DJ Vernon English shares the legacies of Zana Smith and Amp Fiddler in Detroit

DJ Vernon English shares the legacies of Zana Smith and Amp Fiddler in Detroit
Photo courtesy of Drake Phifer

DJ Vernon English is a mixer based in the city of Detroit. English will be present at the Detroit Diaspora: Day Party Is King event on May 29, which will highlight a lineup of exquisite musicians and will feature electronic music that fits the model of the dance music most popular in the city.

English talked with rolling out about Detroit Diaspora, and his time as a DJ in the city.

What is the importance of the Detroit Diaspora to the city?

This event has been going on for approximately four years if you take out the COVID years. It’s a celebration that takes place during the holiday weekend. A lot of people know about the music festival activities, but this is really geared towards the culture. We want to entertain those folks that want something a little bit different, something with a little more history behind it something with a vibe and some soul.

What is your history with Zana Smith and Amp Fiddler?

Zana is definitely one of the staples of the city of Detroit. I met her back in the 80s. She used to have parties at a downtown venue, and they were classic. A lot of people may know Zana from her store, Spectacles, which has been around forever for decades. Zana is one of the first supporters of a lot of the designers that came from the city of Detroit. She supported a lot of the hip-hop community when it really wasn’t even a hip-hop community. She’s always been very instrumental in the cultural, music, and fantasy scene, as well as being an entrepreneur.

From a musical standpoint, as we all know, Amp Fiddler is our modern-day George Clinton wizardry, if you will. He works with everybody. He is an excellent musician, super funky, and does a lot of different genres. He’s touched a lot of music that a lot of people may not even know that he’s behind it.

How has it been deejaying in the city of Detroit?

I started deejaying in the ’80s, and it has been an avenue for me that has really allowed me to learn a lot. I have traveled the world, and done events nationally and internationally all through DJing. I have met some of the most wonderful folks and lifelong friends. Prior to deejaying, I also was a musician, and I still write and do a little production work. The city of Detroit is rich in musical history and culture, and those threads run really deep, and it’s still like that. Within the city of Detroit, you have some of the best DJs in the nation. That’s not just house music and hip-hop music, but it’s a little bit of everything. A lot of that comes from the diversity of the music in the city itself, so if you can really cut your chops here, you could travel anywhere and do your thing.

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