Posts Tagged ‘EG Woode’

Origins: Home-grown in Englewood

From EG Woode Member Profile

This Member Monday will highlight Antoine Tyree Butler, one of our founding members. Butler, aka DJ Dap, is an Englewood native who founded our youth outreach team, piloted edutainment events, and supplies the music to events like Whole Foods Englewood “$5 after $5” and of course So Fresh Saturdays!  Dap is a DJ, court clerk, landlord, husband, and owner of a soon to be opened bar & grill. How did he become a leader in Englewood?

Dap attended school at Curie High School and grew up on 67th & May Street. He witnessed the rise of hip hop and house and his friend group was made up of musicians and dancers. Dap had that  “cool uncle” named Uncle Johnnie who would take him to “parties I shouldn’t have been at”. It was his love and curiosity of music that introduced Antoine, the DJ, to Asiaha Butler, our current President who has a great love for dancing, through their mutual friends. This friendship continued through Dap’s college time and still does today. Dap describes the serendipity of meeting Asiaha: “she grew up on the good block and I grew up on the bad block”, even adding, “she was close friends to one of my best friends”.

Career: Family, Community, and Role Model

The Butlers at their daughter’s Prom Send-Off

Throughout college, Dap had started to earn his moniker as a DJ, as well as starting his career as a court clerk at the Criminal Court on 26th & California. He has been a clerk for over 20 years and continues to advocate for many of the young people in Englewood who unfortunately have had a run-in with the system. Dap attended Daley’s College and Chicago State University, but when Asiaha became pregnant with their only daughter, he knew he would have to take his position more seriously. Now with Samaiya on Team Butler, the couple began on the path of creating a better future for the children of Englewood.

Raising a child in Englewood during the 2000s seemed like a bad idea. The Butlers were property owners, but Englewood was going through the transformative perils of disenfranchisement. With all the structural forces at play to push them out Dap reflects back, “we was going to relocate  to Atlanta like many of our families and friends; however, witnessing that there were not considered the norm on the block and that they could help uplift it, the Butlers decided to stay and make Englewood their own Atlanta. With their block becoming less and less occupied, the Butlers started the community work that would grow into the association it is today, all starting on their famous porch on Union.

Dap’s community work started on Union. After deciding to be stewards for their block, Dap started paying the local teens to keep the block clean. This led into mornings “where 10 kids would be on my porch waiting for work”. As Dap organized the youth he was simultaneously planting seeds for the eventual management of the street outreach team that flyers neighborhoods before every event. While he worked on youth development through this and events like Docs and Dialogue and co-produced Real Talk on CanTV, Asiaha was collaborating with like-minded individuals who would help found RAGE.

Englewood, RAGE, and Life

From his Profile on Englewood Rising

Dap has many options for his favorite RAGE moments since he was part of its preconception. Seeing his daughter grow up on a block they were once ready to move from and earn a full-ride scholarship to her ideal college through volunteering with RAGE could be one. He even watched the same boys he paid to clean up the block become leaders of the outreach team. His favorite RAGE moment is a Father’s Day where a friend of his wanted to throw a celebration for his block and RAGE made it happen. Early RAGE would facilitate outdoor events by just finding a vacant lot and “Asiaha would bring the resources, I would bring the music”, Dap says. During the event, one mother told Dap this was the first time her kids had ever celebrated Father’s day. He adds, “it was Alieon Brooks on 74th and it was one of my best father’s day ever.” 

On top of djing, clerk-work, being a father and husband, landlord, and founder of RAGE, Dap is also part of EG Woode. EG Woode is an entrepreneurial firm that will utilize Deon Lucas’s architectural vision and the funding of the Retail Thrive Zone Grant; Dap will be opening Ellie’s Urban Grill at their location on 63rd. Inspired by his mother’s cooking, Dap’s goal is to create a rare Englewood experience where one could “walk over and have a sit-down meal”. He’s excited to model economic success through EG Woode’s business incubation model.

Antoine Butler is a positive role model for Englewood. He chose to stay in Englewood because, “I want kids in our community to see a working man, a husband, a father”. His family represents all faculties of community leadership. To quote Samaiya Butler from her interview with Voyage ATL, ” my dad is also someone that I would call my mentor; he has shown me how to create; how to do what you love”, also adding, “I am so thankful for his journey and being able to watch him before I go through the same thing”. Our association would be missing an element of style, masculinity, and stoic perseverance without you and we are proud that you are a part of RAGE! You can also catch DJ Dap at 5 After 5 at Whole Englewoods on the 2nd and 4th Fridays of the month! 

THANK YOU, DAP, FOR YOUR DEDICATION TO ENGLEWOOD!!!

