House music is the third largest music genre in the world!!!!

Here is the trailer.

https://vimeo.com/633808501

 

Black Harvest Film Festival will virtually stream The Woodstock of House November 13- December 2, 2021.

Streaming Ticket Info: 

https://watch.eventive.org/gsfc/play/6168922c7c7500030b0cfe7a

The documentary “The Woodstock of House”, a film that explores the origins of Chicago House music and its’ enduring worldwide appeal, featuring Chicago’s own The Chosen Few DJs, was selected for Chicago’s prestigious 2021 Black Harvest Film Festival and will screen in person on Thursday, November 11th @8pm and Friday, November 12th @8pm at the Gene Siskel Film Center, located in downtown Chicago!

On debut night, Thursday, November 11th, the audience will be blessed with live appearances by Writer/Director/Executive Producer/Producer Rodrick F. Wimberly, who will be joined by Tressa Epps, Executive Producer/Producer, Vonda Paige, Executive Producer/Producer, Steve Toles, Executive Producer/Producer and Senuwell Smith, Director

GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER WEBSITE: https://www.siskelfilmcenter.org/

164 N. State Street

312-846-2800 

 

MOVIE WEBSITEhttps://www.woodstockofhouse.com

 

TICKETS:  

https://gsfc.eventive.org/films/the-woodstock-of-house-61687f3ba8594300b3cc787d?fbclid=IwAR1cfNIt1BoBuNXsb736vVvLPhwIYW4wcVL-CYil6KFMe2Mw6wErU0b0v6Y

 

Here is the trailer.

  


This documentary details the triumph of a music genre that was attacked and nearly destroyed by mainstream America in the late 1970s for being too black, too Latin, and too gay.

It explores the music’s mutation, development, and re-birth by African American teenagers on the southside of Chicago in an underground culture of marginalized, largely homosexual nightclub constituents.

It is the untold story of the role of Chicago’s Chosen Few DJs in the creation of House music. It celebrates the enduring legacy of the annual Chosen Few Music Festival, dubbed the “Woodstock of House” that brings together more than 50,000 people of different races, ages, sexual orientations, and class together in an environment of unity, peace, and love.


TICKETS:https://gsfc.eventive.org/films/the-woodstock-of-house-61687f3ba8594300b3cc787d?fbclid=IwAR1cfNIt1BoBuNXsb736vVvLPhwIYW4wcVL-CYil6KFMe2Mw6wErU0b0v6Y

 

GO BANG! Magazine had the opportunity to meet the creative and production team behind THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE, as well as a few members of the cast. As a fellow lover of House music, it was an honor for me to be granted the opportunity to interview the creators and producers of this long-overdue documentary on the origins of House music.


Now, let’s get to know “THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE” posse…


RODRICK F. WIMBERLY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER
A veteran of the film and television industry, Rodrick’s love for the film industry is enhanced by his knowledge of the law regarding the business of film, including contract negotiations, corporate formations and business entities. He is an executive producer, producer, writer and a director for the documentary, “The Woodstock of House” (2020) and produced the short film, “UH-OH” (2018).

 


SENUWELL SMITH
DIRECTOR
An actor, screenwriter, editor and director, he appeared in the Blind Faith Theatre Company’s production of “Streamers,” for which he was nominated for a Black Theater Alliance Award. He appeared in “Pullman Porter Blues” at the Goodman Theater in 2013. He has directed and edited several music videos. He wrote and directed the short film, “UH-OH” which was screened at the Pan-African Film Festival and the Roxbury International Film Festival in 2018. He is a director for the documentary, “The Woodstock of House” (2020).

 


VONDA PAIGE
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER
She has more than 25 years of experience in non-profit management, marketing, social media and public relations. She is an award-winning journalist and the founder of The First Black Woman, a digital media project recognizing the historic contributions of Black women. She is a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and Vice President of the Virginia Tech Black Alumni Society. She is the executive producer of the independent short film, “UH-OH” (2018) which was selected by the Pan African Film Festival.

 


TRESSA EPPS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER
A sought-after independent filmmaker, Tressa has worked on a number of award-winning independent film projects, ranging from independent short films to feature films in a variety of roles as an executive producer, producer, and production designer. Her projects were released in theaters and aired on BET, BET HER, TVOne, Urban Movie Channel (UMC), Bounce TV and Netflix. She is honored to serve on the prestigious Black Perspectives Committee at the Chicago International Film Festival.

 


STEVE TOLES
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER/PRODUCER
After graduating from The Ohio State University, Steve moved to Houston and resumed a lifelong passion for film production, acting, directing and producing various projects from short films, to experimental music videos to documentaries and features. Eventually he returned to Cleveland where he has produced video content for his school and his first independent film was accepted to several film festivals. Steve is an executive producer and producer on The Woodstock of House.

 


WAYNE WILLIAMS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
As founder of the Chosen Few DJs and longtime music industry professional, Wayne has helped shape popular music and dance culture. His music career includes work as a DJ, producer, and A&R executive with Trax Records, Jive Records, and RCA Records. Wayne is a recipient of an NAACP Image Award for his work with Aretha Franklin and was nominated for a GRAMMY award in 2014 for his work with Jennifer Hudson. He continues to produce music and perform at event and clubs across the globe.

 


JESSE SAUNDERS
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Jesse is a founding member of the Chosen Few DJs who is recognized as the producer and performer of the first Chicago House Music record, “On & On”, in 1984. His production credits include “Love Can’t Turn Around”, one of the biggest-selling House Music records of all time, and “Higher”, which reached the top of the Billboard dance chart in 2019. In 2020, his book, “In Their Own Words”, which features interviews with House Music DJs, producers, dancers, club owners, and promoters, debuted at #1 on Amazon’s dance music book chart.



Knowing many of those involved in the film was the icing on the cake. I am so proud of them. Many of them are also my high school brothers and sisters, who attended “Thee” Kenwood Academy high school, located on Chicago’s south side, in the eclectic neighborhood of Hyde Park.


GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (RODRICK) For our readers who may not be familiar with you, can you please explain how you are connected to House music culture and what inspired you to Write, Direct, Produce and Executive Produce The Woodstock of House?

Rodrick:  I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago (SOUTHSIDE!!!)  When I was around 12 years old, I first remembered hearing “Mickey Oliver” Hot Mixes on 102.7 WBMX (the radio station that every young person in Chicago listened to at the time-reportedly 2 million Chicago land residents used to listen to the Friday and Saturday mix shows).  The frenetic energy, pulsing rhythms  and driving bass captured me and I said that I had to become a DJ!  I bought my first turntables (Technics SLB-100 belt driven) from Loop Electronics from downtown and became the best unknown DJ in my area. LOL!  After I went to college at Boston University, I took my equipment up there and DJ’d there for two years introducing them to Chicago-style house music and deep disco (which they were not used to).  In addition to DJing, I LOVE to dance.  In fact, some people used to call me the “dancing DJ” because no one dance more to my music than I would! 

My inspiration for “The Woodstock of House” was the manifestation of the themes that House Music promoted: love, unity and sharing being manifested every year at The Chosen Few Music Festival (“The Picnic”).  To see mostly black and brown people in a crowd of 40,000 house music lovers come together in a communal celebration of everything that is good about humanity without ANY violence in 30 years was worthy of a film.  I gathered my production team, created a treatment for the documentary, met with the Chosen Few and they were in!  We wanted to share this human story of young black teens from the Southside of Chicago creating a musical genre that is the 3rd largest musical genre in the world! 

