An Exclusive Look Inside A DJ B-Hen Block Party In Brooklyn

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It’s hard to put Baltimore-born creative Brian Henry into just one category. Sure, he’s a sought-after DJ who regularly spins the jams Good morning America on ABC and has big names from Beyoncé to Barack Obama hoping to snag one of his sets. But he’s also a mastermind curator, using his spot-on DJ name as B-Hen to curate block parties that bring together some of the most eclectic melanized faces across generations.

Check out how they pulled it off at last year’s B-Hen Block party in Los Angeles – including R&B icon Brandy!

We had the chance to witness him create the magic during the tour company’s first stop in Brooklyn, New York. Set up the store at 99 Scott, a warehouse-like venue in East Williamsburg, B-Hen made sure there was plenty of room to move around, get drinks and eat well – our favorite being the Jamrock Jerk! – and above all dance!

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“I’ve loved music since I was four or five years old and I’ve listened to Janet Jackson control Tape – back then it was tape! [Laughs] – but I didn’t really know what to do with it [music] for a long time,” he told us during an exclusive sit-down just before taking the stage. He went on to explain that he walked the “enterprise path” for many years hoping to find his way, only to find himself immediately drawn back to music after taking a course at the renowned Scratch DJ Academy. “I took part in a 6-week course [and] quit my job. They thought I was crazy, but, uh, years later, not everyone thinks so.”

DJ B-Hen Block Party NYC

Source: Keenan “HIGz” Higgins / Reach Media

Learning how to blend music with the mood of the crowd was a great lesson he learned from the teachers Mr. Choc from the Beat Junkies and DJ HAPA, and soon translated this knowledge into his own nightlife of the same name. His style is based solely on the feeling of “feeling the room” and pulling you in until he’s got you rocking, then spinning his own selections and original mixes that you only get at a B-Hen show . Oh, and he’s quite the choreographer too – Renaissance Man again! – who spends weeks orchestrating how the live entertainment of his DJ sets will run.

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“It’s a feeling,” he says of the song choices and transitions he chooses, adding, “My barometer is like when I feel it and carry it in my pocket or dance to it while practicing it, I know that this energy will radiate back from me to the audience.”

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However, his mission is not a one-man job as he is sponsored by the good people at DIAGEO and supports sets of the scene’s experienced and up-and-coming disc jockeys including Jae Murphy, GoodVibes Jones, Quiana Parks and dj mOma. Using Quincy Jones’ famous “12-note” concept as a reference, B-Hen said on DJing as an art form, “Sure, there’s always going to be room for more DJs to come into the market, but if you if you If you don’t really understand the basics of music, it doesn’t matter and you’ll suck.”

“Stop pretending on the night of an event that the DJ is your personal concierge…at this point, we’re the promoters, entertainers and the people putting deals together. We do so much more than play records.”

– Brian Henry, aka DJ B-Hen

Of course, being a DJ isn’t always easy. The non-stop late nights and eardrum attacks are one thing, but if there’s one concern all disc jockeys share, it’s the dreaded recurring offense of song requests. “Stop asking for requests,” Henry exclaimed as the one thing people should know about DJ culture, adding, “Stop meeting the DJ the night of the event and asking for a guest list.” to ask, and just stop acting like that DJ is your personal concierge on the night of an event.”

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If you think his ego is jumping out a little, listen more closely to what else he had to say on the subject to better understand the message: “At this point in time, we are the promoters, entertainers and people who are the summarize deals. We do so much more than play records; It’s disrespectful when a DJ has spent weeks preparing a set, knowing that the energy will flow from one song to the next, and you think that in your moment of drunkenness that saying ‘Hey, let me hear that!’ Is appropriate. I just need more people who respect the craft.”

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Ultimately, for the most part, Brian Henry gets the respect he seeks. We witnessed it live through a place full of black people from all walks of life united in unison to the beat. It was both a beautiful sight and a beautiful feeling, and we thank the young jack-of-all-trades for inviting us to experience a B-Hen Block party in person.

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An Exclusive Look Inside A DJ B-Hen Block Party In Brooklyn was originally published on blackamericaweb.com