DJ Irie…Whatta Man (thank you, Salt ‘N’ Pepa).
Practically bursting at the seams with energy, DJ Irie, or as I fondly call him, “Deej,” is one of the greatest guys out there. With his larger-than-life personality, contagious enthusiasm and endearing charm, this guy is no ordinary DJ (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
*Reader’s note: It suddenly dawned on me that I might sound one adjective away from a restraining order. Just so we’re clear, Deej has been a friend of mine for over a decade, and I shall brag about him as much as I please. Additionally, I am not a paid DJ Irie endorser, nor involved in a love affair with him.
As the official DJ of Carnival Cruise Lines and the Miami HEAT (yup, that was him celebrating the 2006 NBA Championship in the locker room popping bottles), Deej has developed into an international brand name that is one hot commodity.
He’s not a businessman. He’s a business, man! (thank you, Jay-Z). Too much?
In addition to working closely with Jamie Foxx and DJing a ton of high-profile events for celebs like Robert Downey, Jr. and Chris Bosh, you can find him on the tables at NBA All-Star Weekend, VH1 Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam and the MTV VMAs, just for starters. In-between gigs and firing up the crowd at HEAT home games, Deej is a world traveler, bringing his trademark act to just about every continent under the sun. It’s a matter of time before Antarctica comes a-knockin’.
You’d think that with all these late nights – which obviously come with the job – the man would be utilizing daylight hours for minor things like sleep, maybe laundry, maybe routine doctor’s visits. But no, he’s a mainstay DJ on Miami’s WEDR 99Jamz, and did I mention he’s built a thriving entertainment consulting firm, Artist Related? No wait; did I mention his latest venture is joining Pucci’s Pizza as a partner? And since he’s got so much free time on his hands, Deej has developed Spin’iversity, an at-sea DJ academy, with Carnival. Google it.
Believe it or not, I haven’t even gotten to the core of why I think this guy is the best thing to come out of Miami since Crockett and Tubbs. His resume and talent speaks for itself, but it’s the person who Deej is that impresses me and those who know him the most. He’s got an inherent magnetic way about him and an incredible ability to make those around him feel good. It’s just who he is.
It was no surprise to me a number of years back when I learned that Deej had added “philanthropist” to his repertoire. For several years now, he has hosted Irie Weekend, a highly anticipated and star-studded weekend of events, which benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Miami.
More recently, he launched the Irie Foundation, his very own non-profit that works to support the health and social needs of South Florida kids. Even so, he still plans to work with other charitable groups he admires, including The Special Olympics, Udonis Haslem Foundation, Overtown Youth Center, Alonzo Mourning Charities, Wade’s World Foundation, Odessa Chambers Foundation, Ronnie Brown Foundation, The United Way, Jason Taylor Foundation, and numerous groups benefiting Hurricane Katrina victims.
Just a few weeks ago during NBA All-Star Weekend, Deej hosted Jocktails, a special event to benefit his Foundation, which racked up $6Gs. Not too shabby for a few hours in Orlando.
You’d think that after all of the global media attention and flourishing success, some of the cha-ching would have gone to his head. Nope. Deej is the same gracious and happy-go-lucky (not in an annoying, cheesy way) guy he was when I met him many years ago. He still flashes that signature, megawatt smile about a hundred times a day, and makes sure to “take care of his people” whenever possible. The best part? It’s all genuine. Deej is one legit dude.
You know those people you are particularly happy and proud to see do well in the world? Well, Deej is one of those people for me.
And something tells me I’m not the only one.
(This is probably a good time to reread the above reader’s note).