RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - City Council member Michael Jones of the 9th District has proposed an ordinance to rename the South Side Community Center to the “Lonnie Battle Community Center” after Lonnie Battle, also known as DJ Lonnie B.
“We’re introducing an ordinance that will seek to change the name of the South Side Community Center to the Lonnie Battle Community Center," said city councilman Michael Jones.
The hip-hop icon Battle, grew up in the South Side 9th District.
“It was totally unexpected. Usually when things like this happen, it’s usually when someone pass away or things in that nature," said Lonnie Battle. “When they told me they we’re they were thinking about changing the name, the first thing that went through my mind was ‘how can I use my platform and my ability to help?’”
Over 20 years ago, Lonnie started his DJ-ing career at J.L. Francis Elementary School and from there, he has traveled around the world making his mark in hip-hop as a national DJ.
“Without Richmond recreation and parks, I wouldn’t be the guy who I am," said Battle.
“Typically, the people we recognize, they’ve gone to college, and now there lawyers, doctors, politicians, and preachers," said Jones. "We rarely lift the guy up who came out the streets.”
Lonnie has not only made his mark in the music community, but he’s been an example as a survivor. Lonnie beat stage-one cancer.
“I think God works in mysterious ways. I felt like because I had such a huge platform, it was an opportunity for me to share my story," said Battle.
“He battled cancer and kicked cancer’s behind," said Jones. "He is an awesome family man and that’s what I want residents from the 9th District and South Side to see.”
With Lonnie being a product of the community, Jones believes the change will help the city connect with more young people.
“He’s not this figure who is 80, 90 years old. He’s not dead in the grave somewhere. This is someone who my young people can be able to come down and see," said Jones.
Lonnie doesn’t care what the outcome will be during the proposal, he’s just honored for the opportunity.
“Whether it goes through or not, I’m still passionate about wanting to come over here and to see how I can play a role and do things for the community," said Battle.