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (SENUWELL)   Being one of the directors of the film, alongside Rodrick Wimberly, can you please explain what is the purpose or mission of The Woodstock of House?

Senuwell:  My purpose is to create a new movement in music that will unite everyone of all races, ages and genders, like the influence of Rap and Hip Hop.  Eventually going global and creating a voice to bring peace and love back into a world of violence and hate.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (VONDA, TRESSA, STEVE,)    As executive producers and producers of The Woodstock of House, what was it about the film that inspired or motivated you to become involved?

Vonda: As a filmmaker, not only can you entertain, but you have an opportunity to inform or educate, depending on the subject. I didn’t grow up knowing anything about House music – I can tell you about Go-Go, living outside of Washington, DC – but not House!

When we were thinking about debut projects for our company, and Rodrick and Senuwell shared
stories about and their love for House music, I was genuinely curious about what draws tens of
thousands of people to a music festival featuring something I had never heard of. Early on, while  doing some research for the project, I thought wow… we have a chance to tell an untold story and that was truly exciting!

One thing about making a documentary is that you may start with an idea of what you think the story is about, but if you are true and authentic to the craft – you let the story give you the direction.  While the story may have initially centered around the annual House music festival, I am so proud that we were able to tell an inspiring history story about young Black teenagers from Chicago who created a special sound and form of music that sustains some 30 years later. Black creators across all spectrums don’t always get their credit in the history books. Remember the late Little Richard, who famously said “They didn’t give me nothing!” Well, we produced a film that documents these genius black creators and the love that has come their way from a grateful fan base in Chicago and worldwide. This film is one for the history books.

Tressa: Woodstock of House” was the well-written treatment written by Rodrick Wimberly and Ayanna Wimberly. The treatment provided the blueprint of promoting a conversation about celebrating young Black teens who created a music genre and created “The Annual Chosen Few House Picnic” every 4th of July. I was particularly fascinated with the historical similarities House music had with disco music. In addition, House music is empowering and created a dance movement. The Chosen Few created an event about love, peace, and unity without any violence. 

Steve:  Well, as far as what inspired me, I remember Rod asking me to come to the picnic for a few years.  He had introduced me to the music and how to DJ, so he knew I would love the picnic.  Finally, he convinced me and I came out…not to mention that it was the 25th Anniversary picnic.  WOW!!!! I had recently directed/produced my first short film, so I looked at Rod and said “Rod we have to make this documentary.  It would be amazing”.  From there, we started on the long journey that eventually became The Woodstock of House.   

So, the idea that inspired me to bring this film to life was the music and the life it has given me.  Now, this is my opportunity to give something back to House.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: (WAYNE)  What influence or effect do you think the film will have on society as a whole?

Wayne:  I hope the impact of the film is how the type of music we chose to impact our life, that grew to reach people all over the world, roots came from love, unity and freedom of art. Our music put smiles on people’s face and takes your stress away for that time when you are in House music. The world has been traumatized in the last  three years and has become meaner. Our music, House music, is the kryptonite of stress and depression and we have to get back to love, which is what House music is about.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE: (JESSE) Being the first person to have a House music song pressed on vinyl (“On and On”), as well as being a member of The Chosen Few DJs, which are featured in The Woodstock of House, how does it feel to be a member of a DJ crew that is considered to be part of the
foundation and continuation of the House music genre?

Jesse:  I’ve grown up originating and pioneering a culture that was new and different than anything prior to it. That means that my perspective is different than most peoples.  It all happened around me. I didn’t get the privilege of being able to look at something grow, because I was too busy trying to move and build the movement.. It turned out to be bigger than I could have ever
imagined.

My legacy with the Chosen Few is as dear to me as apple pie is to America. The walls that we
have been able to break down as a crew, that have bridged the gap between racism, sexism and
sexual orientation, have been immense. We’ve been able to bring everyone together to show that
we can love, dance and assemble as one – anywhere, anytime.

Personally, I’m proud to have started a revolution that allowed young, urban Black kids to DJ,
produce and release their musical expressions to the world…thus creating a world-wide culture
we now know as House music!

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (RODRICK). As a Chicago native, who was there when House music was born and participated in its growth and evolution, I am proud that this film has been written and produced to show the international community how House all started.  Then, to have The Woodstock of House to be selected for Chicago’s prestigious Black Harvest Film Festival, as well as recently winning Best Documentary in Gary Indiana’s Black Film Festival must have made you feel some type of way.  Please explain to our readers how gaining all of this attention, support and accolades make you feel.

Rodrick:   It has truly been a blessing!  It is exhilarating to play the film for house music and documentary lovers after taking six (6) years to complete.  We were rejected by so many film festivals early on so we just were overwhelmed by the love that we received from the audience and programmers at the Gary Black International Film Festival and the exposure that we are now receiving from film festivals all over the country (we have even had programmers from Europe approach us and request to exhibit the film).  It has almost been unbelievable but we had faith in each other, our project and God and He always has the last say.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (VONDA, TRESSA) I am so proud to see two Black women being a part of The Woodstock of House production, especially serving as members of the executive producer AND producer team.  You both have an impressive, professional background and years of experience.  Can you explain why it is important to you to have minority, female representation in the film industry?

Vonda: It’s an incredibly exciting time for Black women filmmakers. There have always been Black women creating amazing film projects, in front of and behind the camera.  I think in the last decade – more media attention has elevated their work. I’m thinking of my personal shero, Ava Duvernay, who after becoming the first Black woman to the win the directing award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature film “Middle of Nowhere”, has blazed a trail with development deals that allow her to hire other women producers, writers and directors in film and television. That is how you ensure representation. American cinema can reflect everyday life, culture, politics, music, education, etc. – and Black women contribute to all of those things. We have a unique prospective and imprint and our voices, experiences and stories should be told by us.

Tressa:  Thank you for your acknowledgment. Black filmmakers are underrepresented in executive decision-making roles throughout the industry. The film industry in particular remains disproportionately white. This underrepresentation extends to the buying side, where Black distributors make up a small fraction of the total. Most of the productions I’m part of are lead by directors and producers who intentionally choose female department heads. Having females in these positions are important so our voices are represented. 

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (RODRICK, WAYNE, JESSE)   House is more than a genre of music.  It is a mentality of peacefulness, freedom of expression, love and acceptance.  If the founding generation of House music, which are us, does not pass the music and the DJ skills to the next generation, House could be lost.  How do you feel about the future of House music and what is its’ legacy?

Rodrick:  That was a major theme that was part of the initial treatment from the film and is a serious issue within the House Music community.  We, as House Music cultivators and curators, must introduce more young people to the Chicago and soulful style of house music that advances these altruistic societal values.  While some subgenres of House have captured the imagination of younger fans by advancing the driving energy of mostly instrumental music, like EDM, we must make it a point to elevate our sound as a cultural musical expression that has sociological implications to break down barriers between peoples and even nations.  That is truly worth educating young people about.  

Wayne:  House music started in 1984 and has been going ever since.  It has never been in jeopardy of not continuing  because there are too many people of talent  who are constantly discovering House music who are producers, DJs, songwriters and artists.

