This article was written in the summer of 2020.
Over the weekend I experienced and participated in what can only be described as a HISTORICAL event! It was phenomenal, organised, and evoked many emotions within all who participated - supporters and organisers alike. The Instagram Live marathon commenced 20/06/2020 and concluded 22/06/2020 on Windrush Day.
The concept was simple but effective.
24 DJs for 24 hours straight, playing one hour Instagram Live sets one after another, after another, to raise funds under the #RespectBlackLives. What started as one thing became something so much greater, with vast amounts of scope for growth and the ability to effect change. The @24_4_24 movement created a community and a sense of belonging.
A whopping £10,000+ was raised by the end of the extended 54+ hour Instagram Live marathon and came to a climactic end that was filled with tears, joy, elation, and a huge sense of achievement. DJ Conspiracy, the aptly dubbed @24_4_24 ‘President’, event creator and idea originator a mere 6 days before its conception, was brought to tears by the end of the final Livestream, as was his emotional ‘Vice President’, Pleazer.
I openly will admit that I too was brought to tears in my kitchen, where I watched the final Live. I felt like I had been a part of something, a part of history almost.
I had a sense of belonging to a community. I was proud that the community had rallied together and pushed for the advancement of the @24_4_24 movement - whether it be via reposts, sharing, donations, interactions etc.
The Mustard Seed
I just had an eye-opening and informative conversation with the humble, inspirational, proactive, knowledgeable and informative ‘President’ of the @24_4_24 movement - DJ Conspiracy or ‘Cons’ as he is affectionately known within the community's Instagram comments. He informed me that the idea came to him late on a Wednesday evening as he was in and out of sleep. He made a few calls to see what people thought about the idea and then didn’t think anything else about it.
He then thought about his personal experiences and looked at everything currently occurring in the media. He saw people march and protest, however, thought who was having the conversations that could lead to change tomorrow? Who can make a change to people respecting Black lives? Thankfully, he decided to put his idea into action!
DJ Conspiracy then took to Instagram to do a 12-minute Live, whereby he challenged his fellow DJ’s to support something to enable young Black children to reach their goals. To make a change towards respecting Black lives and the movement motto was created #RespectBlackLives. The conversation opened up that it’s not only people from other racial backgrounds who need to respect Black lives, but that Black people need to respect Black lives too.
Due to a multitude of disrespect and devaluing based factors, Black people are not united and that we need to be unified as one.
We are a large population and the largest consumers, so why can’t we use that consumerism and boost our own community by putting it back into our community.
I believe the @24_4_24 movement afforded the community the opportunity, through the medium of enjoyment, to do just that.
The President and Vice President
To my surprise, the ‘President’ didn’t reach out to his ‘Vice President’ Pleazer; in fact, it was Pleazer who phoned Conspiracy to ask what he was doing with the DJ commitment from the 12-minute Live. From that conversation, Pleazer was one of the first to commit along with his music duo Top Catz Inc. and became self-appointed second in command.
Pleazer said he got involved because “I believed in it and I felt I needed to in a weird way. Not that I was needed per se, but more a part of my purpose. Plus Conspiracy is my bro and I believed in him and his vision, and I wanted it to be a success.”
His response was touching, showed his passion and conveyed how important this movement is.
Standout DJ Set
Conspiracy openly stated that DJ Taylor Rae [@DJTaylorRae] was the @24_4_24 highlight for him “…as she had the most impressive set. There was Policy, Simple Simon, SheJay, Rio (sic), Ceesix, Clarity who all did amazing sets. She was (sic) the most impressive based on the fact she’s 14 and she’s a product of a community coming together to help her chase her dreams, and this will change the course of her life; which is fundamentally what we are all about.”
DJ Taylor Rae was one of the DJ’s with the least amount of experience, and the platform allowed her to gain experience, to be seen by many and embraced by 100s. Conspiracy informed me that she has never had a Live stream with that many people tuned in and that it certainly boosted her confidence level.
DJ Taylor also did Pleazer’s favourite set; he stated that she’s a “…female DJ who knows her music and is technically brilliant.” He also said “Honourable mention to Deep Clarity who I feel set the tone, with their energy, tune selection and message”.
