On Wednesday evening, we hosted a listening event for Jelani Blackman's debut album, 'The Heart Of It', in our Avenell Club, Emirates Stadium.
With our supporters at the heart of everything we do, the club is focused on lifting and supporting our talented individuals and communities, and the event was a great success.
This continues on from our 2023/24 Away Kit launch, which celebrated the club’s Islington roots by broadcasting the brightest Arsenal-supporting artists onto the world stage, and showcasing the creativity, style and cultural influence of the club's family.
In his new album, Jelani candidly discusses important themes of racial and economic inequality, identity, relationships, and the importance of community - in life, music, football and other creative areas, and its positive effect on mental health. This body of music ties so naturally to the club, with our dedicated community team working selflessly to positively impact the lives of young people and create a sense of belonging.
Speaking on our community work, Jelani said, "I think it’s incredible, and the consistency is so impressive. It just seems like year after year the club finds new and better ways to engage with the community and bring people into the spirit of the team…I am very proud that it is the ethos of the club I support."
Along with an intimate, live performance of new tracks including "Clear" and "Rise", Jelani held a Q&A, where he shared his musical influences, experience as an Arsenal supporter, and connection to the club.
"One of the big songs on the album “Clear” is about succeeding with the people you love — I feel like the team at the moment is breaking boundaries in a lot of ways, my aim is for the music and message of this album do the same."
"To be able to put an event like this together with the club I supported my whole life, in the actual stadium is unbelievable, it’s been the best part of the whole album campaign."