Wednesday, July 7, 2010
DJ X: MTV's first Twitter Jockey?
The DJ for a popular Christian rapper may be MTV’s first Twitter Jockey.
Given our post-modern, hyper socially-networked society, surely at least one of the words in the previous sentence perked your interest.
Starting today, viewers can vote for DJ X (aka Xavier Moreno) to be the youth-channel’s first TJ (Twitter Jockey) – a modern version of the original MTV VJ (Video Jockey.) MTV General Manager Stephen Friedman told the Associated Press that the TJ position is "a natural evolution of how we connect with our audience."
DJ X was one of the first 18 candidates hand selected by MTV for the competition. The ultimate winner will relocate to New York, make occasional appearances on the network, and earn a one-year $100,000 salary as their online personality for music and pop culture.
Over the years, Moreno has developed a strong following as a frequent tour DJ for best selling Christian rapper KJ-52. With KJ, he’s traveled and performed at hundreds of venues each year including the Get Motivated business seminars where he’s shared the stage with world leaders like Rudy Guliani, Colin Powell, former President George W. Bush, Dwayne Wade, Joe Montana and others.
The gig, along with his popular Ispeakwithmyhands.com blog, has occasionally led to questions about his calling. “Is he a Christian rap DJ?” many ask. “If he gets this MTV job, will he be selling out and promoting ‘worldly’ music?”
“I’m a DJ who has a faith. That carries over into all aspects of what I do,” X said. “I just want my convictions and what I stand for to filter into all aspects of my life. Whether that’s on a Christian festival with KJ-52 or in a night club environment, DJ X and who I am doesn’t change.”
Although originally from the Bronx, X’s family relocated to Fort Myers, Florida when he was 14 years old. It was there, through church and friends, that he met KJ-52. As one of the genre’s most in-demand artists, KJ often needed a DJ with the talent and time to enhance his many performances on the road.
X accepted the gig and was able to observe first hand how well his MC counterpart was able to connect with his fans. Always on the bleeding boundary, KJ was one of Christian hip hop’s first artists to have a regular podcast, video blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.
“X is definitely high on the fashion/music tip, where I tend to be a little more savvy on different apps and such. But we complement each other well, an ‘iron sharpens iron’ type thing,” KJ said. “And when I saw the competition he’s up against I thought he really brought a creative edge to what he does that I didn’t see in some of the others. I think he’s going to knock it out of the park.”
And although he’s often pegged as a “hip hop guy,” X appears to be a man who is well rounded and passionate about specific social causes and issues.
From the stage, viewers might notice his TWLOHA t-shirt (from To Write Love On Her Arms, a non-profit organization which aims to present hope for people struggling with self injury, thoughts of suicide, depression, and addiction) or his REVOLUTION forearm tattoo (with the letters EVOL –backwards LOVE – shaded in red.) Offstage, they may know him from his over nine years of mentoring youth through engagements and entertainment outlets such as The Bridge Youth Center, Life Skills (Charter) High School and juvenile detention facilities.
“He's a real interesting cat, not some monotonous drone reading from cue cards or talking about stuff that he doesn't know anything about,” Kansas based rapper Cash Hollistah said. “His musical palette is diverse too. Not just hip-hop, but indie, folk, rock, whatever. He's that dude!”
X sounds like he’s looking forward to using his potential MTV platform to challenge his audience to also be activists for change.
“Knowing where I came from and the roots of what I saw and observed as a kid, I always want to be able to give back and show that I’ve been able to come out of that and be successful and not let my environment influence who I am,” X said.
You can follow DJ X on Twitter @officialdjx and vote for him in MTV’s Search for the First TJ online challenges on Facebook until July 20, 2010.