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'I wish I could extend myself and sprinkle this magic to all kids'

Black Coffee cherishes the love from friends, colleagues at Grammy celebration party

Emmanuel Tjiya S Mag Editor-in-chief
DJ Black Coffee wins a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album award for Subconsciously.
DJ Black Coffee wins a Grammy for Best Dance/Electronic Album award for Subconsciously.
Image: Emma McIntyre

Newly-minted Grammy winner DJ Black Coffee has stressed the importance of empowering young people with big dreams, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, so they can live their best lives.

Speaking on Wednesday night at his Grammy celebration party attended by his childhood friends, close relatives and industry peers in Sandton, Johannesburg, Black Coffee said he will now make it his mission to ensure that youngsters feel the magic of his win and get inspired by it.

After all, he said once upon a time he was one of them, from a disadvantaged background growing up in Mthatha in the Eastern Cape.

“My childhood friends are here, we used to walk to parties to hear DJs play and walk back to our homes just for the experience. I’m overwhelmed, but at the same time grateful,” Black Coffee said

“At this point I understand the assignment and responsibility that has been bestowed over me by God to inspire and show kids like me that it is all possible. 

“I wish there could be a way that I could extend myself and sprinkle this magic to each and every child so they can dream, be as assertive and not be afraid to work and be great.”

Black Coffee thanks people in attendance during his celebratory dinner in Sandton
= Black Coffee thanks people in attendance during his celebratory dinner in Sandton
Image: MASI LOSI

The We Dance Again hitmaker scooped a Grammy in Las Vegas last weekend for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album with his 2021 album Subconsciously. He beat Illenium (US), Major Lazer (Jamaica/US), Marshmello (US), Sylvan Esso (US) and Ten City (US).

Subconsciously featured Pharrell Williams, Una Rams, Usher, Tellaman, Msaki, David Guetta, Diplo and Sabrina Claudio who sings lead vocals on the title track SBCNCSLY.

Black Coffee joins an elite crop of SA musicians who have won Grammy awards, which include Hugh Masekela, Miriam Makeba, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Soweto Gospel Choir and Wouter Kellerman.

“I struggled with being great for the longest time because as black people in this country we don’t have the greatest background. We were made to be the same…every time one of us will swim up stream, the rest will pull them down,” Black Coffee said.

“That’s the mentality we have. Sometimes it’s internal too, where you start looking back and think you don’t deserve to be this far. You don’t even deserve to share stories with friends and peers of how far you to go because they might not like it. 

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done in this country in terms of transforming the generation that is coming behind that they can achieve everything they want.”

He added that it was his responsibility to uplift those dreamers. Top of his list is that he plans to launch a dreamers’s club, where young dreams can unapologetically exchange ideas and progress to greater heights.

“It doesn’t have to have financial needs, but it’s just a space where young people who are like-minded get to meet and talk about their dreams, and encourage one another,” Black Coffee said.

“This is now my assignment and I feel sorry for people who I work with, because this is now theirs. It needs to happen and we need to create a platform, whether it’s in the form of an App or social media group. 

“There is a lot that is happening in our country. There are a lot of young kids that are carrying big families. They can’t even think of themselves because they have to first go fix their mothers' house and fix problems that were created by their fathers first. 

“It’s a norm, it’s called 'black tax', we gave it a fancy name. Those kids need to go back and find a way to live their own dreams.”

His welcoming party was hosted by Arena Holdings, owners of Gallo Records co-owned by Black Coffee himself. The event was MC’d by Scandal! actor Nomvelo Makhanya and attended by politicians Julius Malema, Fikile Mbalula and Mbuyiseni Ndlozi.

Black Coffee and his mother, Faith Dandala, at Tang Restaurant where he was celebrating his Grammy Award win.
Black Coffee and his mother, Faith Dandala, at Tang Restaurant where he was celebrating his Grammy Award win.
Image: MASI LOSI

A-listers including Oskido, Rich Mnisi, Major League DJz, Blaq Diamond, Shota, Rami Chuene, Minnie Dlamini, David Tlale, Chef Nti, Langa Mavuso, Sun-El Musician, Kwenzo Ngcobo and Distuction Boyz’s  Thobani “Que” Mgobhozi were also in attendance at the event held at the Tang restaurant.

Chair and founder of Lebashe Investment Group Tshepo Mahloele was also in attendance.

Black Coffee showed up in head-to-toe Louis Vuitton, while his mother Faith Dandala by his side rocked MaXhosa Africa by Laduma Ngxokolo. He also remembered how he was inspired by his mentors Oskido and DJ Christos.

“Oskido and DJ Christos came to play in a club in Mthatha (Eastern Cape), a very small town where I grew up. My cousin had a sound system and he was helping the club set up because the bigger stars were coming in town,” Black Coffee said.

“They were playing in a club called Tran-Paradise, it was called that because it was a club on Saturday and church on Sunday. I was a kid and too young to attend, but I was there as they set up. 

“Then DJ Christos put on a record, like a vinyl, I don’t know which song it was, it came up in the speakers and I made a decision in that moment that this is what I want to do.”

Black Coffee admitted that he was still overwhelmed by his Grammy win, but reiterated that he will spread the magic.

“I never prepared to make speeches, stand in front on people, speak good English and be confident to stand anywhere in the world, I just wanted to play music like my heroes Oskido and Christos,” he said.

“So to get this far, for this little kid who is extremely ambitious, you fast-forward to a moment when my name was called out in Vegas on Sunday to receive the biggest award in the music space ... I was so overwhelmed, as I am in this moment now. 

“I don’t believe that it happened. I feel like I have so much electricity and magic in my body. I wish I can fly over the continent for everyone to feel this magic. 

“I wish the young kids, who dream like I do in environments where they think it’s impossible, I wish they can feel this feeling one day. When I look at where I come from, we were not the coolest kids, but we were cool in our circle.”

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