West Baltimore street renamed for former 92Q radio personality DJ Reggie Reg. (Video by Algerina Perna/Baltimore Sun)
In the basement of his grandmother's light-colored brick rowhome on North Payson Street in West Baltimore, Reginald Calhoun would spin records on his first set of turntables.
Sometimes, spectators hit their heads on the low ceiling, but they always enjoyed the show, his sister, Betty Covington, said Saturday afternoon outside the home.
She and Calhoun's daughter were preparing for an afternoon block party to honor her brother, better known as DJ Reggie Reg, a popular former 92Q radio personality who died of congestive heart failure in February.
At the event, a new red street sign was unveiled at 1800 N. Payson St., renaming it "DJ Reggie Reg Way."
The block where he grew up quickly filled with fans who came out to honor him and what he had done to promote Baltimore music.
"I'm hoping we can bring the community together. This is to let people know good things are happening in Baltimore City," Covington said.
The house where she and her brother grew up is one of several now boarded up with weathered plywood. It is just blocks from the intersection of Pennsylvania and North avenues, where some of the worst looting and destruction occurred during the rioting in April 2015, and not far from where Freddie Gray was chased by police officers before he sustained a fatal injury while in police custody.
"We just got to do more so they can do better," Covington said of kids in the neighborhood and throughout the city.
Covington, a Baltimore City school police officer, said she knows six students who were lost to violence. She credits her grandparents for her and her brother's success. She said her grandparents always made sure they were working hard to make a better life for themselves.
"We wanted to work hard to get out of the neighborhood," she said.
Covington said their grandparents also encouraged them, including purchasing her brother's first turntables and records so he could develop his passion.
She said she tries to provide the same encouragement for the 25 girls in the Girls Expecting More Success program, which she helped create.
"You can do whatever you want in life. You just have to stick to it," she said.
Her brother showed that. "He's a legend now," she said.
The event drew many from around the neighborhood and the city. Some planted their fold-up lawn chairs on the sidewalk, while others sat on steps along the block and watched DJs perform on a raised stage. Burgers and hot dogs were being dished out under a white tent, along with T-shirts with Reggie Reg's picture.