Posts Tagged ‘DJ Deb’


January 28, 2018



Friday nights in January beckon bone-numbing chills, but tonight’s warmth is piped through an immense boombox sandwiched between storefronts on the “Edge” of downtown. What scenes as more than a weekend get down serves two-fold. Proceeds collected at the door will donate to the MS foundation-courtesy Real Chicks Rock -and a born-day celebration for one of Atlanta’s own.

Downstairs, in the belly of the beast-The Music Room-gracious hugs are exchanged for small talk. Already, the bar is lit; house heads, the LGBTQ com, millennials, and baby-boomers, are in swing at thirty minutes till midnight. Love and happiness dance in the air. To the fable of Julie McKnight’s “Bittersweet Love Affair.” “It’s All About Me,” she croons over the Jay “Sinister” and Louie Vega instrumentation. The lyrics are candor this party is all about a certain special someone.

A she-entourage huddles behind a black curtain that drapes the DJ stage. “Haaaaaaappy Biiiiiirthday,” voices belt in harmonious charm that stirs into Stevie Wonder’s soulful rendition. The party’s second music selector, Tora Torres eyes the women singing and honoring the party’s queen Debbie Graham. A.K.A. DJ Deb smiles graciously, before she bows to blow out the single candle on the black & white iced cake that will be sliced and circumnavigate to dancers with feet in mid-shuffle and flaying arms, drunk girls stumbling in stilettos posing for selfies and the, there-always-has-to-be-that-one, girl who whispers a request into the ear of DJ Minx. “We don’t play that here,” Minx mouths.

DJ Deb knows how to throw herself a birthday bash. She invites only the best. Her crew. Her family. Her sistas. Known to slay dance floor’s across the world. The Kingston, Jamaica native provides the she-power for Atlanta’s soulful house music market. Her love for reggae, disco, soul, and classics keeps her in-demand, but her love for house music and the diversity within the genre makes this party a must-attend. Those in the know, arrived early, for Deb’s birthday set, and are ready for an Atlanta/Detroit beat down.


Detroit’s Stacey “Hotwaxx” Hale stands tandem her laptop, with purpose and poise to bring heat. Onstage, her crew sports black tees with the “Godfather” logo replaced with the moniker the “Godmother of House.”

Her moniker she proudly has worn for 30 years. To have Detroit’s undisputed first female DJ play adds grandeur of delight. To say music is in her majesty’s blood is understated. The “Godmother of House” is music.

“Beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes, lamb, rams, hogs, dogs.” It’s not often that you here Pastor Shirley Cesar rapping over a four-on-the-floor. It takes gall to play the viral smash #younameit challenge to house heads. But this is how the “D” gets down. The “Godmother of House” does not back down from any challenge. Besides the Pastor Shirley Cesar never sounded so defined.

It’s “Yellow Bodack” that causes jaws to drop and fists to fly. Cardi B rapping, “Look I Don’t Dance Now, I Make Money Moves” over Sunburst Band’s “Journey to the Sun” elevates the sonic. When the Dennis Ferrer Remix is allowed to play in full, feet dance off pings and pongs that leap off metallic rungs. As drums fuse into soul-claps and electronic sputters churn gospel chants. Karizma’s, “Work it Out ,” that samples the fore-mentioned and Dr. Charles G. Hayes and the Cosmopolitan Church of Prayer Choir’s, “Jesus Can Work It Out,” brings the bang. The room explodes. This is peak time music for a peak time crowd.


Days ahead of a recent major awards show, a university published a music report that detailed the lack of women representation as music producers and women songwriters in the music industry. The numbers were dismal if not disgusting. Only now imagine women working in the house music/electronic music genre as music DJs, music producers, and music songwriters and the numbers are far lower, significantly depressing. Although, women are at the forefront as recording artists, primarily vocalists, barely as rappers, their musical contribution behind the scenes go unsung. Hence, Jennifer Witcher, she envisioned change. Inspired by Detroit’s DJ/producer boy’s club, the Detroit Music Institute; Jennifer sought representation as a female DJ. Years later, she crafted Women On Wax . Formed in 1996, a collective of Detroit female DJ’s who graced the decks to show their skills were par, if not better than the boys. In 2001, Women On Wax now a recording label showcased top-tier talented female vocalists and distinctive music releases many of whom resided in the Motor City. Ever since, Jennifer A.K.A. DJ Minx has become a titan in the house/techno world as a calling card for the rights and representation of women DJs/producers/songwriters.

Where the “Godmother” leaves her soul on the dance floor; the “First Lady of House” takes her mass of huddled warriors into subterranean funky beats of powerhouse bliss. Track after track delivers jolts, almost to the chagrin of ringing eardrums as the volume increases to an uncomfortable pitch.   Minx, like her hometown Detroit, has a sound that’s raw. There are grooves. The beats go deep. The beat goes hard. Minx plays for keeps.

