There are moments when the Chicago house community puts their differences aside to come together for something bigger than themselves. This past Friday was one of those moments. Da House Spot affectionately known as “DHS”, located at 7130 S. South Chicago Avenue was home to underground house parties for years. Hosted by Ron Watkins, Da House Spot was home to some of the most memorable parties with some of the best Chicago House DJs. DHS was known for its underground feel. The parties would often go until the next day. On a personal note, it was one of the first places I performed live as a new artist. It was Mike Dunn’s birthday celebration and I fondly remember being received very warmly by everyone at DHS. Da House Spot welcomed anyone and you were always free to express yourself however you felt comfortable.
On February 12, 2018, a fire erupted at DHS. It was upgraded to a 2-11 fire after the flames burst through the roof. Many of us watched the news in horror as DHS burned to the ground and the families who lived upstairs were displaced and without any of their personal belongings. Ron Watkins, his wife and child were among those displaced by this fire. News of the fire spread through the house community quickly thanks to social media. Many sharing their sadness and shock over watching DHS burn down. Other shared photos, thoughts and videos of their favorite memories at DHS. Over the past few years, attendance was down but the memories we share, the music we danced to and the DJs who spun there are forever etched in our memories and in Chicago House History.
This past Friday night the house community came together in a show of unity and solidarity for a fundraiser for Ron Watkins and his family. Party Promoters, The Way We Were, Robert Williams, ICHOUSEPEOPLE AND RFK Promotions hosted, “In The Name of Love”, a benefit for the Watkins Family. In was a night of all-star DJs including Gene Hunt, Andre Hatchett, Ron Carroll, DJ Reg, Brian Reaves, Greg Winfield, Dee Jay Alicia, Steve Maestro, Vick Lavender, Kevin McSwain, Tony T, Mz. Nicky, Mickey Calvin and more. Many of these DJs have played at DHS at a point in time.
Some wondered, “Why so many DJs”? The reality was there was an overflow of those who wanted to lend their talents. It wasn’t about “set times” and other ego driven stuff. This was just about a few DJs offering their services, playing for the crowd and helping a family in need.
Crowd thrilling tag teams and epic DJ sets filled the venue with some of the best house music for the night. It was the “musical gumbo” I speak of so often on this website. The variety of music combined with the different playing styles of each DJ kept the jammed packed venue full of dancing bodies all night long. Dancers were also treated to a special live performance by singer, Carla Prather. I’ll be honest, it felt good. The music felt good, the energy was positive and I felt uplifted. The truth is in this scene, there are beefs. Friends become enemies, lovers become exes and feelings get hurt and division occurs but it warmed my heart to see so many people put aside hurt feelings, beefs, differences etc. to come together for something far more important.
The result was threefold; a night filled with love, raising money for a family that’s been a part of this community for decades and an opportunity to show what happens when we gather together united by the music for a common purpose. It’s what a community feels like. Its how a community operates and behaves. It’s incredibly special and feels amazing and it’s what I love about this music scene and why I continue to be a part of it... moments like these, when we come together...In spite of it all.
Until next time,
See you on a dance floor!
**The Family of Ron Watkins has a GoFundMe set up to help rebuild their lives. If you are interested in making a donation to the family, please click the link below***