Photo by Michael Bezjian/Getty Images for Black Santa/BIG3-
Former NBA All-Star Baron Davisfounded The Black Santa Company in 2016 with the hopes of harnessing the end-of-year joy by celebrating cultural diversity through music, a space where positivity is often overshadowed.
“My mission in life has always been the same. It’s about being inclusive and bringing people together and sharing ideas and looking at the good in each and every culture. If we can celebrate the positivity and diversity it’ll make a stronger people,” Baron shared.
To spread positivity, Baron and his creative team are producing a series of mixtapes. The first installment, Winter Wonderland, blends contemporary hip-hop and R&B through the lens of various animated characters each with unique personalities. Winter Wonderland released earlier this month and is available on all major streaming services.
The mixtape is comprised of 15 tracks, each of which are paired with an animated music video featuring characters to life. Baron explained, “What we have been doing is building out the characters and building out the world. We are at a point where we are going to release four tapes a year to represent the seasons.”
Through the lyrical content and accompanying animation, Baron wants his music to reflect stories that mirror cultural change. He envisions expanding the character roster to reflect a diverse world. “Right now we have introduced 13-15 characters and throughout the year we will probably get to about 25,” Baron said alluding to the future mixtapes. The stories behind each character can be found on blacksanta.com
Although the company name, The Black Santa, is tied to Christmas, the characters will be developed year round. They represent every season and are not limited to only being featured in their season of origin. Baron explained, “Chilly might have a song in the summer. A lot of our characters live throughout the year so they will have opportunities to be on other songs.” The characters, much like people, will experience emotional changes according to a season.
Baron credits two moments in his life for the motivation behind The Black Santa Company; his love for music, specifically storytelling, and his children. “I learned how to produce when I was playing for the Knicks. Once I got hurt, I spent a lot of time in the studio cultivating a love for music and storytelling,” Baron continued, “Looking at my sons I want to be able to teach them who they are and who they will be. I want to teach them to love themselves at an early age. I think being a dad is the coolest thing in the world and it’s where I draw all my inspiration from.”
Listen to the mixtape below:
The Black Santa Winter Wonderland Mixtape, an album by Various Artists on Spotify