Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Bad men come good

I was born in these streets, Raised in these streets, Walked in these streets, Taught by these streets… I am a bad man, My life’s made me tough… And no matter what the cause, I gotta keep on keeping on, Came up in these streets, There was no father there for me, hey ooh, Cause sometimes we would just have to go without eating, Hey how you like me now?…

So go the lyrics of R Kelly’s song, Bad Man.

For entertainer extraordinaire and celebrity, DJ Benny Demus, popularly known as Benny D, these lyrics ring more truths and may just be the story of his life.

Raised in poverty by a single parent in the Virgin Islands, his rise from the streets to international fame is the real rugs to riches tale.

Speaking in an interview with Sunday Standard Lifestyle, the self titled Virgin Islands Badman, says his inspiration and desire to be a success is drawn from his life in the tough streets of the Caribbean Islands.

“I was raised by the streets,” he informed Sunday Standard Lifestyle. “I was raised in a single parent family. My mother raised four kids by herself and sometimes had to have two or three jobs to get food on the table,” says Benny D.

As a result of this upbringing, the young Benny D hit the streets at an early age and did dejaying while also pushing drugs, selling guns and even shooting them to survive.

“I was a street thug and at the same time I was a music genius,” Benny D says.

It was this passion for music that took Benny D from the streets to international stardom as a celebrity DJ for acts such as Akon, Eve and Rock City.

“At some point I felt like I had to leave the streets and I did. But everything I do is influenced by the streets, from my vibrant and energetic personality to my music,” the Caribbean Badman said.
Upon completion of high school, he headed to the United States of America where he enrolled at university on a basketball scholarship.

His basketball career was, however, cut short by an injury and he packed his bags back to his native Caribbean Islands where he continued his music passion as a DJ.

His first break came when he teamed up with 2EKWHIP in his native Virgin Islands to form the group Rock City. In 2001, the group headed to Atlanta, in the US, to pursue international fame with Benny D as its personal DJ and producer. It was here that the talents and passion of Benny D attracted the then unknown but groundbreaking R&B artist Akon, who approached him to be his personal DJ. This was to prove the biggest break for the DJ as he went on to produce Don’t Let Up for Akon’s multi-platinum album, Trouble.

Now well established and a sought after entertainer in his own right, Benny D can now chase his other passions of acting and screenwriting.

As an actor, he has made numerous TV appearances, including in 106 & Park as well as Regis & Kelly, just to mention a few.

His latest acting is in the film, Ivy League, an Independent film company production, which is expected to show very soon.

Apart from acting, the multi-talented DJ is also involved in film production and has a company called Urban Asylum, which he co-owns with Dorian Santiago.

A self made man from the streets, Benny D, who came to Botswana with rap super star, Eve, says he enjoyed the experience and would like to be back in Botswana in the near future.

“I went to Mokolodi with Eve and we had the opportunity to see wild animals. We even had the privilege of touching cheetahs, which for a tourist like us was a touching experience,” he told Sunday Standard Lifestyle.

The DJ was also happy with the reception he got from the locals, which he says was very good and will thus be willing to come back as a solo act.

“I would like to say thank you to the people of Botswana, Orange Botswana, Gaborone Sun and all the people who brought us here. I am open to come perform here and will also like to do collaborations with local artists and, if possible, to even shoot a film in Botswana,” Benny D said in the interview.

His message to the youth?

“My life is the story of a young poor boy, a street thug from a single-parent family who developed himself into a man.”

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