Posted: December 8, 2015 at 2:14 pm
By DJ Deskins, Tim Doney and Joel Jarvis
The plan had slowly developed for Dollar Agbemadon, and West Virginia provided him with an opportunity to pursue his passion.
Dollar hails from Accra, Ghana, the country’s capitol, and was born to entrepreneurial and self-employed parents, Joseph and Monique. Literally named after the money by his father, the senior’s place in the Business and Economics College at WVU comes as no surprise.
“Coming from a family of entrepreneurs I have that spirit of going out there, getting it, hustling, getting things done and coordinating a team,” Dollar said. “I’ve always had that business drive in me.”
In middle school, he was forced to take music classes and tried instruments like the trumpet, which wasn’t suited for him. It wasn’t until he visited his brother Folly at college in France that he was first exposed to a turntable.
After returning to school, Dollar was told to write a paper on three things he wanted to be when he grew up. First, a doctor, second, a game designer and third, a disc jockey. The five minutes he had spent with the vinyl record at his brother’s apartment impacted him so much that a future with it rivaled aspirations to work in medicine.
Dollar wouldn’t do any DJ-ing for almost four or five years, but music remained a large part of his life during that time period. He connected with old school hip-hop and rap more than any other genre.
“Several artists like Kurtis Blow and Run DMC really influence me,” Dollar said. “That was the start of hip-hop. That’s what gets me going.”
Dollar attended an international high school, which provides a similar experience to the American high school lifestyle. In 2010, he started DJ-ing his school’s picnics and dances and developing a love affair with the art.
“I didn’t really know what I was doing,” Dollar said. “I started from the grassroots. I was still learning, but they say practice makes perfect.”
Several of his friends had come to WVU for school and told him it was a place to look into. After the university offered him a scholarship, he enrolled in the spring semester of 2012.
He became very involved with the local community in Morgantown and used the connections he made to offer his services for future events. People liked his selection of music and how he performed and started to put him in touch with their friends for other events.
Over the summer, his sister Vivian helped him purchase his first DJ equipment and he spent hours practicing to become better at his craft. He made mixes and started sending them to people around Morgantown.
“This is what I like doing,” Dollar told the recipients. “Let me know what you think, give me feedback.”
In the Fall of 2012, he started performing at student tailgates, but the following year he described himself as a fulltime DJ.
“I’m here for school, so my first priority is academics,” Dollar said. “If I need to do two or three hours of homework one night so I have my weekends free to DJ, I’ll do that.”
Dollar’s brand was trending in Morgantown and he was becoming a household name at WVU. In late August, he was performing at a back-to-school barbeque for the Center for Black Culture, but said he could feel someone looking over his shoulder.
Markeisha Everett had taken notice of Dollar from a couple of other events and when she finally could talk with him, she invited him to her office to discuss an opportunity.
Everett was the Director of Athletic Marketing for WVU and responsible for marketing, promotion and in-game entertainment for events at the Coliseum.
“I thought, ‘I wonder if West Virginia would respond well with having a DJ?,’” Everett said. “I heard of a couple events around campus and they both featured Dollar as a DJ.”
Everett decided to check Dollar out and liked his focus and poise enough to offer him the role as the school’s official DJ.
“What I liked most is that he was actually spinning,” Everett said. “You don’t see a lot of DJ’s today that actually spin, but he was doing his thing right there.”
Dollar couldn’t turn down the opportunity to perform in the Coliseum, particularly for men’s basketball games.
“I had been to so many basketball games since freshman year,” Dollar said. “I’m the first DJ to ever DJ in the Coliseum since it was built in 1970. That was the one moment I couldn’t believe. It was more than a dream come true.”
Dollar understands he needs to have options once he graduates. He can find a job with his degree, start a business with his DJ-ing, return to Ghana and take over the family business, or attend grad school.
His dream is to keep performing, but he takes all of his options seriously. He hopes his hard work will allow everything to pan out in front of him so all he has to do is pick which path to take.