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June 26th 1972
August 21st 2021
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Our Personal Story
September 1, 2021
n Memory of…. Rodrick Wimberley
The well known and much loved DJ of the nightclub, Razzles, computer engineer at the Department of Defense, US Marine, fraternal brother of Alpha Phi Alpha, alumnus of Virginia State University, business owner of Miami Cafe and Lounge, family member, friend, and most devoted love one of many.
Our Personal Story
In honor of my friend, Rodrick Wimberley
Rod aka DJ El Duro, and I first met in 2003 at the Razzles Nightclub inside the Best Western Inn on Midlothian Turnpike. This was where Rod DJ-ed every Wednesday night for three consistent years. He only came in late one night due to another obligation. He requested that I assist with teaching his salsa lesson scheduled early in the evening before the nightclub officially started the party. I was honored, but quite nervous to say the least. I had been dancing a little while and was confident in my dancing, but I wasn’t quite ready to teach salsa to others. All in all I think it went pretty well. My small class praised my efforts. Rod was quite appreciative of me stepping that night and our friendship continued to grow from there. As time progressed,Razz
les became THE Latin spot to party mid-week. It grew from only a few dozen people to hundreds of people by 2005. Rod stated one night that we had over 700 people in the place! It was amazing to me to see the growth over time. I love the spot so much I only missed one Wednesday night in a three year time period. I supported DJ El Duro's efforts every week, because I believed in what he was doing, and it brought great joy to everyone who was there. I became known as the woman who danced next to the DJ booth, because I was always dancing and talking with my DJ friend in between sets. He even allowed me to make several DJ requests throughout the night, which was simply unheard of in the salsa world. He would play songs like Bemba Colora by Celia Cruz even though it wasn't popular in the nightclub scene. It was the little things like that which made me and others feel very special in his presence. In my objective opinion, El Duro was the best Latin DJ in the Richmond area, because he knew how to "read" a room well, and he played phenomenal music according to the energy of the room. He loved merengue and bachata personally, but he also played salsa, rumba, reggaeton, and other styles of Latin music for the various cultures that were represented in the room.
Photo Credit: Judy Edwards
Rod aka “DJ El Duro” hosted the 1st Razzles reunion in 2017 to celebrate the old times. It was so much fun seeing some of the Razzles veterans from years before (2003-2006) Many of us continued to enjoy dancing together ever since those Razzle days. We went to countless different places with different kinds of music and atmospheres as a community in small and large groups.
Rod introduced me to another favorite spot called Havana Village in DC. There was always good vibes in the place, everybody danced together with smiling faces. They played a lot of Cuban rumba-type music and they often had a live band. We always had a great time dancing and hanging out there. He didn't drink alcohol, but he always maintained a natural high and it permeated every dance floor he was on.
Zanzibar nightclub in DC I believe was a common favorite for both of us. I remember vividly one night we were being bullied on the dance floor by another couple of dancers who seemed to want to dominate our space. We were simply not having it. lol This place was always packed, but we knew this particular couple were purposely bumping into us every chance they got. So we bumped back and refused to move from our space on the dance floor. They soon got the message and we proceeded to enjoy our night like nothing happened. Overall it was a fun place to be with lots of friendly people and great salsa music.
In Newport News, VA there were two particular Latin spots we frequented, The Alley and the Amadeus nightclub. I will never forget the time there was a man smoking a cigarette on the dance floor and my beautiful powder blue sheer material skirt connected with the butt of his cigarette while Rod and I were dancing. The howl from my mouth was so loud, and reflecting back it was quite hilarious. I had a good size hole in my skirt. Both Rod and I were pissed with the man for a few minutes, but it didn't ruin the night. I think I had extra clothes in the car for a quick change of outfits. lol
At the Alley, Rod had a good DJ friend, DJ Nene who played salsa and other Latin music. DJ Nene would play songs like “Enamorarme” and another merengue song I can’t remember the name of now, but the horns went “brrrmp brrrrmp brdadadump badumpdumpdumpd
ump….” We would crack up laughing every time, because DJ Nene was guaranteed to play those favorites every time we came like clockwork.
In 2016, KRS came to VSU to speak and he later performed at Richmond at Centre Stage. We left VSU feeling enlightened, having long discussions about what KRS-1 had taught. We couldn’t wait to go to the concert later that week. As serious hiphop heads, Rod and I both loved bopping to old classics like "Black Cop" and "The Bridge is Over" by KRS-1.
After the KRS-1 speech, I got the privilege to view Rod’s beautiful restaurant and lounge in nearby Petersburg, VA. It had previously operated in 2011, and Rod had plans to reopen the place for Latin nights and other music. Since 2016 when I first saw the place, I had been waiting and hoping to see his dreams come to fruition. I pray a family member or friend follows through with his vision one day.
Our stories seemed to be endless over the course of 17 years of friendship. Not just in the salsa scene, but we developed a true friendship outside of the salsa scene as well. We confided in one another and shared life events together. Every birthday and holiday we connected on some level. We just vibed very well as we both loved to joke, laugh, dance and listen to music. Two “crabs” in a pod you can say, since we were both of the Cancer zodiac sign. His high-pitched giggly laugh and weekly harassing prank calls were hilarious. He was extremely silly most of the time, and he was a very loving, affectionate person. He loved his family and close friends, his dogs, and his own nightclub. Observing him with others, I noticed he made everyone feel loved and special in their own way. He was never too good to dance with or speak with anyone. What I remember most is how passionate he was about his music. It was like a fine art to him and he painted the canvas beautifully every Latin night.
In memory of my awesome unforgettable friend, Rod!
“Rest easy and fly high!!!”
-DiSheka Miller/”Author Kharisma”
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