Posts Tagged ‘DJ Yusef’


June 24, 2013

Visuals: AJ Dance


September 30, 2012


This Is A War Cry.

The warriors are prepared.  They have come ready to give out of sacrifice.  They come ready to give life-bearing fruit.  Too, the warriors are armed.  They are armed with their finances.  They are armed with their prayers.  They are armed with their God-given talents, skilled abilities and creative acumen.  They are armed with their dedication.  But most of all, they are armed with love.  They are equipped for battle.  But this battle is different.  This battle is not for the faint of heart, the ballerina types.  This battle is for the strong and courageous of heart, the dancers that drop beads of sweat that are gritty and free-style.

Sunset scorches the harvest sky a fiery salmon that streaks south before succumbing to the night’s outer darkness to the east.  A full moon hangs suspended in animated glory.  Its illumination provides a guiding light for the traveling troops.

The sleeping dust nesting beneath the warrior’s feet awakens and scurries into the nocturnal air at the incoming uproar.  The warrior’s feet march in sync into battle.  Their syncopated stomps are so harmonious it morphs into a life-giving heartbeat of drums thumping on rhythmic four counts.  The thumps grow louder and louder until a life-pulsating heartbeat sounds throughout the land. The healing heartbeat of restoration guides the warrior’s feet to dance.  When their feet dance, a seismic force of life-birthing tremors shakes the earth.  The dancers become a ramose of sporadic interpretations woven through the tapestry of mobile expressions.  Even rhythm-challenged white girls get down, dancing like injured robots in need of dance lessons, as experienced house dancers stomp holes into the ground, and gays J-set, drop to the ground-like it’s hot-and spring up again in a split second.  Every heart is in on the action.  Even the ministers of music deliver nothing short of sensational sermons; DJ 1derful of Sunday School lays down Reel People’s featuring Tony Momrelle, “Golden Lady”(Louie Vega Roots Mix), DJ Lynee Denise of Chitlin’ Circuit guides the dancers to an oasis of afro and deep house paradise, DJ Stanzeff of Tambor fame leads the parishioners to “The Bright Forest,”  Ramon Rawsoul, Founding Father of The Gathering, takes the people all around the world, DJ Salah Ananse of Sunday School has the dancers “Body Drummin’” as DJ Yusef of Free Ur Soul serves a heartfelt reminder that “Life Starts Today.”  Every heart dances as if to call down rain from the sky.  It’s a time of celebration.  It’s a time of life.  It’s a time of healing.  For this is Mujasi’s healing.

Who is this Mujasi that commands the hearts of the known and the unknown to give unconditionally through finances, prayer and dance?  Who is this Mujasi that causes six ministers of music, from various deep and soulful house music soirees around the city, to set aside their petty differences, uphold their common mantle, deep house music, and come together to support a benevolent cause?


It takes a community….It takes a village.

His name translates courageous warrior.  He is but only four years of age and yet a young man of many years.  Mujasi, the lad with a heart of steel and a heart of gold, was recently diagnosed with LCH-Unifocal (Langerhans cell histiocytosis, unifocal) a rare auto-immune disease that effects eight out of one million children.  The much-needed treatments for this rare disease are aggressive and expensive.  The treatments are so astronomically expensive that health care only covers a minute fraction of the costs.  Enter the city’s house music community and the city’s music community at large to assist with financial support and generous efforts.

Mujais’s prayer sings in the air, “There is no affliction in me.”  Although, not physically present on the battlefield his spirit dances with his mother’s heart that serves a faithful reminder when five years earlier, Mom danced with Son in womb at various house music functions across the city.

Mujasi’s mother, Theresa McGhee leads the warriors to battle.  Mother Theresa, the host of the Sunday evening gathering titled Sunday Dinner, fights for nothing less than the best.  Mother Theresa is not for show, but possesses a treasured heart of humility.  She diligently works hard “in the game” to support her son and to keep him happy.  She gives her all.  Her dance of triumph emanates from her heart.  She gracefully dances onto the battle field.  She adorns the battlegrounds.  Two dimples, worth a million dollars, dot about to and fro.  Her smile is awe-inspiring.  Although petite in frame, her spirit structures the battlefield’s strategic movements.  Every eye gazes stunned.  Her life-giving joy touches every soul she encounters.  A close stare in those bright as the moon, two-doe eyes aglow in hazel, reveals no hint of sorrow as her vibrant visage, besieged with two cheekbones that are perched as high as mountaintops, reveals no trace of doom or gloom.

She rallies the troops with a valiant heart-felt proclamation.  She is animated.  She is emotional.  She talks in cant, a sing-song pattern that practically eludes a poetess historic of spoken word.  She sways onstage and she bends over at the outpouring of generosity and support and most of all love from her brothers and sisters.  She tells of the many telephone calls that she has received, even from former-school peers that she no longer recalls.  She cries.  The troops cry.  She speaks of not only her son’s healing but the healing of the warriors through their giving.  The troops respond with valiant shouts of agreement that materialize in the warm air.

Back on the battlefield, the dancers know something.  Yes, they carry a secret.  Lend them your ear.  The secret whispers, “Already the battle is won.  Mother and Son have the victory.”  So, the warriors dance in victory.  Death will not show its face tonight, the next night or any other night thereafter.  Not even, a hint of death’s venom in slave- induced sickness will be felt.  Even the universe bares witness with a miraculous message of majestic proportions.

