History

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On Memorial Day 1993, a wall of speakers went up across from Miracle Fry Conch, in Liberty City, Miami. DJ Uncle Al and the Sugar Hill DJs had set up on 15th Avenue in an emergency response to the acquittal of William Lozano, a Miami police officer previously convicted on manslaughter charges for the murders of Clement Lloyd and Allan Blanchard on January 16th, 1989. Lloyd was fatally shot while being chased on his motorcycle, while Blanchard, who rode with him, died in the ensuing crash. The police shooting of an unarmed black man over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday reiterated the city’s long history of civil rights abuses in neighborhoods like Overtown, where the incident occurred, and northwest in Liberty City.

With the retrial four years later, the court would delay announcement of Lozano's acquittal to allow for deployment of police back-up over the Memorial Day weekend. “We knew we had to get out there,” says DJ Captain Crunch, Sugar Hill’s chief of operations who helped build many of the speakers. “The crowd was huge, for a good two, three blocks. We didn’t ask if we could – we just did it.”
Prosecuted by the state’s attorney Janet Reno, the Lozano case amplified tensions across race and class in Miami: Lozano was born in Colombia and came from a family of police officers. The victims, Lloyd and Blanchard, were from the Virgin Islands. It occurred at the end of a decade that saw Miami’s growth and excess wealth mirrored by inequality and an INS “processing center” in the Everglades serving as a detention camp, as well as a punitive model for American immigration policy towards people of color.
In the days leading up to the retrial in 1993, which included five venue changes and a contentious jury selection, Uncle Al, then 24, would be interviewed by the Washington Post: “I heard from people in LA. They were saying, ‘When you all going to do your part?’” Los Angeles was still reeling from the Rodney King protests and rioting a year prior. For Miami, it sparked memories of uprisings in 1980, when five white officers were acquitted in the killing of Arthur McDuffie, a black insurance agent from Carol City. Back then, groups like International DJs mobilized with WEDR, a radio station in Liberty City, and lined up 100 cedar JBL speakers that stretched across Manor Park. “We did what we do,” recalls Jerry Rushin, former EDR station manager and community leader. “The riots – it’s like hurricanes when they come. We’ve been through enough of them.”
That Memorial Day weekend in 1993, traffic was diverted from Liberty City, allowing hundreds to gather near Sugar Hill Apartments, a two-story complex at 71st Street and 15th Avenue. Officers dispatched to the scene would find DJ Uncle Al flanked by 48 speaker cabinets, regulating the calm while speeding up records by Ice Cube and Public Enemy. “Fight the Power” played at a BPM that exceeded the recommended New York limit, putting Flavor Flav’s clock on Miami time. (To be fair, the song had already sped up and hot-pantsed James Brown before arriving in Miami.) Al would drop out the music, call for justice, and cut back in. Drop out, exhort, drop in. These weren’t interruptions but bursts of momentum, the urgency pushed by tempo, as if every drop were building a case, or speaker cabinet. Each time Al jumped back onto the beat, he brought the crowd with him. “That’s when he [Al] pretty much came up with the slogan ‘Peace in tha Hood,’” says Crunch. “He always had that slogan, but that’s when it got its focus.”

members

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Jam Pony Express DJs:
-Slic Vic
-Lock Cool Jock
-The Bodyguard Big Ace (R.I.P.)
-Hot Rod

Body Mechanics jam pony express

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Oakland park flea market ft. lauderdale

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Ft. lauderdale
Jacksonville fl