Ministers of Sound lifts up Atlanta’s best DJs through photos and music

“Amen! Ashe! Word!” The one-night-only Ministers of Sound installation on Sunday, Feb. 24, transformed Space 2 into an artistic sanctuary worthy of the DJs honored in the installation — as well as the curator’s late father.

About five years after initially conceiving the project, Kemi Bennings of Evolve! Artists Live, along with a buzzing crowd of about 200, saw — and felt — it come to life.

The warehouse-style room had undergone a cultural sanctification that started in the wee hours, complete with stained glass framed and hung from the ceiling, centuries-old pews, and the iconic red carpet runner that led from the door to the “pulpit.”

It was there that a number of the DJs honored in the photos took to the turntables.

The DJ procession included DJ Jamal Ahmad (WCLK-FM 91.9), DJ Kai Alce, DJ Salah Ananse, DJ Applejac, DJ Ausar, DJ Karl Injex, DJ Cha-Cha Jones, DJ Kemit, DJ Osmose, DJ Ramon Rawsoul (House In The Park), DJ Sky, DJ Tabone (WRFG-FM 89.3) and DJ Mike Zarin.

Ministers of Sound

Each played two songs, which Bennings had directed should “inspire and empower the crowd.”

I found myself most grateful for Cha-Cha’s hip-hop leanings, Applejac’s golden and timeless beats that you know but yet don’t, and Ahmad’s Stevie Wonder selections.

Although the music added to the rapturous atmosphere, the photography served as the basis for the installation.

The photos were taken by Annette Brown. They captured each DJ in an environment — and sometimes in spiritual garb — that reflected his or her own spiritual aesthetic. The photo titles, printed on a label pasted onto a 45-inch record, also reflected those beliefs.

In some cases, captions that Bennings wrote about various spiritual tenants were matched up with a DJ.

ChanteSez … Get ‘over’ it

You’ve seen or heard it lots of times: Her boyfriend has downloaded over 50 movies. Over 51 percent of African-Americans who are online don’t have broadband (a true fact!). There’s no chance of over 300 people showing up to the concert.

But you’ve got to get “over” it. While these sentences may sound OK, you should replace “over” with “more than.”

Here’s the tip: If you’re working with quantities, use “more than” one word (“over”).

  • Her boyfriend has downloaded more than 50 movies.
  • More than 51 percent of African-Americans who are online don’t have broadband.
  • There’s no chance of more than 300 people showing up to the concert.

Inspiring advice from Essence emeritus editor Susan L. Taylor

The Home Depot’s African American Pulse resource group hosted speaker Susan L. Taylor last week at the company’s Atlanta headquarters as part of a Black History Month celebration.

Taylor was congenial and conversational as she offered inspiring advice to the audience of Home Depot employees and special guests.

The emeritus editor of Essence — who started at the black female-focused magazine with just a high school diploma — kicked off the presentation with a video encouraging viewers to mentor a child.

Among other notable achievements, such as being the first black woman to be inducted into the American Society of Magazine Editors Association Hall of Fame, Taylor is the founder of the National CARES Mentoring Movement.

I was near tears just moments into the video, in which Mariah Carey, Danny Glover, Terrence Howard, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey and other celebrities talked about the particular need for mentors to serve African-American youth.

After the video (the above is a shorter version), Taylor talked about a wide range of topics, from how she began in the magazine business to eating for life.

Here’s just some of the inspiring advice from Taylor.

  • “Give from the overflow.” In other words, give of those things that you have in abundance. And you can only do that if you are taking the time to renew and refresh yourself, so that you can build back those reserves. When you’re not giving from the overflow, there’s drama. That drama can occur just about anywhere — in your home, on the job, anywhere there are other humans involved.
  • You have to understand the position you have now, and what it means for you in your life at this particular moment. Think about the route you’ve traveled, and use that to put your current position in context.
  • Recognize and honor your position, whatever it may be. Show up! Remember that you are standing on the shoulders of those who came before you, and do them the honor of working with excellence.