The Talented and Determined Crowd-Motivator
biography by Joyace H. Lopez
ATLANTA – The generation of the 80s knew him as Coolie Bee – a name he gave himself in high school because he thought it was a cool catchy name. These were the days of Confunkshun and Rick James. Born Ellonzo D. Hanks, this would-be internationally-known spinner of reel-to-reels, cassette tapes and top LPs, mixing and scratching tunes from Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” album, could be found at the oddest hours in the basement of his father’s government quarters in Fort Knox, Kentucky hammering, painting and cutting. What was this fella who proudly displayed his freshly-painted black boards with floating records, fists boasting the “peace and brotherhood sign,” and even afros and picks, putting together? With a black light carefully secured to the top of the sign, when the house lights went out, the dancers on the floor got the illusion they were dancin’ in space. It was truly a sight to see. On any given Friday night, Coolie Bee would sneak his father’s “disco lights,” turn-tables and records out of the house, load up the family 1978 Chevy Chevette, and hightail it to the local skating rink to spin tunes and get the party started. Crediting a long-time DJ by the name of “Dr. Feel Good” with garnering Coolie Bee’s interest in spinning the hottest hits in town, in order to strategically get all that stuff out of the house before his father would find out, the “Crew,” initially consisting of two high school chums, was recruited, and Ellonzo D. became Coolie Bee and Crew. At some point, Lonnie’s father had to admit that Coolie Bee, who he affectionately called “Bonzon,” and is resting in peace but influencing Lonnie from the heavenlies, it seems, was his first and only choice to insure the success of any function for which he was hired. Even his self-proclaimed Number 1 Fan, his sister, made absolutely certain Coolie Bee was the sound man and the music man of choice. Not one high school dance, not one Masonic affair, including Kentucky boat rides, Potentate Balls, etc. took it’s proper place in the record books of “successful” without the influence of Coolie Bee and Crew.