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A Black Rose From The Concrete Jungle

by YaYa Vargas

Black Rose

First generation American born Caribbean Latinos get the best of both worlds: traditional tropical values and the urban School of Hard Knocks. A great combination for the Dominican blooded Black Rose.

Born Rosemary Severino, the youngest of 4 from her mothers side, and one of 9 from her fathers side, she is known for her hilarious Instagram collaborations and stand- up comedy. However, few fans know Black Rose is also a lyricist.

 

She was raised in Harlem’s Hamilton Heights, when Hip- Hop was in its early stages of becoming the voice of the people. As a huge fan of 90’s family sitcoms, she was inspired to pursue a career in acting. Rose attended several performing arts programs including The American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her interests included acting, as well as dance, being part of the school choir, baseball and boxing.

Post high school, Rose gave birth to a baby boy. Motherhood and heartbreak caused her to put career passions on hold to become a dedicated mother. However, the universe had different plans, and a new found vision as a lyricist came calling. She then balanced a career in music, being a single mom, and a day job.

 

2006, recording in the studio

Live performance venues like The NuYorican Poets Cafe and The Pyramid Club became her playground to hone in on her wordplay. Rose recorded video of her performances as a studying tool for self- improvement.

At this time she and her partner, both in life and business, who also helped her develop the stage name Black Rose, went so far as to co- invest in a home recording studio to keep the heat coming. 

Rose’s first professional recording experience was at the Ruff Ryders Powerhouse Recording Studios. Up until then she expressed her rhymes predominantly in English. Mr. Dean, founder of the Hip- Hop collective, advised Rose to tap into her roots and focus on the Latin community, incorporating Spanish into her lyrics.

 

Her skills granted an invitation to officially join the Ruff Ryders family at a very crucial time when female rappers Eve and Remy Ma were also on the rise.

Loyalty to her day one’s kept Rose from accepting the opportunity, even if it meant leaving her original crew to join a very prominent team well known in the industry. Advise came from all angles, and when she was told to strictly focus on provocative lyrics, it did not sit well with her. This was the beginning of her disassociation from the music industry. Rose preferred to address broader subjects like deportation to DR, growing up as an Afro- Latina in Harlem, being surrounded by illegal and dangerous lifestyles, heartbreak and social issues.

2018, “Chained” movie poster

Music was still part of her life story while working a day job to make ends meet. One afternoon in 2007, urban life author Deborah Cardona, also owner of Deja Vu Productions, approached Rose at work to play the lead role in Cardona’s first feature film, based on her true life story. The two lost touch, but reconnected eight years later to film “Chained”, now streaming on Prime Video. It was the first time both Rose’s loves shared the stage, as Rose has some of her music included in the movies soundtrack.

Shortly after pursuing music and starring in “Chained”, yet another life-changing low point reminded her of a childhood hobby, boxing. Through fitness Rose was able to regain her confidence.

 

She trained with well known Puerto Rican boxers Belinda Laracuente and Melissa Hernandez. The ladies took Rose under their wing and signed her up to participate in the Golden Gloves without her knowledge. Competing in the middle weight class, she made it to the semi- finals. Rose says, “that experience taught me to face my fears, overcoming obstacles to over power my problems. Training is key, in boxing, and in everything.”

 

2019, practicing yoga

Since a young age Rose has been fascinated with spirituality and energy, always connecting to nature. She credits The Celestine Prophecy as the book that opened her mind around the age of 18. Also an avid yogi, it helps her find a deep connection and energy within herself. In 2013, instagram influenced her to seek sisterhood in the yoga community, empowering Rose to deal with many of life’s ups and downs seeking balance through meditation.

Black Rose has always enjoyed making friends laugh while chatting. Her friend Tyhem Commodore, known in the New York comedy scene, approached Rose to collaborate on comedy sketches for his YouTube channel. She then went on to write, produce and edit her own content for social media.

 

Slowly gaining notoriety in the funny social media world, Rose connected with fellow influencer Ken Starzz. In 2016 they joined forces to create some of the funniest New York skits that have gone viral around the world. 

As a result Black Rose caught the eye of other New York sketch comedy influencers, the likes of Tommy 5k and Mr. Nuevayol. Her work garnered praise, resulting in people encouraging Rose to try her hand at 5 minutes of stand- up comedy.

Comedian Chris Grant gave Rose the push she needed to jump on the Pizza Bodega stage for an open mic night. Rose’s approach was a casual conversation with the audience making fun of herself, raising a teenage boy, her horny cat, and taking care of her social butterfly mother.

 

2019, doing stand- up comedy

Comfortable in her new role as a stand- up comedian, Rose then joined Rachel “La Loca’sHERlarious crew, an all female variety comedy group.

Black Rose is also proud to be a cannabis activist and a content creator for Happy Monkey, a staple institution of New York cannabis culture. She has even visited Albany to lobby for prison reform, legalizing cannabis, to decriminalize the herb and to promote its medicinal purposes. “Cannabis has always helped with my creativity, so advocating for it comes naturally”, she says.

She has her sites on Hollywood. Currently in talks on a secret comedic talk show deal with a major network, Black Rose envisions a future where she produces her own sitcoms, and so much more. She is well on her way from being a social media influencer to becoming a household name following her multiple passions in all platforms.

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