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Finalists advance in UA deejay competition

A+deejay+performs+during+Round+1+of+the+UA+Deejay+Competition+on+Thursday%2C+Feb.+9%2C+at+Club+Congress.+Three+finalists+from+the+competition+will+advance+to+play+for+Grandmaster+Flash+on+Feb.+28.
Sean Gundu

A deejay performs during Round 1 of the UA Deejay Competition on Thursday, Feb. 9, at Club Congress. Three finalists from the competition will advance to play for Grandmaster Flash on Feb. 28.

Four deejays played at Club Congress on Feb. 9 for a chance to demonstrate their talent and skill for Grandmaster Flash during his live lecture and demo at Crowder Hall on Feb. 28. 

The four finalists had 10 to 15 minutes to play, according to Marcela Thompson, administrative assistant for the Africana Studies Program.

Praise Zenenga, Director of the Africana Studies Program, said the event had a decent turnout, though the staff was hoping for a higher student attendance than was present for the showdown.

“We had five deejays that were supposed to play, but only four showed,” Zenenga said.

Alain-Philippe Durand, Dean of the College of Humanities, also said the turnout was “pretty good,” and that he and the staff were happy with the turnout. The crowd was pumped to witness the different stylings of the competitors.

Audience member Zuleika Najar, said she enjoyed the show.

“My boyfriend is a deejay, and we came to see the other local talent,” Najar said.

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During the event, the judges decided on three finalists for the competition.

“The objective of the competition was to get the community involved, and they were doing so by reaching out to the public,” Durand said.

After a short intermission period, Durand went on stage to announce the three finalists of the competition. The first-place winner was Herman Guzman, or DJ Herm. Guzman shared that he has been deejaying for 20 years, and the last six years have been for a living.

“I signed up for some friendly competition,” Guzman said.

Guzman also said he is “excited, and a little nervous” to perform for Grandmaster Flash later in the month.

The second-place winner was Chris Arevalo, or DJ Bonus, whose style and skill only further pumped up the crowd as the night continued.

The third-place winner was Jay Jamison, or DJ Jam-Is-On of WRMX Radio Network. Jamison said he was hesitant to sign up for the competition at first, but that his wonderful team, his coworkers at WRMX and his wife, talked him into performing. The result is that Jamison will perform for Grandmaster Flash in a few weeks at Crowder Hall.

“I didn’t care if I was first, second, or third, as long as I have the opportunity to play for Grandmaster Flash,” Jamison said.

RELATED: Deejay competition gives local deejays chance to play for Grandmaster Flash

Kendra Cass, executive director of 9 Queens, a nonprofit organization focused on empowerment through chess, was one of four judges. Cass said she has a background with the Africana Studies Program, and she said she had helped put together the hip-hop summer camp.

“It was an amazing show,” Cass said. “All four represented themselves and played good music.”

The crowd members shared their excitement for the three finalists who will showcase their skills for Grandmaster Flash on Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at Crowder Hall. This will be a free event with first-come seating only, and tickets will be given out at the door on the day of the event.


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