Local DJ performs free live shows online during pandemic

Darryl J. says he wants to bring people together through music

Darryl J offers a number of entertainment services for weddings. He's a DJ and a photographer. (Darryl J.)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s no secret the pandemic has seriously hit the wedding industry. With many venues closing down and large gatherings not recommended, weddings are getting canceled or postponed.

For Darryl J., he has seen that with his own business. He specializes in wedding DJ services, but he also offers photography, lighting, photo booths, special effects and other entertainment services. Darryl J. says because he usually works a limited amount of events per year, he’s going to have to work even harder next year to accommodate the postponed weddings and the ones that were already reserved for 2021.

Darryl J., Owner of Darryl J. Weddings (Darryl J.)

In the meantime, Darryl J. has made it his mission to uplift others during this tough time through free shows live on Instagram and Facebook. He even performed a free Zoom wedding for one of his clients who had to cancel his ceremony and reception, but couldn’t wait to get married. They eloped in their backyard.

”Music is the universal language that brings together people of all ethnicities. We especially need that now during the super important Black Lives Matter movement. Currently the nation is divided and I’m trying to bring us together through music. It fuels me to see so many people that are tuned in and I laugh and smile as I interact with them through their comments,” Darryl J. said.

He’s been living in Central Florida for the past 15 years and actually got into the wedding industry by accident.

”I was originally a fashion photographer and nightclub promoter. One day a friend of mine asked me to cover a wedding for him in 2012 as a wedding photographer. Once I released the photographs, it was like wildfire on social media. I kept receiving phone calls and emails from brides that wanted me to capture their special day,” Darryl J. said.

Starting off with photography, he says his business stood out because he understood the effects of light, color, shadows, and white balance on black skin.

”Being a photographer of color and being a man of color gave me an advantage when capturing people of color. I’m able to appreciate how to capture our skin. To be honest, I have many brides of color that hire me for that very reason and have vocalized it during our consultation,” he said.

After specializing in photography from 2012 to 2016, he wanted to do more with his business. He said he decided to take a chance and go back to his entertainment roots of working in nightclubs. He wanted to give couples that nightclub feel at their wedding.

”I’m not just a DJ that stands behind the booth hitting the play button. I read the crowd, I interact with their guests and get two families together that have never met and leave them with a night that brings them together for the rest of their lives,” Darryl J. said.

Darryl J. says his goal is to give couples that nightclub feel at their wedding (Darryl J.)

He said he also speaks to young people of color interested in starting their own business, including his 11-year-old son. He especially stresses the importance of Black entrepreneurship.

”I started my business because I was tired of waiting for a raise that wouldn’t come. I was tired of waiting for someone to give me an opportunity, when I had just as much education and experience as my non-black peers,” Daryl J. said.

He said he was starting to get frustrated every time he was overlooked for a promotion and was tired of being angry. He realized anger and frustration does not lead to anything.

”Stop waiting for someone else to give you a chance and take a chance on yourself. It is a difficult path, but well worth it and you will thank yourself for it,” he said.

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