COVID-19 loaner program helps DJ get back into the mix



GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – DJ Blaze feels at home behind his turntable.

“It’s the ultimate high, when they dance and feel the music,” said the DJ. “I can’t explain this feeling.”

His love of music dates back to the 1980s.

“I used to call the (radio) station and ask Fat Boys and LL Cool J and Salt-N-Pepa,” Blaze said.

The Grand Rapids-based DJ turned that passion into work, but his performances were cut short by COVID-19 closures.

“I was going to do an afterparty for 50 Cent in Las Vegas last year, but the week before I was going to go, the coronavirus hit and all the clubs in Las Vegas have closed,” Blaze said.

Locally, concerts were also drying up.

He contacted the loan company Rende Progress Capital to see if he would qualify for a “Race4Progress” loan. The relief program addresses COVID-19 and exclusion.

“We see in our loan applications and our discussions with business owners of the color that there are many in our portfolio that have gone to other avenues or programs for PPP and have not been approved.” said Eric Foster, president, co-founder and CEO of RPC. “We have a different set of criteria and we are able to help them. Some have come to us because they have been refused by others.

“You are more than a credit score and they looked at everything other than credit,” Blaze said.

The loan program distributed over $ 250,000 to beneficiaries.

“Probably around 15 companies, we’ve deployed around 280,000 (dollars) in our relief loans,” Foster said. “Loans ranging from $ 10,000 to $ 35,000 to help these entrepreneurs of color.”

The loan helps DJ Blaze get new equipment.

“New speakers, new microphones, lights and all types of things,” he says.

He has a busy summer schedule.

“June and July are wedding season,” says Blaze. “Reserved for the entire month of June.”

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