James Mathew - President & Co-Founder
Olivia Owens - Director of Operations & Co-Founder
The mission of 21 Colorful Crimson is to use its art to advocate for diversity and defy Harvard stereotypes. The group is creating an original album to be marketed nationally, advancing our professional music endeavors. 21CC is dedicated to representing a better America and applying the group pillars of creativity, inclusion, and love to alleviate social divisions.
Arriving on Harvard’s campus for his first semester of college, James Mathew was eager to find a space to continue the music performance he had pursued passionately in high school. Immediately, he was overwhelmed by the prevalence of gifted musicians throughout the Class of 2021. This commonality created several opportunities for casual “jam sessions”, occurring anywhere from a table at Annenberg Dining Hall to the steps of Widener Library. Mathew recognized that these informal music get-togethers maintained a high quality that entertained many listeners. He began to imagine how a more structured form of artistic collaboration could benefit Harvard’s Class of 2021.
One morning in early January 2018, Mathew woke up with a name for his primitive idea: 21 Colorful Crimson. As an Indian American having grown up in a homogenous Caucasian community, the diversity of Harvard’s student population had already been transformative; it only made sense that the colorful nature of the class be emphasized in his project. Olivia Owens, his close friend and co-founder, grew up in a very similar environment. She didn’t waste any time in creating the project’s Google Doc and outlining logistics, coining 21CC as the catchy acronym. After determining a plan of action, they reached out to Samyra Miller and Jasmine Hyppolite. The two of them were eager to join the executive board, helping to establish the group and then select the 21 participating members. As 21CC continues to create original material and pursue live performance venues, they recognize that this project must be about more than just the music. Elijah De’Vaughn, Mathew’s best friend and fellow 21CC artist, consistently stresses the importance of a larger purpose. “What is our narrative?”, he asks Mathew and the rest of the 21 Colorful Crimson. “Everything has to have a narrative.” Every day, 21CC continues to define its mission, cognizant of the platform for global impact that Harvard’s name provides.