Jesse:  The future for the culture of House is as broad and diverse as has been for the last 45+ years. The culture of love, understanding and freedom has been a part of our American heritage since the American Revolution 350 years ago. We ALL want freedom to be who we want to be, love who and how we want to and dance the night away. House music breeds that and is the flag that we carry throughout our time on this earth. So the future of House is bright and shiny and will forever live in the hearts of generations to come.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (VONDA)   Please introduce our readers to 2CHI Entertainment and explain what’s its mission.

Vonda:  2CHi Entertainment was founded in 2013 with the mission to produce movie and television projects that tell stories of the Black experience. Black production companies are vastly underrepresented within the film industry. We want to close that gap with stories that reflect the contributions of African-Americans to society on film in all genres: drama, science fiction, suspense, comedy, biography.

Our first project was a suspense thriller short film, called Uh-Oh, that was screened at the Pan-African Film Festival and the Roxbury Film Festival in 2018. We have projects in development including one about the historical contribution of Blacks in the military, a faith-based inspirational drama, and a family film that gives a slice-of-life view of a Chicago family.

GO BANG! MAGAZINE:  (STEVE, TRESSA)   In your opinion, what do you hope the “take away” is for the audience, after viewing The Woodstock of House?

Steve:  What I would hope the audience, especially the Chicago audience, “take away” is, is what this music is.  What we as a people can do over and over and over.   (We can) take bits and pieces of this and that and create something that will move the entire globe.  We do it under the most trying of circumstances, almost as a survival mechanism.  That ……and the music……is about LOVE.

Tressa: I hope the take away for the viewer is a reflection of the importance of unity, peace, and love.
Music is an universal language! Smiling and laughter creates great vibes! We can always add to our own personal happy! “House Music All Night Long!” 

GO BANG! Magazine would like to congratulate and thank you and the entire production team of The Woodstock of House, for writing and producing this informative, entertaining, powerful and much-needed documentary about another style of music that was born in Chicago, IL, USA….. HOUSE MUSIC!  What would you like to say “Mr. Writer” to leave with our international audience about the film, House culture, the future of House or anything else?

Rodrick:  Thanks so much for your kind words and for allowing us to share our story in such a great publication.  I just want to thank my amazing production team for their skill, excellence, character and patience in bringing this love project to life.  We became a family during this project and I love every one of them!

GO BANG! Magazine:  You are more than welcome Rod…thank you for bringing the truth about House, from the home of House, to the world!  

HOUSE MUSIC IS MY LIFE….ALL NIGHT LONG!

GO BANG!!!

Here is the trailer.

 

Black Harvest Film Festival will virtually stream The Woodstock of House November 13- December 2, 2021.

Streaming Ticket Info:

https://watch.eventive.org/gsfc/play/6168922c7c7500030b0cfe7a

 

THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE

Thursday, November 11th @8pm & Friday, November 12th @8pm

On debut night, Thursday, November 11th, the audience will be blessed with a live appearances by Writer/Director/Executive Producer/Producer Rodrick F. Wimberly, who will be joined by Tressa Epps, Executive Producer/Producer, Vonda Paige, Executive Producer/Producer, Steve Toles, Executive Producer/Producer and Senuwell Smith, Director

TICKETS:  

https://gsfc.eventive.org/films/the-woodstock-of-house-61687f3ba8594300b3cc787d?fbclid=IwAR1cfNIt1BoBuNXsb736vVvLPhwIYW4wcVL-CYil6KFMe2Mw6wErU0b0v6Y

You can find out more information about THE WOODSTOCK OF HOUSE on all social media platforms:

 

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/woodstockofhouse

@woodstockofhouse

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/thewoodstockofhouse

@thewoodstockofhouse

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WoodstockHouse2

@woodstockHouse2

 

PLEASE LEAVE YOUR COMMENTS BELOW IN THE COMMENTS SECTION

 

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Photo credit: Katrina Monea

 

As a native Chicagoan, Djedi was born Kenneth Russell. He is the second child to be born out of four siblings. Djedi, has been involved in the performing arts since he was eight years old. He started out in tumbling class at Mayfair Academy. But after two years of repetitive routines, his enthusiasm faded. Soon after, his mother introduced him to tap dance. After all, his mother, brother, and sister were all taking up tap. So, he finally gave it a shot. After his first performance, Kenn fell in love with the art form and sought after it more as years passed.

Kenn studied dance at Columbia College Chicago. He has taken master tap dance classes from some of the greatest tap dancers in the world, including Jason Samuels Smith, Bril Barrett, Martin “Tre” Dumas III, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Derrick Grant, Reggio McLaughlin and the late great Ernest “Brownie” Brown, to name a few.

Now, more than 20 years in his craft, he’s teaching children to pursue their dreams. He leads by example with his own style of the art form of tap dance, amongst other rhythmic dance genres that were picked up along the way. Djedi has been using tap dance as an outlet for healing.


GO BANG! Magazine: Where in Chicago were you born and raised?

Djedi: I was born on the west side, but raised on the south side.

GO BANG! Magazine: How did you first get involved in the performing arts, particularly in tap?

Djedi: Well, I was in a junior bowling league for as long as I could remember and my mother didn’t want that being the only activity for me (especially as active and aggressive as I was). So she first enrolled me at Mayfair Academy for tumbling lessons. Two years later, I got bored, so I took up tap dance instead. After my first recital, I knew that I’d be doing it for a while, but not like this and I’m so grateful for it!

GO BANG! Magazine: What was is about tap dancing that attracted you to pursue it?

Djedi: The unique sound, the rhythm and the freedom of creating my own music, while I dance. I love the simple regalness of tap.

GO BANG! Magazine: There is a long history of great African-American tap dancers. You have had to chance to train under some of the greatest tap dancers in the world. Please describe some of the highlights of your training.

Djedi: The takeover of “Hoofers” of Chicago and New York is what I mostly remember. Sweaty rooms, foggy mirrors…you’d think you just entered a sauna. Training is no joke with those cats and others from other states and countries. “Shedding” (another is term in tap which means to train intensely) with some of the dopest tap dancers in the world is a privilege that I don’t take lightly. Without those experiences with such light-beings as Dianne “Lady Di” Walker, Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, Cartier Williams, Nico Rubio, and Martin Tre’ Dumas to name a very few, I most certainly wouldn’t be the same Djedi.

GO BANG! Magazine: After 20 years in tap, you’ve graduated to the level where you are now the trainer. Please tell our readers about your training classes and why you chose to teach the youth.

Djedi: I like to think of myself as a master student. I take the training that was given to me and I utilize it. Then, whatever I like and has helped me the most, I give to my students. The way I teach is strict discipline, but structured fun. I teach because I would like to see more light and love in the world. Tap dance is so much more than just rhythms and footwork. It’s language and dance, treble and bass, aspiration and inspiration. It’s historical and futuristic. It’s the first American dance and with that knowledge, I’d like to make sure that knowledge is being carried on and flourishing properly. That’s just one of my ways of improving the art form while it progresses, warps and moves with and around time.

GO BANG! Magazine readers already understand that music can be used to heal the soul. How do you use tap dancing as an outlet for healing?

Djedi: I think about my frustrations and I dive deep into steps and rhythms of expression. Instead of fighting or doing harm to anyone or anything, I go create something very aggressive, yet harmless, to filter out how I’m feeling.

GO BANG! Magazine: Besides tap dancing, what other types of dancing do you do?

Djedi: I have a little training in ballet, but I loved taking Jazz and West African dance. I’ve also done dances such as Ballroom for a cotillion.

