5 Stages: 94 Degrees & 19,000 House Heads
By Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Staff Writer
Chicago literally just warmed up as thousands of House Heads descended upon McCormick place to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the original Hot Mix 5. Founded in 1981 by WBMX’s Program Director, Lee Michaels; the Hot Mix 5 crew consists of: Kenny ‘Jammin’ Jason, Scott ‘Smoking’ Silz, Grammy nominated, Ralphi ‘Rockin’ Rasario, legendary Mickey ‘Mixin’ Oliver and the man who would be king, Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk.
The Hot Mix 5 are well known for drawing a diverse crowd and judging by the looks, you would never believe that Chicago is the most segregated city in America. From Latinas in sexy Roberto Cavalli heels and short shorts to sisters in $500 tattered designer jeans and high-def hairstyles; McCormick place was a melting pot on fire this past Saturday.
For twelve straight hours from 12 noon to 12 midnight, 19,000 house heads and their supporters celebrated throughout the day on the south side as each member of the crew took a room and showered their fans with the best music that transcends race, politics and religion: House. The genre that breaks down barriers and unites people was front and center as the one-day event, marketed as a family-oriented festival included a ‘house health fair’ sponsored by Kidz Korna Not-for-Profit.Delece Williams, founder of Kidz Korna believes in giving back to empower the community. She along with DJ First Lady helped organize the dj training seminar; encouraging young people to put the guns down and pick up headphones.
Former Bulls, two-time champion, Cliff Levingston was on the guest panel to talk about sports and fitness. Clara Hubbard from Senior Talk promoted health information and Kysha Smith consulted on beauty and wellness.
The event drew international house music artists such as Tyree Cooper, Robert Owens and Marshall Jefferson who performed their hits and drew local Chicago celebs Ramonski Love, Joe Soto, and Bionce Foxx from V-103.
Local talent included Donovan Jukie the Kidd, along with performing artists Ross Clover and Amanda. Closing out the event was dance fitness instructor, Ms. Fit Britt who taught a class “How to dance house music style.”
The event which was organized by Tony Rosales & Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk took six months of planning and lots of negotiating says Delece Williams – who just happens to be Farley’s wife. We encountered some challenges but it all came together in the end she stated.
“We couldn’t have done this without lots of love and the support of our sponsors like: Red Cross, Metropolitan Breast Cancer Society, Sickle Cell Association, Financial Freedom’s LaRoy Mack, TaKesha Howard along with the Master Mix Academy and the young Chicago Bulls Dj,” the two members insisted.
“This was a beautiful event,” says Sharon Ngwen a long-time fan and supporter of Chicago’s house music scene. “There was so much energy in the building we need to direct it into something bigger she said.”