artists.”
He said they do not play every indie artist that sends in music, they have a standard for what they allow.
“If you become a frequent listener to Urban Flava Radio, and you hear one indie artist in rotation and learn their name, it’ll make you research that artist and want to listen to them more. We’re giving them that spot in rotation. No other station is doing that.”
He said right now, on the 24-hour cycle his station plays, one indie artist is playing at least once an hour.
Amir said for those indie artists interested in sending in their music, there is a process.
“All artists — send your radio edited song to firstname.lastname@example.org,” Amir said.
Once the artist submits the music, once a month Urban Flava will listen to the submissions.
From that point, Urban Flava selects an artist to showcase for that month. Then that artist’s music will go into rotation.
Amir said Urban Flava personnel tells the artist when their song will air on a specific date and time.
“It allows the artist to tell their friends and family,” he said. “Then Urban Flava Radio will give the date and time on social media. It airs that first time and then goes into constant rotation.”
Who Got Next?
“Who Got Next?” is an artist showcase that helps artists to market and promote themselves. It gives artists who may not have everything they need to get themselves out there – on Urban Flava Radio’s dime.
What Amir does with “Who Got Next?” is give artists a starter package.
When they win the contest, the package includes: four songs produced by JayBeeBabyBeats (on IG), recording of the four songs, mixing and mastering of the project, and now the artist has an EP (a musical recording that contains fewer tracks than an album – typically four to six songs). In this package, Urban Flava and its partners get a camera crew to make a video for one of the four songs. Then the entire project gets Digital Distribution through JayBeeBabyBeats.
The goal is to do this quarterly.
Amir said by Urban Flava Radio’s third anniversary, Urban Flava will be Radio, Urban Flava Magazine and Urban Flava Television. His goal is to add a new piece of media each year.
For more information on Urban Flava Radio Network, view their Instagram.