GO BANG! Magazine: Please explain to our readers exactly what the other gifts are that you have been blessed with, including Reiki Practitioner and Oracle Reading. Can you please go into detail about what those are?

Djedi: Reiki is light work or universal life force. It’s basically God’s (or Divine Source’s) energy and I draw it in while giving a reiki session to allow the client to heal him or herself. I use crystals, five elements of the earth and breath. I like to ground myself, and the person, before and after the sessions. It’s pretty “magickal!”

Oracle readings are like in-depth prayers or conversations with God about your next moves in life like tarot, but less structured.
For both, I’m a conduit. God is the one doing the work. I’m just the plug for the connection.

GO BANG! Magazine: You are so multi-talented, being an artist, jewelry maker, as well as a music performer. Why do you think that God gifted you all of these talents and what do you feel is your responsibility, having these gifts?

Djedi: It’s like the lyrics in a song a good friend of mine wrote, “Cause I know what to do with it!” God bestowed these gifts upon me because I ask for it daily. I stayed as humble as I could, yet consistent and persistent. I showed I can handle these responsibilities by sending affirmations to people, healing people through shows by gracing their eyes and ears with educated feet and percussive sound. I am responsible for teaching tap dance with my own flare so that something else can blossom from it. This is the seed of a deeply rooted tree. It’s going to set its foundation and at the same time, create more seeds.

GO BANG! Magazine: Tap dancing is a dying talent. Looking to the future, where do you see tap?

Djedi: Tap dancing is dying? Really?!? Well, how can that be when it’s been around for nearly two centuries and cats still hitting. I mean, it may not be as many as it used to be, but there’s still a plethora of folk hitting strong and carrying their legacy. It’s the past present, and future.

Where I see it going is in many different directions for many different reasons. It’s such a broad subject in itself, I believe that with the right frequency, nurture, and discipline, it (tap dance) can ground and heal the world.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Lastly, what current projects have you been working on?

Djedi:  The most current project I released was a song called “Stars” featuring Sam Trump. You can find it on all musical platforms.

“Stars” Youtube link: https://youtu.be/jDvEDs0LOEc


You can follow Djedi on:
Instagram: @Djediisart and @Djedtasticgems
Facebook: Djedi Ohm
Latest Single: https://youtu.be/jDvEDs0LOEc

 



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Photo credit: Leslie Carroll

 

Born in the Philippines to a Filipina mother and Indian father, Czarina (aka Czboogie) moved to the United States and attended Northwestern University majoring in Theater. She wanted to be an actress and did films, TV, commercials, and modeling, (all that lovely shit) for 15 years, but also had a serious love affair for House.

Czboogie’s style of sexy Disco-infused House music has made her an in-demand DJ all over Chicago, in cities around the US, as well as in Asia. She has had DJ residencies at Smartbar (Chicago’s number one club for electronic music), Evil Olive, Grandbar, Hydrate, 3 Degrees at Primary, Circuit, Crocodile, Uptown Lounge, Cocktail, Drop Chicago, and with the legendary Boom Boom Room (the longest running House nightclub in the world.) One of the highlights was her Nu-Breed Residency with the world-class House legends Cajmere and Chez Damier at Smartbar.

Czboogie has played alongside some of her favorite DJs such as Kerri Chandler, Dennis Ferrer, Derrick Carter, Cajmere, Joey Negro, Osunalde, Chez Damier, Karizma, Spen, Mark Farina, Timmy Regisford, Miguel Migs and Gene Ferris.

She is also part of the DJ collective The Untouchables with Farley Jackmaster Funk, Paul Johnson and Gene Hunt, 3 Degrees Global the Strictly 90s crews.

In August of 2005, she began 5 Magazine and says “House music has now become my full time job!” 5 Magazine is the nation’s only magazine committed exclusively to the dance music that grew out of Chicago’s club scene. “It’s very much a labor of love,” says Mirani. The monthly magazine, with 10,000 copies distributed free of charge throughout Chicago, includes stories on artists, DJs and producers from House music’s past and present.

Aside from being the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of 5 Magazine, she also does 5 Magazine radio shows and podcasts. She currently is doing ‘Cz’s Boogie’ which won New City’s ‘Best House Music Podcast’ as well as the ‘Conversations’ podcast where she interviews some of the most prominent names in the dance music field.

Loving all aspects of the House world, Czboogie promotes several events in Chicago and has her own dance company (Fivestarboogie Productions) with dance performances and classes throughout Chicago. Her House dancing classes have been named by the Chicago Reader as the ‘best dance class in the city.’

She has faced several cultural barriers throughout her professional life. But being a female, Asian DJ made her stand out and helped propel her career. She goes on to say, “House music is multicultural and it’s a very accepting culture.”

GO BANG! Magazine: What do you remember most about living in the Philippines and when and why did you decide to move to the United States?

Czboogie: My mom is Filipina and my dad is east Indian and that is where my family home is. My mom was a socialite and always had big parties in our house. We even had a little disco of sorts, and she would jam out Disco tunes all night long!
I decided to move to the States because I wanted to pursue an acting career, so I went to Northwestern University to major in Theater.

GO BANG! Magazine: When and how did you first become interested in spinning?

Czboogie: I had become interested in spinning because I was already at year 5 of the magazine and I had interviewed so many DJs by then. I was actually curious as to the technical aspects of it, not really thinking I would eventually play out. I was dating Rees Urban at the time and he was kind enough to show me the ropes.

GO BANG! Magazine: The House music in Chicago varies depending on what side of the city you’re on. How would you describe the music played on the north side in comparison to the south and west side?

Czboogie: Well I suppose the traditional answer would be that the north side of Chicago tends towards newer music while the south side plays more of the classics. I’m not really sure about the west side, as I didn’t frequent as many establishments there. That’s a really broad generalization though, because we all know that statement can get easily flip flopped depending on what night, venue or DJ is taking place!

GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to being a legendary DJ, you are also a talented actress, model and dancer. What is it about being a performer that you like most and keeps you inspired to perform?

Czboogie: You are too kind! I love performing because it’s what I’m naturally drawn to do. I love the rush of being onstage and either playing a role or dancing. I’m an extrovert and I have a lot of energy so a lot of it comes from getting it all out there to a bigger audience!

GO BANG! Magazine: Can you tell our readers about your dance company Fivestarboogie Dancers and how they can find out more information about performances or classes?

Czboogie: I had originally started Fivestarboogie Dancers as a side project while dancing and training at Joel Hall Dance Company. I was really into different styles of dance even then…so aside from being classically trained in studio dance (ballet, jazz, modern) I loved House dancing, Vogueing, Bboying, etc. I wanted an outlet to be able to mix all of those styles together. So I would go out to New York, take a million classes in different styles, write a show, choreograph the pieces and cast my dancer friends in these shows. We would then perform at theaters and nightclubs around the city. The shows were always well received because they were a happy mix of club and party vibes…we would have an absolute blast!

In terms of classes I used to teach House dance classes on and off throughout the years, the last class being for the Chicago House Music Festival at Millennium Park. I don’t teach so much anymore, mainly because I have some major dance related injuries in my legs that make it difficult. That’s why I took up Aerial arts so I can use more of my upper body and stay active.

GO BANG! Magazine: Besides being a House dancer, you are also trained in other styles of dance. What other types of dance can you do?

Czboogie: I’ve trained in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Hip-Hop also loved Vogueing, Waacking and B-girling!

GO BANG! Magazine: As an actress, you performed in commercials, TV and film. What types of roles were you drawn to and most interested in playing, as a character actor?

