*Compton – The Los Angeles County Library presented the inaugural “Compton Turns the Table” a free live concert on Saturday, May 6, 2017, outdoors at the Compton Civic Plaza, located at 2015 South Willowbrook Drive.
Despite the various weather patterns, several hundred people were in attendance.
The event started at exactly 3PM, with a Red Carpet hosted by Melanie Eke. Ms. Eke interviewed the five students who were to showcased their DJ skills on the turntables. DJ Yagn Yagn, DJ Sol, DJ Wave Reckz, DJ Daydreamer, DJ Paige and DJ Pricetag. Also interviewed were the special guest performers new pop artist sensation Kay Dee, rapper Lee Laamaj, R&B singer Anthony Lewis and Hip Hop legend and actress Yo Yo who was the headliner.
The Red Carpet also consisted of Lynnee Denise and Los Angeles County Library Director, Skye Patrick, who stated “Libraries are about books, but also music and learning new skills.”
The celebrity panel of judges consisted of actress Dawn Lewis of the hot show “A Different World, Tyler Perry’s music scorer, Elvin Ross, actor Mandell Frazier and Rayan formerly from popular boy band “Mindless Behavior.”
Supported by a grant, the County of Los Angeles Public Library offered a beginner’s DJ course for young adults 15-21 years old at the Compton Library. The 10-week free workshop series covered essential DJ skills and business training that the students can use in their future career endeavors. The class met from February-April 2017.
The DJ workshop was taught by DJ Lynnee Denise, a professor at Cal State Los Angeles. Ms. Denise is also a professional DJ with over 20 years of experience, both as an educator and an international DJ Instructor. She has worked as a DJ on three continents, spun in over 10 countries and performed or lectured about DJ culture in at least 50 cities.
The live concert portion of the program was hosted by Lon McQ from KJLH Radio Free 102.3FM. All of the students picked a stage name for themselves. Everyone had a different DJ playlist. DJ Yagn Yagn was the first to man the ones and twos, the crowd and I enjoyed how fluid his set were. DJ Sol brought out the sun, had the crowd grooving to her set. DJ Wave Reckz spiced it up a bit with the Latin grooves of Reggaeton and Salsa. DJ Paige and DJ Pricetag rocked the stage and the festival with a wonderful selections of tunes. The judges praised their set list, and encourage each to engage their crowd, look up from the computer to get a feel of the energy from the crowd.
The feedback from the judges will prove to be invaluable to the students as they pursue a career in the music industry or another line of work in the entertainment industry.
The concert of special guest were held in between each DJ set. New pop sensation Kay Dee turned it up and turned it out for her set with two energetic dancers.
Popular rapper Lee Laamaj had a few followers in the crowd. He rocked the event with a couple of original tunes to the delight of all in attendance.
R&B singer Anthony Lewis thrilled the crowd as they were feeling his energy as he performed “Candy Rain,” and “It’s Friday.”
Hip Hop legend and actress Yo Yo still got it going on, 26 years after breaking into the music and entertainment industry. The crowd was swaying and singing along to the songs that she performed. Yo Yo stayed at the concert after her crowd pleasing set to sign autographs and to pose for selfies with her legion of adoring fans.
The Compton Turns the Tables Free Live concert and Student Showcase was an afternoon of fun with top notched entertainment for the entire family.
The city of Compton is no stranger when in comes to being in the spotlight of the music industry. The city holds a rich and stories place in music history. Long considered a famous “creative cluster” in the evolution of rap and hip hop. The success of the 2015 film “Straight Outta Compton” was evident of this. The city of Compton is experiencing a huge pop culture moment with the rise of Grammy winning rapper and proud Compton native Kendrick Lamar.
Compton was the birthplace of the late rapper Easy E and also the birthplace of rapper turned entertainment mogul Andre Young, better know as Dr. Dre. Easy E and Dr. Dre collaborated to form what would become a seminal group in the history of hip hop, NWA. NWA’s debut album “Straight Outta Compton”,” released in 1988, has left a lasting legacy on hip hop and spoke a truth, previously unexplored in popular music.
Compton Turns the Tables was supported in whole or in part by the US Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.
Ricky Richardson is a Southern California based writer, music reviewer and photographer. Contact him via: [email protected]