From my standpoint, I have to agree with Conspiracy and Pleazer, as Taylor Rae’s energy was contagious and her set was memorable, to say the least. This young lady is certainly one to watch and is an exceptional talent. She brought me immense joy. I am now a follower and a fan. Taylor Rae has had a community of DJ friends’ teach and raise her skill level. It shows that the movement's mission statement, to make a change in the lives of young Black children is an obtainable reality.
Over the 54+ hours of Lives, the streams were between 90 to 300 people consistently, with some sets having 300+. There were over 300 people consistently tuned into the last few hours of the marathon, all bearing witness to greatness. The marathon made total impressions well into the 1000s.
Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
The Stephen Lawrence Trust was Conspiracy’s chosen charity to donate the funds to since they predominantly work with Black youth and they are a well-established charitable organisation. The charity doesn’t accept the idea that your background should limit what you can achieve and aims to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds aged 13 to 30 years old. This coincides with the @24_4_24 concept.
Furthermore, Conspiracy felt that it was a charity that people could rally behind in this current climate of the #BlackLivesMatter movement as “Stephen was murdered in an unprovoked racist attack” - © 2020 Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.
Conspiracy was the one who reached out to the charitable trust.
Conspiracy intends to stay in constant communication with Stuart Lawrence, trustee and brother of the late Stephen Lawrence - with the continued support of the @24_4_24 family. DJ Conspiracy stated, “I want to do things end-to-end, it started with a Live on Insta (sic) and needs to finish with results.”
The concept was birthed from a single idea and has grown into a fully-fledged @24_4_24 movement through the hard work and dedication of many. After speaking to Conspiracy, the sheer dedication he personally put in is simply admirable.
When asked what he wants to come out of the @24_4_24 marathon, Conspiracy eloquently expressed that “he wants the continued growth of unity within the community and for it to empower other people; make them believe in the community and to get behind the agenda and have an outcome. For our children to have an equal playing field in whatever their dreams are, and that the kids don’t have to start from a minus.”
A surprising outcome from the @24_4_24 marathon was Sky reaching out to DJ Conspiracy. This development came on Tuesday after an out-of-the-blue conversation a friend of Conspiracy’s had while shopping, after overhearing a conversation about @24_4_24 being a weekend viral sensation.
Conspiracy states that “You never know what can come out of one conversation…” and I couldn’t agree more.
Other entrepreneurs have reached out to Conspiracy and they are in discussions as to how they can achieve a common goal.
So I’m telling you to watch this space.
The Marathon Climax
The marathon came to an end approximately 54+ hours after it started. The final set was legendary with DJ MilkTray and DJ Simple Simon rallying the community with an energetic, insane, exceptional set for the final push to reach £10,000. Bottles were popped in celebration of this monetary achievement.
To close the whole marathon DJ Conspiracy went Live after the final musical set to talk to the community. When asked about his emotional closing address he said:
“In reality I was proud. It was all about the community coming together to prove that things like this can happen. It was overwhelming that people got behind a dream that I had, an idea that I had. It was a gift God gave me, that I’m using to do something with; and this whole thing symbolises and is evidence (sic) we can come together.”
Conspiracy made a point to inform me that although the majority of the people who supported were Black people, individuals from various other ethnic backgrounds reached out to the @24_4_24 team, shared, supported and donated too. Conspiracy displayed the tears of a King for all to bear witness to during the Instagram Live finale. Although this was due to tiredness and feeling overwhelmed he said: “Fundamentally I was proud.”
I think the marathon was successful in part because it tapped into the one thing we can all agree brings people together - music. It was intended to be for 24 hours, however, so many DJ’s wanted to be involved that it just kept on going and going like an unstoppable steam train. Although, the ‘President’, ‘Vice President’, and DJ’s take very little credit for the movement’s success. I think it was also a success due to the involvement of passionate individuals. There are many ways you can still get involved in the movement - follow, donate, promote, purchase merchandise etc. The donation page is still open and the total is currently at £10,650.
I’m not often easily impressed. However, I can only sum up the hours of entertainment I received, the unity I witnessed and how affected I was by the @24_4_24 marathon as impactful and impressive. I believe @24_4_24 can become as big as Children In Need. It goes to show that from the faith of a mustard seed, an idea can turn into a movement with the potential to affect major change. I feel that the future of Black people is dependent on us continuing to uplift each other and support each other in our various endeavours.
Instagram: @24_4_24_ @DJConspiracy1 @JustSayPleaze