Czboogie: I used to always get cast in roles as the bad girl lol. Also back then diversity was not what it was at it is now, so they would often try to pigeonhole me in very limited “minority” roles. It was frustrating, so I finally wrote my own production which was a Hip-Hop adaptation of Cinderella complete with full dance numbers. It was a huge success and we ended up doing a second run of it. After that I got out of the acting audition game to focus on my dancing.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’re a beautiful woman with a unique look. It’s quite natural that you would be interested and experienced in modeling. Which types of modeling did you like doing the most: print, runway, sports, industrial or any other?

Czboogie: Thank you for that, you are much too kind! Modeling wise I did print, runway and quite a few industrials. But I don’t really stress this part of my career as I didn’t pursue it. I just took gigs when they were offered.

GO BANG! Magazine: Czboogie is not only known all over the United States, but in Asia as well. How would you describe the Asian House scene in comparison to the scene here in the US? What’s similar and what’s different?

Czboogie: Ooh it’s hard to tell because each country is so different. I think there are huge pockets here and there of underground House in their clubs. I used to play in Manila whenever I would visit my family and was happily surprised how big House was there. Now of course, commercial House and Dance music in general is much more prevalent over there.

GO BANG! Magazine: The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Czboogie: Honestly, in the last two years I’ve become less of a party girl and more of a hermit lol. So the whole staying home thing is nothing new to me and I’m ok with it. Of course I count my blessings every day because I know there are so many people that are not as fortunate in their circumstances living with this pandemic. Many House artists I’ve spoken to say they’ve taken this break to sort of recharge their batteries, slow down and focus on other areas of their lives. I’ve become 100% focused on my fitness and am ok with no nightlife right now. It will come back. Thankfully the magazine is still going strong.

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion Czarina, did you know that you and the success of 5 Magazine inspired me to launch GO BANG! Magazine? I want to thank you for inspiring me. I also want to thank you for taking the time and giving me the honor of interviewing you for GO BANG! Magazine.

Czboogie: I did not know that! I’m so flattered and honored! And I’m very proud of you, it takes a lot to start a magazine and to keep it going. Bravo!

GO BANG! Magazine: Thanks! 😉



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

Photo credit: Yortel Photography

 

INTERVIEW LINK:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR7SioQVohs&feature=youtu.be

On this episode, LIVING ON PURPOSE had a conversation with entrepreneur and author, Pierre A. Evans. He gave us an in-depth look into the creative process of his book “Inside The Minds of Entertainers” and other fascinating subjects.

Pierre’s debut book “INSIDE THE MINDS OF ENTERTAINERS” is available on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Mind-Entertainers-Thought-Provoking-Celebrities/dp/197785446X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=pierre+a.+evans+inside+the+mind+of+entertainers&qid=1606610296&sr=8-1

Interview link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR7SioQVohs&feature=youtu.be

You can follow Pierre A. Evans on all social media: @PierreAndreEvans, @GoBangMagazine, @InsideTheMindsOfEntertainers, @HouseMusicDanceClassForHouseMusicLovers, @AndrePierreTheDancingMachine

Websites:  http://www.InsideTheMindsOf.com

TICKET LINK:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/house-music-dance-class-tickets-98875293665

 

THE COVID-19 BAN WAS LIFTED IN CHICAGO ON FRIDAY, JUNE 26TH, 2020.

THEREFORE WE CAN NOW RESCHEDULE OUR 1ST HOUSE DANCE CLASS: 

Date And Time

Sun, August 16, 2020

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM CDT

Location

Dance Studio

403 East 69th Street

Chicago, IL 60637



CLASS SIZE HAS BEEN “REDUCED” to 10-15 TO ACCOMMODATE SOCIAL DISTANCING.

ADVANCED TICKETS ONLY – NO TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR!!!

GET YOUR “EARLY BIRD” HOUSE DANCE CLASS TICKETS NOW!!!

TICKETS GOING FAST!

EVERYONE WILL BE REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS & PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING.

IN ADDITION TO THAT, HAND SANITIZER WILL BE AVAILABLE.

ADVANCED TICKETS ONLY – NO TICKETS AVAILABLE AT THE DOOR!!!

TICKET LINK:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/house-music-dance-class-tickets-98875293665


“GOTTA HAVE HOUSE” – House Dance Class Learn the basics through intermediate levels of house music club-dancing. House music began in Chicago in the 1980’s. The dance is primarily freestyle and there are few restrictions. Master the foundation steps, moves, gestures, and culture of the house community. Discover how to tap into your soul, free your spirit, and give in to the music. This class is for beginners through intermediate students looking to learn, brush up, or enhance their skills on the dance floor. “Dance like nobody’s watching!” DANCE INSTRUCTOR BIO: “ANDRE PIERRE THE DANCING MACHINE”  https://www.facebook.com/AndrePierreTheDancingMachine/

Hailing from Chicago, IL, Pierre Andre’ Evans graduated from Columbia College Chicago, receiving a B.A. degree in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management. He is a well-known fixture in the house community who was informally trained on the club dance floors under the tutelage of the late legendary DJ Ron Hardy, four time GRAMMY Award-nominee DJ Steve “Silk” Hurley, and the late GRAMMY Award winning DJ Frankie Knuckles. One of the highlights of his career was in 2015, dancing on-stage during the 25th anniversary of The Chosen Few DJ’s Reunion Picnic, with an attendance of over 40,000 “househeads.” Those in the house community affectionately refer to him as the “Dancing Machine” because of his carefree dancing skills and never-ending stamina. As a DJ for over 40 years, he’s well-versed in all sub-genres of house music and the dance styles associated with each.

Referring to his dancing alter ego, Andre’ Pierre, the community has coined the phrase: “If Andre’ Pierre is at your party, you know it’s going on!”


I AM HOUSE!

Hailing from Chicago, IL, Pierre Andre’ Evans graduated from Columbia College Chicago, receiving a B.A. degree in Arts, Entertainment, and Media Management. He is a well-known fixture in the house community who was informally trained on the club dance floors under the tutelage of the late legendary DJ Ron Hardy, four time GRAMMY Award-nominee DJ Steve “Silk” Hurley, and the late GRAMMY Award winning DJ Frankie Knuckles. One of the highlights of his career was in 2015, dancing on stage during the 25th anniversary of The Chosen Few DJ’s Reunion Picnic, with an attendance of over 40,000 “househeads.” Another more recent highlight was in 2019, when he danced on stage at the founder of house music, “Robert Williams’ Day” celebration.
Those in the house community affectionately refer to him as the “Dancing Machine” because of his carefree dancing skills and never-ending stamina. As a DJ for over 40 years, he’s well-versed in all sub-genres of house music and the dance styles associated with each.
Referring to his dancing alter ego, Andre’ Pierre, the community has coined the phrase, “If Andre’ Pierre is at your party, you know it’s going on!”

 




Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram

🎥@northwesttapconnection
#SayHisName #SayHerName #SayTheirName

You can view the video here with this link:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fr-FyI-3wZ0

In 2016, Seattle-based Northwest Tap Connection hip hop instructor Shakiah Danielson created a protest piece that debuted at the 2016 Groovement at Rainier Beach to speak out against police brutality.

This POWERFUL tap dance is a performance honoring the names and lives of victims of color that were killed, many of them at the hands of police officers, due to police brutality. Although the dance was created in 2016 by Northwest Tap Connection’s Shakiah Danielson, it is quite timely and relevant to the times we are going through now.

