Photo en Une : © FACT magazine

Décidément, les temps sont durs pour la dance music. Après le décès brutal de Philippe Zdar il y a quelques semaines, c'est au tour de Judy Russel, symbole du premier âge d'or de la house new-yorkaise de nous quitter.

À la fin des années 80, elle avait notamment co-fondé le label Nu Groove, à qui l'on doit certains des premiers efforts de Joey BeltramBobby Konders ou des frères Burrell. Elle avait aussi participé au développement du label et distributeur Downtown 161 avec Linda Perrone, qui s'est rendu célèbre pour les fameux EP's The Thing For Linda de Kerri Chandler (1998) et Da Pimpdoggy de DJ Sneak (1995). Grande amie de Larry Levan et arborant régulièrement un T-shirt floqué "Paradise Garage", elle avait dédié sa vie au développement de la house music et la carrière de ses artistes émergents.

En situation de grande précarité financière depuis la fermeture de Downtown 161 en 2013, elle était depuis soutenue par de nombreux amis et figures de la scène locale. Ainsi, Tony Humphries et DJ Spinna avaient récemment organisé une soirée de soutien en son honneur. Son décès tragique, survenu le lendemain du diagnostic d'un cancer du rein particulièrement virulent a été annoncé dans un post Instagram par DJ Scribe, qui avait lancé un crowdfunding pour l'aider à sortir de la rue quelques temps auparavant. Dans ce post, l'artiste s'est d'ailleurs fendu d'un bel hommage, aussi vite relayé par plusieurs acteurs du monde de la nuit, dont les DJ's Honey Dijon et Anthony Parasole. Pour reprendre ses mots, Rest in Paradise, Judy.

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Rest In Paradise! to my dear friend & beloved legend Judy Russell who passed suddenly on Tuesday after going into cardiac arrest just one day after being diagnosed with an advanced malignant tumor on her kidney. From the Paradise Garage to Vinylmania to Movin’ Records to Nu Groove to Downtown, she helped launch many careers & touched many lives with her sharp wit, humility & grumpy charm. When we met she had already fallen on hard times. She’d been out of work for years with health issues & had lost touch with most of her community bc she was ashamed of her situation. Then things got worse. She got very sick, and while in the hospital was evicted by her landlord (illegally) for owing rent. She would spend the next two years in homeless shelters, telling almost no one. Along with Barbie & Paul at Love Injection I did a fundraiser for her to try to help her get back on her feet. During that time her happiest moments were volunteering at the local library (she was a voracious reader), managing my discogs store & working the door at Sutherland. And toward the end, pretending she was working nights so that she could get away and spend the night in a hotel, a brief respite from the prison-like & toxic conditions at the shelter. On May 23 she finally got out for good & moved into her own brand new furnished apartment in the Bronx. She was relieved, overwhelmed & excited to rebuild her life, furnishing the place, & planning to adopt a puppy. Three weeks ago I stopped by to bring her some of her more prized possessions, which I had been keeping safe for her: An original Bugs Bunny film cel, an autographed photo of Cal Ripken Jr., & the poster from her benefit party, signed by her friends. She had just gotten her hair done & she was her usual self, sweet and gruff, and complaining (she hated the Bronx, where she grew up. She moved to Manhattan right after HS and never left). She was wearing a Paradise Garage tee (for my benefit, i think). I knew her re-entry would be rough & she faced challenges. But I never imagined this would be the last I’d see her. We hugged & I promised to visit soon. Love you Judy. I hope you are released from all suffering, dancing in Paradise 4evr

Une publication partagée par ben goldfarb (@djscribe) le 7 Juil. 2019 à 8 :52 PDT