My name is DJ Joo. I am 5’6”. And walk the earth like a grateful giant.
While America was celebrating its Bicentennial in the spring of 1976, all 4.3 pounds of me slipped on to this planet in Seoul, South Korea, the desire to meet and embrace all the inhabitants of this vast and mysterious world somehow already coursing through my delicate blue veins.
Within a year, I’d have my first 11,000 miles of travel behind me, as my parents toted me, a couple of travel-battered suitcases, and a mere $1000 to Sao Paulo to begin my second new life. The intrepid attitude of Pamela and Whan Joo, combined with the astonishing warmth and inclusive nature of the Brazilian people, would come to define me.
I grew up in South America among all races and creeds, Portuguese just one of the many languages rising to a chorus on the colorful streets of Sao Paulo, where I learned photography, became a junior table tennis champion, and anticipated my next journey, already beginning to see my life as a story unfolding in specific chapters and places.
I was a Korean infant, a Brazilian boy, and then an American teenager, moving to the northern suburbs of Chicago, where I found myself in a predominately Jewish community, adjusting to another world both foreign and illuminating. I would later attend the University of Illinois, submerging myself in music and film and preparing for my next foray out into the greater world, my lifelong quest for new and profound experiences fueled further by a semester spent in Sevilla, Spain and backpacking Europe, during my junior year.
By the time I graduated, I knew that while my formal education was complete, my quest for knowledge and understanding were only beginning. Spending the formative years of my life surrounded by different kinds of people, philosophies, and ways of life gifted me with a great reverence for the variety and connectedness of all things great and small, and the 21st century has held many new chapters and moments of astonishment and achievement, both personally and professionally.
I have managed to build a strong career as an editor, working with numerous high-end clients, while also traveling to 59 different countries, fulfilling my childhood destiny as a global citizen. I have stood atop Annapurna in the first light of day, awash in grace, and I have knelt at the feet of those in their darkest hour in the Kalighat Home of the Dying and Destitute in India, swathed in humility. From video shoots with celebrities in Manhattan and the Hollywood Hills to teaching orphans in Burma and walking with Buddhist monks in Laos, I have managed to do what my parents always encouraged me to do: everything.
My entire life up until this point, has led me to starting a non-profit organization with my soul brothers called Pass The Beat. The core purpose of Pass The Beat is to develop music education programs for disadvantaged children who reside in places around the world -- such as orphanages and refugee/IDP camps -- where resources for the arts are exceedingly limited, if they exist at all. For more info check out our page.