Look up in the night’s sky.  Yes, up in the air.  See, the harvest moon illuminated in its entire splendor.  There is something different about this moon.  The lunar creation shimmers with a blue magnetic ring that shivers around its spherical form.  The moon speaks.  It speaks truth.  Hear the words, “This is not the courageous warrior’s end but the courageous warrior’s beginning.  We celebrate you, Mujasi.”

To donate and for more information:

Healing Mujasi by Theresa McGee

Words & photography by AJ Dance/Except flyer

RUBEN TORO 22.09.12

September 23, 2012


The candy man was back at it at again, but this time at a new home called the Shelter and not to be associated with the NYC club with the same moniker.

Fred Everything’s featuring Wayne Tennant “Mercyless” (Atjazz Mix) greeted guests at the front door.  Traveling up a flight of wooden stairs that landed safely on the second floor where door fees were paid in full and the left hand was stamped, one viewed the sounds of razor sharp synths mercilessly slice and dice fellow dancers on the dance floor.  Immediately thereafter appeared, neon blue and red glow sticks dancing to a beating cowbell.  Cough, as a couple of lit cigarettes traveled by spewing their poisonous venom into the air.    

Having thought this was a real night club and not a Corner Tavern- minus the wooden jumbo dining booths-carbon copy of the restaurant chain scattered throughout the city, the displayed tableau reeked disappointment.  The décor seemed a bit confused, stuck between Midwest Saloon and slutty art show with two shiny disco balls hanging from the ceiling.   The rear of the former restaurant housed two pool tables, adjacent the dance space sat a mechanical horse kiddy ride (found at the K-marts of old) as paintings of three-fourths naked anime girls totting guns hung on walls.  Alongside the room’s right wall sat the only bar that served a pretty tastful “Sex On The Beach.”  However, no sex or beach would be found near or far.  Only a wooden floor would quench such appetites that safely allowed dancing feet to sway softly and smoothly without sending knees to the operating room.  The venue’s frontal feature, a platform stage, with a birthday party in progress, sat underneath two ceiling speakers that banged out a not so clear and crisp auditory effect. Four monitors dispersed throughout the establishment played the Box Office flop, “Suckerpunch” that proved much more entertaining and eye appealing than the environment’s aesthetics and the cacophony fugging up the party.

Opposite the bar, in the DJ booth, veteran DJs sounded more like amateurs.  A frustrated looking DJ Yusef having much difficulty mixing in and out of songs played three no-no’s; Jill Scott’s, Crown Royale”(Timmy Regisford Mix), Distant People’s featuring Nicole Mitchell “Make Me Over” and the latest interpretation of Gregory Porter’s “1960 What?.”  Even Atlanta’s starling Miranda Nicole’s “Kissing You” (Rune Mix) proved fatal and couldn’t save this train wreck.

Next up, Sweat Zone’s DJ Ant B preferred classics over contemporaries.  Frankie Knuckles’ Presents Satoshi Tomiie featuring Robert Owens “Tears” and Lil Louis “Club Lonely” could have stayed bolted and locked in the vaults of yesteryear’s record crates.  However, the packed dance floor disagreed.

Bar none, this was the largest crowd Sugar Groove had hosted.  From the dance space, bodies overflowed.  Don’t get it twisted.  Most of these cats were age forty, heck they were older than age forty-five.  So there was not much in the form of eye-candy, unless over-the-hills rock your boat.

Damn the mixer that continued to wreak havoc as songs were cued in and out of with nauseated annoyance.  Songs transitioned from mere off-count to overtly mismatch.  The people  “hooted” and “hollered” and rollicked with no care.  Only the city’s plentiful of DJs and a few spoiled house heads kept note. On a side note, why was Marlon D’s “Jesus Creates Sound” played twice within the same hour by two different DJs?  The song is a classic but c’mon, twice in one night.  Really?

DJ Ant B brilliantly added into the pot Stardust’s 1998 epic, “Music Sounds Better With You” before transitioning into the gazillion interpretation of Goyte’s mammoth “Somebody That I Used To Know.”

As the candy man DJ Swift mumbled a few shout-outs into the microphone, the bowls filled with gooey Laffy Taffy and crunchy Dum Dum Pops proved more satisfying to the palette than the music.

Afterwards, NYC’s Ruben Toro who sported the shimmering initials rt on a black tee came on board and took the crowd circa 1995 with The Bucketheads’, “The Bomb (These Sounds Fall Into My Mind).”  Miraculously, ALL mixing and sound technicalities disappeared.  Uhmm?!?  As the speaker’s sound output increased, Ruben transitioned from song to song without a trace of trouble.  Sadly, too much went on in the Temple Movement ambassador’s musical concoction.  Everything But The Girl’s “Missing” surfing over house music’s mellifluous waves  to Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Any Love” jockeying over a Quentin Harris’ “My Joy” galloping drum loop to the newly minted, “Sometimes” (Timmy Regisford Mix) scared hard-core dancers off the floor and away to the bar, bathrooms and even outdoors.   The former Shelter DJ mixed the music with the vigor of NYC’s Shelter lead Timmy Regisford and his former protégé Quentin Harris that proved at times welcomed and at others times a big fail.  By 1:30 am tired bodies aimlessly disappeared as another round of soul searchers entered the establishment.  The night that took off to a dizzying start of disastrous sound difficulties ended with a many of happy feet dancing.

Of course, Sugar Groove will find its footing after a few tweaks and adjustments (and a new mixer) at its new home.  In the meantime, whispers can only hope that it will not take long.

Words & Photography by AJ Dance


June 26, 2011

Photography by Carlos Bell


October 3, 2010

Photography by Carlos Bell


June 7, 2010

Photography by Luis V for DEG