It takes place outside, with three main performers on small raised stages, surrounded in a semi-circle by the other tap dancers. Others are on top of cars and pickup trucks. It reminds you are a traditional African dance being performed by a tribal unit on their land.

Throughout the dance they chant the names of slain individuals, followed by “say his name” or “say her name. The chorus of the hymn is “Hell You Talm Bout”, a play on the phrase “What the hell are you talking about?” This is a song recorded by recording artist Janelle Monae.

Young men and women, as well as small children are featured throughout the tap dance video, which ends with two older women dancing in a traditional African style.

This is yet another peaceful demonstration to protest the current state of America and the world, which has had enough of black and brown people getting killed by WHITE police officers, due to police brutality. 

Civil unrest has returned across the world ever since the weekend of May 30th, 2020, following the horrific videoed killing of George Floyd, by knee, by a Minnesota police officer.

Northwest Tap Connection is a social justice studio located in the heart of south Seattle and has been committed for years to bridging the gap for children of color under the direction of Miss Melba Ayco.

Song: Janelle Monae & Wondaland Music – “Hellyoutalmbout”

Dancers: Northwest Tap Connection – @nwtapconnection

Choreography: Shakiah Danielson – @mzshakiahmc

Featured Instructors: Alex Jackson, LaTwon Allen, Shaina Proctor, Ahmen Taplin, Lakema Bell

Film & Edit: Genki Kawashima

 

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.comNDigo.comChicagoDefender.comEmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions.  Follow him on FacebookTwitter, and on Instagram

He has the look, he has the sound, and he has the moves!!! From the wardrobe to the stage show, one thing is certain: No one personifies Michael Jackson like Tej’ai Sullivan.

He began his professional career at the early age of two years old. He got his start performing at family functions and birthday parties, then later performing and consistently winning talent shows at Chicago’s New Regal Theater as front man for his tribute group “Imitation 5ive” throughout his childhood.

Born with a very close resemblance to Michael, it was always clear what his destiny was meant to be. Paying homage to the “King of Pop” for most of his life, Tej’ai got his first big break touring internationally through Europe/United States/ Middle East with “The Ultimate Thriller” starring as their Michael from 2009 until 2012 working with principle Jackson dancer and choreographer Mic Thompson. From there, he went on to star in “Forever Michael” touring the United Kingdom and becoming a fan favorite among the top tributes in the Michael Jackson community.

Tej’ai has also performed at Taste of Dolton Festival (2009), Remembering Black History (2010), An Evening in Memory of Michael Jackson (2011 and 2013) and MJ Honors (2013).
In 2014, Tej’ai put together a show entitled “Return of the King” and has been pushing it to become one of the most exciting tribute concerts around. In addition, he has gone on to tour a second time in Germany (2016-2017) with shows such as “Michael the True Story” and “Michael Jackson: The Tribute,” as well as a return to the Middle East for “A Tribute to the Troops” where he was presented three medals of honor for his performances.

Now in 2020, you can catch him on stage with two brand new shows, “Michael Jackson Legend” and “Imitation 5ive: A Jackson Tribute,” as well as starring in a not yet titled film dedicated to the King of Pop.

You can be sure that he will soon become a household name with both of these stage shows and a budding new acting career blossoming. Keep watching because his best is still yet to come!!!

GO BANG! Magazine: Tell our readers when you first started singing and dancing like Michael Jackson?

Tej’ai Sullivan: My name is Tej’ai Sullivan. I am a professional tribute artist/representative for Michael Jackson. I have toured all over the world performing and touring my live show tribute to the “King of Pop.” I was born and raised right here in Chicago. I started out at the age of two years old performing at all of my cousins’ birthday parties. Then, one day when I was five years old, my grandmother came home on her break to find me singing my heart out. She asked my mother if that was really my voice singing to the songs. My mom told her yeah and from that very day she took me to the New Regal Theater and from there it’s history. I started winning talent shows consistently and then later being blessed to tour to places such as England/Middle East/Germany/Italy/Russia/Hungary/Belarus/Ireland/Scotland and more.

GO BANG! Magazine: Have you received any dance or singing training or is your talent natural?

Tej’ai Sullivan: No special training in either. I have been naturally singing and dancing since the age of two, by just really watching or listening, and then just doing it.

GO BANG! Magazine: What is it about Michael Jackson that inspires you to impersonate him?

Tej’ai Sullivan: Since birth, Michael has always been a part of my DNA. I like to say that it chose me, I didn’t choose it. Michael has always been the blueprint and I was always the outcome. Growing up, I thought Michael Jackson was very magical and had super powers. So as a kid seeing things like that, it can grab onto you.

GO BANG! Magazine: How has performing as MJ affected your life?

Tej’ai Sullivan: It’s always brought me joy knowing I provide a great valued show that all ages can enjoy and talk about. Nothing like that feeling! People really enjoy my shows.

GO BANG! Magazine: Being a singer and dancer, do you plan to ever performing as yourself or impersonating Michael Jackson is your final goal?

Tej’ai Sullivan: I don’t define myself as an impersonator. I call it as a profession being a tribute artist. When I take off the makeup, I am no longer the Michael Jackson character, I am simply myself. An impersonator to me doesn’t turn it off, they continue on as that character.

GO BANG! Magazine: Impersonating a celebrity can have its downside. People don’t know who YOU are. They only know the character that you play. How do you plan to separate you “the artist” from the “Michael Jackson” role you play, when you pursue a career as Tej’ai?

Tej’ai Sullivan: There’s always been a separation from me as an artist from me the tribute artist. Michael Jackson is only one of my talents. I have been blessed to do things such as videography/photography/screenwriting/directing/acting/singing/songwriting/producer. I call myself a “Jack of All Trades.” I never limit my abilities

GO BANG! Magazine: In addition to singing and dancing, you are also interested in an acting career. Your debut role is in the upcoming film “Roseland”, a comedy written by Billy Ray Valentine. Tell our readers about how you got started in acting and what your role is in the movie.

Tej’ai Sullivan: Well, as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be an actor. I have done theater plays in school, with such roles as Tony (“West Side Story”) and “Aladdin.” But landing a role for “Roseland” was simply a blessing from the higher power. Me and Mr. Valentine saw my potential and gave me my first shot in a feature film as P-Nut. P-Nut is a guy in the neighborhood who’s down with the homies but has ambitions to be an entertainer. He has aspirations to be a famous Michael Jackson and Prince performer, but he daydreams and fantasizes a lot about it. It has been so much fun playing this character and it’s going to be so funny. The cast and crew are amazing.

GO BANG! Magazine: Michael Jackson is beloved all over the world. But, not everyone loves Michael Jackson. Some people continue to believe that he was a child molester, even though all criminal charges were dropped. What is your opinion on that topic and have any fans given you negative responses for impersonating MJ?

Tej’ai Sullivan: I’ve never really had to defend this with anyone because everyone who has ever come in contact with me knows that Michael is innocent and that’s that. I haven’t had any negativity come my way about Michael or my tribute to him. From start to finish, my show is a must see, something that brings people together, and we all party

GO BANG! Magazine: Is there anything that you would like to inform our readers about concerning upcoming projects, performances or movies?

