They are called Demonlow Studios.
They are young artists and entrepreneurs who have come together to bring music to Staten Island.
“There really isn’t a studio that we can rely on to do our thing,” said co-founder Dennis Richardson. “In terms of community, it’s really for them to have a place where they feel comfortable having a place to express themselves. Through music, through art.
“Family vibe, just one with a bit of rage in it, can you feel me? Demonlow is for the people,” said co-founder Sonny D’usse.
For this group, music and community go hand in hand. In the summer, they helped organize a Black Lives Matter rally on Hylan Boulevard that was attended by over 10,000 people. And they organized a holiday toy drive.
“We felt really good that we were able to motivate and help people to come out and support and share a voice,” Richardson said.
Richardson said it was about having a positive influence on the community.
“Where we come from, there’s not a lot of positive motivation. We can show people who can connect with us that we’re giving them a chance to see that they can do things differently,” Richardson explained. .
This became even more significant when a member of their Demonlow family was shot and killed at the Van Duzer Street studio.
In January, Richardson and others were together at the studio when an unidentified gunman walked in and killed 23-year-old Jahade Chancey.
“That day, Jan. 16, went from just an ordinary day to one of the worst days of our lives,” Richardson said.
Jahade’s family and friends called him “panda”.
“What the animals symbolize, it all makes sense, a loving, one-of-a-kind creature. It suits her,” Richardson said.
Jahade’s mother, Lashon Stockton, said it was still too difficult for her to talk about her son. She sent NY1 a letter saying, “Jahade would help seniors, volunteer for youth programs, anything to support individuals. My son loved to entertain. His heart and soul were good.”
An inquest into Jahade’s death is ongoing. There were no arrests and the studio has since been closed. It was difficult for the members to be there. For now, they are working from home and plan to open another site soon.
“After something so tragic, we can still go on, we can always try to move on and do more things. It can give people a lot of inspiration by opening a studio. If we could just help a few kids, maybe change their perspective on how they live, how they move around, we’re going to take that,” Richardson said.
Richardson and the rest of Demonlow say they vow to make the studio a success in honor of their friend.