The Connection-Behind the Groove triumphed with its all-star lineup of black girl magic. A rarity these days on DJ rosters. Local and global representation for DJ’s who are woman are all too lacking on massive fronts. #Powertothepoles and #metoo marks a watershed moment in this wrinkle of time. #Timesup!!!-For the invisibility of women in the electronic age of music. Women. Seize the moment!  The decks are yours to narrate your grooves.

We applaud you. 

Words: aj dance


CELEBRATE-Atlanta’s Premier Party 14.06.14

June 15, 2014


DJ 1derful, AKA Joseph King, and his crew; DJ BE, Deigratia and Allison Pickens charges the city’s saturated soulful house music market with an alternative guise-a Saturday day party. His day parties are unique in that no two parties are the same. Be the celebration’s exhaustive list of local guest DJs to its unique grounds. The Atlanta premier party’s home is located at the city’s oldest department store cornered at the cross section of Edgewood and Boulevard. The brick and mortar contains two distinct floors, a bar and DJ space downstairs in the Department Store and a bar with a live band stage upstairs in Erosol. Erosol the Department Store’s old charm antique has been replaced with contemporary furnishings; refurbished wooden floors, pastel color painted walls and black and white visuals that hang on exposed walls. A professional soundboard sits in the room’s rear where a DJ scurries to adjust the highs, mids and lows. No disco ball hangs over the floor only breast-shaped lanterns. For other eye-popping views look out the large window to catch a bustling Old Fourth Ward bask in her majestic glory.

Downstairs libations are poured and gossip is overheard. The bar is packed with handshakes, hugs and smiles. On a leather couch a dad, mom and child pose for a family portrait. The air feels light, the conversations are relaxed that adds personality to the ground floor’s character. Upstairs, the early bird’s, twenty or more individuals, are scattered throughout the room. Voices are stuck in conversation and eyes are glued to mobile screens. One couple provides all the dance floor excitement. Their feet shuffling as their arms create ripples in the air.

Within the hour, green wrist bands fill the room. The graying of hairs and withering hairlines are on full display. A quick glance at faces pits pearly whites against fine wrinkles. The majority of the patrons present are approaching their mid-century mark. Blame it not on the boogie but the daylight hours that provide a high-definition lens of shocking features given to shrink in dark rooms at night.

Michael Jackson’s “You Can’t Win” causes aged feet to dance. The sounds of Chicago native DJ Tony Jakks, stay firmly Blue Lights in the Basement until the crowd chants “Hey Hey,” Dennis Ferrer’s yesteryear anthem.

A band of salt and pepper hair, cropped to a swoosh, appears on stage. DJ Deb stands hunched over and sprawled over the decks. She steadies are index finger that hovers over a red light for a few seconds. On the eighth count she releases her finger to press the button that plays the next track. Where DJ Roland Clark aspires to be “President House,” a Martha Wash a cappella makes mouths sing “I Don’t Know Anybody Else,” while Kenny Bobien’s “I Shall Not Be Moved” takes Celebrate to church. The music  is all four-to-the-floor hardcore with a dash of old skool/vocal house and deep house thumps. The Jamaican born DJ one-hour set sets the room ablaze. The baby powder falls to the floor.  The people dance.  The people sweat.  

“Who is the first person to show proof that you are here at the party on a social networking site?” The brainchild of Celebrate-Atlanta’s Premier Party, DJ 1derful asks over the microphone. He sounds like a loveable teddy bear ready for a big hug. He grins with ease as if throwing parties is a summer breeze.

Several months earlier, Joseph and his crew were riding their wave of a moderately successful monthly night soiree at an East Atlanta Village eatery. One Friday night, Joseph and his team loyal arrived at the venue to set up for their gig only to find the establishment’s doors locked without prior warning of the venue’s closure. When one door closes, a new door opens. During a business trip to Texas, Joseph discovered a gem in Houston’s party market. Hmmm, a light bulb moment occurred. A few months later DJ 1derful would test his revelation at the “brick building on the corner,” thanks to the advice of his friend Deigratia. At 2 pm on a February afternoon, Erosol the Department Store opened its stores for its grand debut- Celebrate-the premier Saturday party of its kind.

“Meeee!” A woman with cropped hair screams. The all-too-happy-woman dressed in all white runs up to the DJ stage. She shoves her mobile device in front of DJ 1derful’s blinding smile.

“Congratulations! We have a winner.” It is this winning spirit where Celebrate excels above the average run-of-the-mill carousing. Rather or not one wins a raffle prize; of a local music grab bag or a mega-chain retail gift card, everyone who attends Celebrate feels like a winner. One house music enthusiast eloquently explains her winning formula, “I can party during the day, go home, eat dinner and go to bed at a reasonable time.”

Words by aj dance/Visuals by aj dance