Tej’ai Sullivan: After we wrap from “Roseland,” I am very excited for a few movie projects, as well as my new Jackson’s tribute group “Imitation 5ive.” We have a show under the same name “Imitation 5ive: A Jackson Tribute”, and a Michael Jackson fan film and concert of the same name. Then there’s “Michael Jackson: Legend”, “Power Ranger’s Jurassic Legacy” and a romance comedy called “Do For Love” which will all come out in 2021. I will join forces with Billy Ray Valentine and James Lett III, so please look out for those.

I am also working on an album of my own original music called ”The Heir” and think it’s going to be something to take you back to when music was music and had soul. Music that tells stories

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

Tej’ai Sullivan: I’m handling it accordingly. I’m being safe, but I am not letting it stop me. I am taking on new challenges, especially with my shows. Now with the virtual concert experience being put into effect, this pandemic only gave me time to get my ideas out of my head and to bring them all to life during this down time.

You can follow Tej’ai on ALL social media platforms and log on to the website:

Facebook: @theycallmemichaeljackson

IG: @beingtejaisullivan

Website: http://TMJtributeshow.com

LIVE performance link: https://youtu.be/WJL4vToNIco



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram

Choreographer, producer, impersonator, and author, ERIKA JARVIS studied dance under the direction of Deidre M. Dawson, Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Company and The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Fashion Merchandising from International Academy of Design and Technology.  

As Artistic Director of Creative Soul Entertainment and Unleash Your Inhibitions, Erika and her company has appeared on television shows, music videos and radio.  In addition to performing, Erika is the 2018-2019 recipient of the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago BLACK EXCELLENCE AWARD as “Outstanding Achievement in Film – Best Actress for David Weathersby’s documentary, Thee Debauchery Ball.  Her self-published book, “Unleashed, Seductive Poetry”, is available on Amazon.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What inspires you?

Erika Jarvis:  I’m inspired by love, music, children and experiences. Actually, there isn’t one particular thing that inspires me. Waking up inspires me to inhale and embrace every breath taken and exhale my God-given talent.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What is erotic poetry?

Erika Jarvis:  Erotic poetry is a form of creative expression where written or spoken prose marries sensual phrases. The product is a sexy and seductive piece of art that’ll make any sapiosexual salivate. At least that’s what happens to me. 😉

GO BANG! Magazine:  How would you describe your style of poetry?

Erika Jarvis:  I believe it’s sensual and whimsical. I’m a romantic.

GO BANG! Magazine:  In addition to doing poetry, you’re also a choreographer, educator, writer, producer and model. How do you do it all?

Erika Jarvis:  With faith, perseverance and patience. It stems from a supportive family and an amazing circle of friends. I would not have done all of these exciting things alone without the people in my life.  Never take anything and anyone for granted.

GO BANG! Magazine:  You are also the Artistic Director of Creative Soul Entertainment.  Please describe the company, your role and what the company does.

Erika Jarvis:  A multi-talented company that showcases various artists through movement, music and fashion.

GO BANG! Magazine:  I see that you actively give back to the community. Please describe your community involvement, and why it’s important to you.

Erika Jarvis:  Being a woman, a woman of color, a Black Woman, who happens to be an artist, I have a responsibility to my community.  I don’t speak much on what I do. I find joy and helping others without social media or public announcements. To answer your question, I contribute my efforts to women and children. I’m committed to them.  I was a teen mom who struggled between classes, job and raising a child before graduating high school. The organizations who helped me like Catholic Charities, taught me to give back.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What words of advice can you offer an aspiring artist?

Erika Jarvis:  Be honest.  Be intentional.  Work hard.  Don’t worry what others think, it’s none of your business.

GO BANG! Magazine:  Are you currently doing any poetry gigs?

Erika Jarvis:  During this time of worldwide pandemic, all of my events are on hold.

GO BANG! Magazine:  What does the future hold for you?

Erika Jarvis:  More blessings and lessons. After all, I’m a work-in-progress.

You can follow Erika on ALL social media formats!

 

Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.comNDigo.comChicagoDefender.comEmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine.  Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.

John-Deric Mitchell was born and raised in Chesapeake Virginia. It was at the age of seven that his mother got him involved in an all-black performing arts company called Center Stage in Norfolk, VA. There, he learned all styles of dance from Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern and African, along with Acting, Singing and Music Appreciation. It was a year later that his mother heard about another company that was doing even bigger things called Hurrah Players. There he did musicals and shows every weekend. It was at the age of nine that his mother got him into modeling at Barbizon Modeling School in Virginia Beach, VA. This was when he landed his first big commercial, which was for Oscar Mayer Bologna. It was there that his life in entertainment was born!

By the time John-Deric was in high school, he wanted to lay low from his dance background and focus on being a teenager. That was short lived because in his sophomore year he tried out for the cheerleading team and became the first African American male cheerleader in the Chesapeake Public School system. Yes, he was teased and taunted for being himself. By his senior year he had won Prom King and it too really didn’t go well. Still to this day, the school doesn’t even recognize him for starting the trend of “being whatever you want to be, just as long as you do it with heart.”

By college at Norfolk State University, John-Deric found a new love and that was Hip-Hop. Though he had a three year Cheerleading scholarship and was studying Physical Education, it was his love of dance that was taking off. He started in a group called VA-All-Starz that took him from dancing at black college fashion shows, to opening major concerts, all the way to backup dancing with music artists from VA. It was his junior year that he heard about an audition for BET Planet Groove in Washington DC. He booked the job and became a regular on the show. He was asked by a lot of the music artists to be their dancer when they came to VA, but John-Deric wanted to travel the world. They said “Oh, we have NY and California dancers who do that.” So that following year, John-Deric packed his bags and moved to NYC.

New York City, the place of dreams and magic, can also be rough and tough, but all of it makes you stronger. It was 2000 and his first big gig was to perform in China for 5 months. It was amazing to be able to dance all styles of dance every night. Once back in NY, he found work as an elevator operator. In 2002, John-Deric was let go from that job, and in the same week he booked his dream job, which was dancing backup for music artist Lumidee. He was offered to travel the world with her for a year. It was great times until one wrong move, which damaged his knee. He thought this was the end of his career as a dancer. He took six years off, before he trusted his leg again.

His next big audition was for the Legendary House of Ninja, where he is still currently a member. He also joined two cheer teams, Cheer New York where he’s a gold medal winner for the Gay Games 9, and Gotham Cheer. He still does backup dancing for artists when they come to town in NY, but for work he’s a Personal Assistant to Kenya Moore of the Real Housewives of Atlanta (RHOA.) He’s also a cheerleading coach for middle and high school’s in Brooklyn, NY. That’s just half of him. He’s a featured background actor on FX’s “Pose” and is on other major TV shows. He does print modeling and commercials for PlaySure NYC and the 2020 Census. He is currently working on a YouTube reality show called “Social Lingua”, which is coming soon.

There’s so much more to come of this young man. Keep your eyes out for him!

GO BANG! Magazine: You act, sing, dance, model and cheer. What is it about performing that attracts you, which of your talents you like best, and why?

John-Deric Mitchell: Correction (lol) I act, dance, model, cheer…no singing. But, I can lip sing as if it was me. My voice, I’m so terrible, but we never know what the future holds!
What attracts me to Performing? I love to see and hear the audience reactions on how it touched someone’s heart in such a positive way. If it gave me joy, I want them to feel the joy, times 10!!

I enjoy acting out of all my talents. It’s my way of being the opposite of who John is. I get to be a different character. I get to be a singer, when my agent says, “play with it…don’t sing out loud!” (lol!!)

