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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

CIAA alum has skills to move crowds for tournament week
DJ Skillz has played for Jay-Z, Kanye
Published Monday, February 13, 2017 4:12 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

Music is therapy. Meet therapist DJ Skillz.

DJ Skillz (birth name Braxton Brown) has played for Jay-Z, Kanye West and the Charlotte Hornets. The St. Augustine's University alumnus will spin at 11 venues during CIAA Week Feb. 21-25.

Skillz (birth name Braxton Brown) will spin at 11 CIAA tournament week events from Feb. 22-26. Venues include the Charlotte Convention Center, Whisky River, Founders Hall, Bubble, Kandy Bar and Studio Movie Grill. He’s no stranger to high-profile performances. He’s worked events for Jay-Z, Kanye West, Kevin Hart, NAACP Image Awards, Charlotte Hornets and BET Experience.

“Pretty much with my style, you can expect to be taken on a musical journey,” Skillz said. “A lot of my events cater to the 25-plus, a lot of the working class alumni crowd. It’s kind of like making you feel like [you are back in] those glory days, those glory years, when you were back in college and everything was just fun and really just enjoying your life. Just really partying and just enjoying yourself.”

While the tournament has a history of presenting a polarizing week in the Queen City, Skillz offers the perspective of an HBCU alum (St. Augustine’s University) who knows the power of music.

“Music is therapeutic,” he said. “Music is that one common thing that brings all types of people from different nationalities or different walks of life together. It makes them kind of forget about everything. It’s the unity aspect, and I’m the glue that brings all of that together. It’s based on musical knowledge and high energy. Whatever you in with that was a burden to you, by the time you leave, you won’t be thinking about that. You are going to feel like the weight of the world was just lifted off your shoulders. It’s like you just went through some type of therapy.”

Family exposed Skillz to the art of spinning in his hometown of Florence, S.C., and he never looked back. He tries to pay the knowledge forward by sharing with young people, especially those looking to break into the business.

“I’ve always been around music,” he said. “I taught myself how to play drums when I was five years old. I used to always idolize DJs I used to see back in the day, like Kid Capri, DJ Scratch, DJ Premier—they would always stand out to me. When I actually saw my first DJs hands on—two of my cousins who are both prominent DJs in the state of South Carolina at that time DJ Ced and Mark Elladenson. They actually introduced me to the art of DJing and gave me my first hands-on experience. Ever since then it’s been no turning back.”


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