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Origins: Background and Education

Picture from Deskgram.net

Born at Cook County Hospital and raised near Ogden Park, Sunni Ali Powell promotes “positivity and professionalism” in the Englewood community by using his platform as a licensed barber-teacher. With the grand opening of his new location on the horizon, Sunni has plans to impact the future narrative of Englewood.

Sunni graduated from De Lasalle Institute in 1988 and spent a combined five years studying film and television at Southern Illinois Carbondale University and Columbia College. Sunni is in the Director’s Guild of America while being the electrician for “international Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, . He worked on A/V equipment while studying and even won “Best Film” while attending Columbia This led to him working on the set of many pop culture favorites like the television shows E.R., CSI, Chicago Hope and the movies Hoodlum, Ali, Malibu’s Most Wanted, The Johnson Family Vacation, and Contagion. Powell felt Chicago was in a “good film mode” which led him to work in Chicago for 5 years, yet his work continued in Atlanta and Los Angeles. It was his time in LA that turned him into the union barber of today.

Career: Road to Barbering

From Sunni Ali Powell’s Twitter

For three years Sunni was in a relationship with Kim Kimble, Beyonce’s Hairstylist. He sold her hair products and was graced with the opportunity to travel the world “all because I was Beyonce’s hairstylist boyfriend”. Traveling all over the world not only blessed him with an international perspective but familiarized him with the hair game, as he helped manage her shop in West Hollywood. Always a pioneer with hair, claiming to be “one of the first dudes in Chicago who had dreadlocks”, he took his wisdom of the hair-game to Englewood to become the premier professional barber

Powell’s Barbershop tagline is “ the heart of Englewood”. With Sunni’s goal “to sustain, push forward, and propagate barbering” he wants to regain the barbers status as a respectable career. Believing barbers can promote “peace and positivity or violence and disease”.Hosting community resource events, supplying free books to the community, offering free hair cuts to kids, partnering with organizations in the shop, among many other things. At the new location Powell’s will be offering offering a barber college for students and granting the opportunity for “barbers to become owners after 3 years”. This partnership will create the opportunity for the collective of entrepreneurs to “be the example and the conduit to do it all again”.

Englewood, Life, and R.A.G.E.

Sunni was friends with Rashanah Baldwin when he found out about R.A.G.E . Baldwin worked with Aysha Butler and Sonya Harper on CAN TV so she invited Sunni to a R.A.G.E. meeting at Teamwork Englewood for local entrepreneurs. After the meeting he started to partner with community organizations through the association for his community events . Sunni adds, “if it wasn’t for R.A.G.E I wouldn’t be here”.

In 2016 there was a shooting at Powell’s Barber and Englewood came together. R.A.G.E. held a meet and greet fitting the tactics of the Public Safety Task-Force; gave Powell’s $1000 with Mr. Leak stating, ‘a lot of people got shot at my business and I almost closed down, but people came to me and helped me so I’m going to help you”; Sunni even partnered with R.A.G.E to use his donation for a big back-to-school event with Leak and Sons’funding. Through a networking event he even met Deon Lucas, an architect, who introduced Sunni to the retail thrive zone grant and is part of EG Woode.

Being a long time R.A.G.E. member, Sunni’s favorite moments were the various meetings held by the association. He said, “something great was happening”, at the meetings since it was the “ the barometer of the neighborhood”. He is part of the Jobs and Economic Development Taskforce where he love to promote the job fairs and thinks So Fresh Saturdays (R.A.G.E. summer park festival) are “off the chain. His favorite R.A.G.E moment was standing on the stage at Lindblom Math and Science Academy with Michelle Rashad, Alderman Lopez, The Police Commander, himself, and “all the cats”. 

Picture from Alysha’s Facebook

Sunni’s significant other is Alysha Monique who he met at Whole Foods Englewood’s 5 after 5 event, which was curated by Erik Jones’ Blue Sapphire experience. Sunni describes her as, “ a jazz musician with a college degree who can sit at the piano and play about 500 songs”. She will be the booking agent at the new EG Woode location for music talent and will be hosting an event at Kusanya Cafe on July 31st called, “Chocolat Noir”.

Sunni has a 16 year old son named Hannibal Langston Powell. Sunni named him after a general and a poet, based on the Carthage general and most photographed man of the 19th century. He attends Walter Payton College Prep and is the only child.

Sunni looks at the culture of his field and states,”my passion is to inspire others to do great things with this platform outside of cutting hair”. One way is by utilizing his guild, Chicago Barbers Alliance, and having a “Westside vs Southside” competition. He also works with Urban Prep’s program with the intention of allow the students of the junior college barbering program to get their 1500 hours to be able to have their barber’s license. His passion for changing barber’s perspective of their profession involves having the presence in the community to be a mentor.

Thank You Mr Powell For Your Dedication To R.A.G.E.!!!!

Samuel L Jackson at Powell’s Barbershop for the filming of Chiraq