GO BANG! Magazine: Being a trailblazer, as the first African American male-cheerleader in the Chesapeake Public School system, you received some negative backlash. Kids and teenagers can be so cruel. Please explain to our readers how the teasing and bullying affected you, how you dealt with it, and how you overcame it.

John-Deric Mitchell: The teasing and bullying affected me a great deal growing up. There were many days and times that I would come home crying and beat myself up because I didn’t fit in with the other guys from my hometown. I wanted many times to end my life of the pain that I was receiving every day. I was constantly being told I wasn’t worth much of anything because I was a waste of a black boy who didn’t play basketball, football, baseball, or dress in baggy clothes. I took pride in my appearance, loved to dance, and got along great with all the girls in school.

I dealt with it by the help of my best friend in the whole world, my mother. She would have long talks with me until I understood that yes, I was very different. But, my being different is what’s going to help me in my future, because I was in touch with my male and female side. That puts me above others in my school. They didn’t know it, but it showed in my entertainment world (my safe place to be me, with no judgement.) Iit was because of that, so many wanted me to stop, because now I’m learning how to achieve my goals and dreams.

I also had to quickly learn the power of a comeback. I had a guidance counselor in high school tell me, “I think you should stop dancing and do more with your hands, like work on cars.” My comeback was, “The only thing I’ll do with my hands is clap and snap my fingers to say 5,6,7,8!” She looked at me and said, “Wow, we’re done here” and once she saw how alive and electrifying I was on the cheer team, she walked up to me and said, “Wow you really have something here. You’re good at what you are doing!”

I overcame a lot of it by not listening to what others had to say and trusting my gut feelings and my faith in God.

GO BANG! Magazine: Your acting and dancing skills have taken you far in the entertainment industry. It’s booked you gigs with famous entertainers and gigs on TV. Please tell our readers about FX’s groundbreaking show “Pose” and your role on the show.

John-Deric Mitchell: Yes, Pose on FX has definitely been a blessing and I thank everyone involved for making the experience so beautiful and magical for me. I can’t wait to get back on set for Season 3. It stems from the documentary “Paris is Burning” from the late 80’s-90’s Ballroom scene and the lives of five beautiful transgender women and their day to day lives and the people they meet along their journey of acceptance in the world. My role on Pose, I’m a featured background actor in all of the ballroom scenes. My character changes as the episodes go. I start out as a young 19-25 year old man in short shorts, to dressing in drag, to becoming a full on Glam Girl by the end of Season 2.

GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve been involved in LGBTQ campaigns and several LGBTQ shows. Why is being involvement in LGBTQ issues so important to you?

John-Deric Mitchell: The LGBTQ issues are definitely my issues because growing up I didn’t see men like me out in the forefront. Being that I am a Man, Black, Gay and Married, I am very needed to be seen and represented. Not only for the young generation, but for the guys my age and older who were too afraid to be themselves and show their faces.

GO BANG! Magazine: Hollywood mostly show gay black men on TV and film in a stereotypical way. They’re usually finger snapping, flip mouth, sex-crazed queens, wearing high heels. What do you think about this depiction of gay black men?

John-Deric Mitchell: RuPaul said it best: We are all born naked and when we get dressed we are all in drag! For some of us, it’s our way of survival. People who have little understanding of the culture would think that’s what gay men are all about and that’s not the case for every gay/bi man. Some men get dressed like this for their jobs, some are battling to take the next step of becoming transgender, and some men love the fashion and the fit of the clothing on their bodies. I say, “to each their own!” This is not everyone’s way of lifestyle.

GO BANG! Magazine: There are many people that are not aware of “Houses.” You’re currently a member of the Legendary House of Ninja. Please explain to our readers what “houses” are and what you do as a member.

John-Deric Mitchell: So, “Houses” within the ballroom community nowadays, is not an actual home that you live in, although we lookout for one another if you need a place to sleep or stay for a few days. A house is a group of LGBTQ members like a frat/soro, within the community, who come together at a dance studio or someone’s house to work on their specialized categories to battle against others in the community, called a Ball. They battle in different categories such as voguing, runway, new way, old way, face, trans realness, and best dressed.

I have been in the House of Ninja for over 11 years now. I’m considered an elder, but I’ve been in the community for 23 years. Now that’s legendary! As a member, I help with supporting the new members, be it to help choreograph, talks, go shopping for their looks, to walking them up on stage, and with social media by posting positive feedback and reviews about what our house is doing these days and coming!

GO BANG! Magazine: You’re a member of two cheer teams. How has the cheerleading industry changed from when you began up until now, as far as the acceptance of male cheerleaders?

John-Deric Mitchell: I’m a Cheer Coach for two schools in Brooklyn NY, a middle and high school.
Cheerleading has changed a lot since I started over 25 years ago. The stunts, they are bigger, faster and higher. Everyone is so much stronger. It has become more acceptable for guys to be on a cheer squad than it was back in my years. I’m so proud of the doors that have opened for men.

I use to dream of the day I could perform at a NFL or NBA game. Yes, I went to the auditions here in NYC and they would tell me this is only for women, but you are more than welcome to stay and take this as a free class. Heartbroken, I continued on my path to join Cheer New York and now Gotham Cheer. If you look now, guys are doing it and are loving the support of being on these NFL cheer and dance teams! I’m proud to say, I know one of them!!

GO BANG! Magazine: Your “9 to 5” is being the Personal Assistant to the Real Housewives of Atlanta’s (RHOA) Kenya Moore. How did you get that position and what exactly do you do?

John-Deric Mitchell: Yes 9-5 or 7-11 (lol). I was blessed with this job through my good friend from college. He is Kenya’s hairstylist here in NYC. She said that she needed a Personal Assistant in NY. He told her that he already has someone in mind and remembered that I was an Intern Assistant for Blackstreet, back in college. He called me and asked if I would like a job working with her for Celebrity Apprentice. I said “Sure! Do I need to send her my headshot and resume?” He said, “No, she already Googled you.”

She called me on a Sunday evening asking me if I would like to work with her, but before she hired me, she put my skills to the test. Once I found out all the information that she needed within an hour, she said, “Oh, you got the job!” Now, seven years in, she’s like family to me. I know what she needs, wants and don’t need. I do a little bit of everything for her and her family. She has definitely become my big sister, but most of all, she’s a great boss!

GO BANG! Magazine: You’re currently working on a YouTube reality show. Can you give our readers an exclusive about the premise of the show and what to expect?

John-Deric Mitchell: “Social Lingua” is a YouTube reality show coming out soon. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has stopped most of production. The show is based on eight LGBTQ artist, and the ups and downs of their career, friendships, love lives, talents, drama and why they are who they are!

GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?

John-Deric Mitchell: The Coronavirus has thrown us all off, especially here in NYC. I’m a man who loves to work, and to be told work has ended until further notice is a hard pill to swallow. On the bright side, it’s an early Spring break, but to not go anywhere or to be around people makes life so scary. I’m making the most out of every day by working on my skills as an actor, dancer, cheer coach, and how to give back to the world, not just my community.

Now, if I can help one person smile, laugh, or hear them say “thanks for being you” during this time of confusion, then I know I done the work of God, by helping his people heal.



Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the Owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions and the Owner/Publisher of GO BANG! Magazine. Follow him on Facebook @Pierre Andre Evans, Twitter @Playerre, and on Instagram @Pierre_Andre_Evans.