Photo: Johnny Ventura
Dominican singer Johnny Ventura and famous disc jockey John “Jellybean” Benitez, who has worked with artists like Madonna, will be honored on Thursday at the 9th Latin Mixx Conference in New York.
The 74-year-old Ventura will receive a lifetime achievement award for introducing the native merengue sound of the Dominican Republic to countries around the world, conference founder Kevin Montano told Efe.
This is only the second time the organization has bestowed this honor, Montano said.
Benitez will be given the Icon Award by the Latin Mixx Conference.
Panamanian singer-songwriter Ruben Blades received the award last year.
Nearly 300 disc jockeys who work in radio, online and in clubs are attending the conference, which started on Wednesday, in New York.
The event was created “to recognize what Latino DJs have done all year,” Montano said.
Prizes are handed out in 14 categories, including awards for the best DJs on the East Coast, West Coast, Midwest and South, the biggest honors at the even.
Montano, a former teacher, said he created the prizes to honor his cousin, Jason “Threat” Campbell, the first Dominican DJ on popular New York City station Hot 97.
Campbell was killed in a motorcycle accident in 2001, Montano said.
“I felt it was necessary to keep his name and work alive. I created the conference to raise the name of the Latino DJ to another level,” Montano said.