The Andrew Freedman Home is a Catalyst for the Arts In The Bronx

The Andrew Freedman Home looks like it belongs in the hills outside Florence, Italy. Instead, it was built on the Grand Concourse in the 1920’s to house the formerly rich who had fallen on hard times. The South Bronx is the cradle of Hip-Hop music with Kool Herc’s neighborhood nearby and graffiti by the legendary Tats Cru can be seen on the wall facing the Grand Concourse so its history makes it a perfect location to focus a band’s creative energy and shoot a music video. Many floors in the space remain undeveloped and are littered with relics from its varied past…

Making A Music Video In the South Bronx, The Birthplace of Hip-Hop

The hip hop artist, director and filmmaker, Pharoahe Monch, and the team at Schmtcs choose the Andrew Freedman home as a set to shoot a video for his group, Th1Rt3en.  The horror-themed video was for the track “Cult 45”. The members of the group Th1rt3en are the lyricist, Pharoahe Monch: drummer, Daru Jones (Jack White, Pete Rock, Jamie Lidell); and guitarist, Marcus Machado (The Family Stand, Pete Rock, Buddy Miles). Their debut album, A Magnificent Day for an Exorcism, is a unique combination of hip-hop and rock that is complemented by the macabre vibes of the unused sections in the space.


Thirteen Album Cover

Th1rt3en: A Magnificent Day for an Exorcism (Album art)

Pharoahe Monch, is one of hip-hop’s most prolific lyricists and a brilliant storyteller, he uses vivid metaphors in his rhymes and the video “Cult 45” off the debut album represents his unique style and embodies his sonic aesthetic. The look and feel of “Cult 45” was inspired by the dystopic futures of sci-fi films and cult classic horror films, whose imagery critiques consumerism, politics, and society.

This project was highlighted in Rolling Stone’s web series The Breakdown:

In the Rolling Stone show, The Breakdown (seen above), David Grandison Jr (the Music Origins Project curator and Yellowbrick Executive Producer) discusses the innovative techniques that the Yellowbrick team used to document the video shoot and create an immersive 360-degree learning exploration for students in Yellowbrick Film and TV Industry Essentials program. The Rolling Stone program discusses how Director/Lyricist Pharoahe Monch and his band Th1rt3en, created the music video for the song “Cult 45” during the pandemic.

The David Grandison’s Yellowbrick team and Schmtcs innovated by combining 3D Room Scans, time-lapse 360 Degree Videos, 360-degree tours and spatial audio to create an immersive VR exploration of the filmmaking process that our students can experience on a VR headset, using an inexpensive headset like Google Cardboard or even on their smartphone alone.

The Andrew Freedman Home

The andrew Freedman Home

The Andrew Freedman Home

The villa was built by financier Andrew Freedman. He left part of his fortune to create a home for elderly people who had once been well-to-do so that they could retire in the proper style. The Renaissance building served this purpose until the 1960s.

In the early 1980s, the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council (now Mid-Bronx Council) acquired the property. In addition to the various community programs, a portion of the southern wing has been converted to a bed and breakfast and the 2nd floor now houses an Artist-In-Residence program as well as a Small Business Incubator program. The MBC has long-range plans for redeveloping the rest of the facility. Today it houses a Head Start program, senior programs, and serves as a gallery and studio for many illustrious artists like Sanford Biggers.

Special Thanks:

The band Th1rt3en – Pharoahe Monch, Daru Jones, Marcus Machado
Schmtcs – Mark Hines, Syris Winge Barnes
Get-A-Grip Productions – Rashad Frett, Josh Therriault, Arianna Thibodeu, Dave Rawolle, Sam Motamedi, Bryane Fleming, Dimitris Anthony Aguilera

Zoi Ellis, the Andrew Freedman Home and the Yellowbrick Film and TV Industry Essentials team for their collaboration on the project.

Read the Rolling Stone article to learn more about the project.


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