As the artist himself would say, ”They didn’t want us to win,” and have an amazing night with DJ Khaled, but we did, and ORANGE got full coverage.
By Ethan Elkins
I was at Gordough’s on South Lamar Boulevard on Thursday when I received a text from a friend instructing me to check DJ Khaled’s Snapchat story. His story revealed he was in Austin for SXSW, and that he was having a surprise fan meet-up at the Urban Outfitters on Guadalupe Street.
My friends and I rushed to Space 24 Twenty, the venue in between the men’s and women’s Urban Outfitters. We inspected the line of people that stretched from the women’s store to what used to be Mellow Mushroom Pizza. An Urban Outfitters employee explained to us that the line was for a wristband that guaranteed access into a secret event that Khaled “may or may not be attending.” Nevertheless, I had hope, and I decided to brave the line.
After an hour, we were finally granted access into the store and given a wristband that read, “Calvin Klein x URBAN OUTFITTERS.” Separated from my friends, I stood alone in an overwhelming sea of people who were all awaiting Khaled’s potential arrival. Twenty minutes later, DJ Khaled finally arrived. The commotion he caused could be compared to that of a crowd being graced with the arrival of Pope Francis. He entered through the front door, and trudged through the crowd accompanied by his security detail, all while posting on his own Snapchat story. He went behind the check-out counter while the crowd shouted his name. His security detail and the manager of Urban Outfitters led him to a room in the back of the store and instructed all of the bystanders to make their way to the outdoor stage.
The crowd surrounded the stage and was greeted by a member of Khaled’s entourage, rapper Justine Skye, who encouraged everyone to “go crazy.” Ten minutes later, Khaled appeared and greeted his fans with his famous phrase, “They don’t want us to win, so we gonna win more!” His appearance was brief, and an Urban Outfitters employee came on stage to explain that there were three busses on San Antonio Street awaiting those who received a wristband. She claimed Khaled would be on one of the three busses. My intuition told me to go with the second bus.
On the bus I was greeted with pizza, drinks and Khaled himself. “They don’t want us to have fun,” he said as everyone cheered for his Snapchat story. We made our way through downtown, and after many twists and turns, the bus came to a halt in front of the South Congress Hotel. After exiting the bus, we were led to the back of the hotel where an incredible party room was set up.
The event was being thrown by Calvin Klein to promote their exclusive new line for Urban Outfitters, and Khaled was the guest of honor. The room was covered in photos for the brand’s new womenswear campaign. There were neon signs that read “CALVIN KLEIN x Urban Outfitters,” and “I Austin in #mycalvins.” The DJ and music producer came on stage, and performed several of his songs for the raging crowd. Khaled left after his performance and was replaced on stage by Aluna Francis, the singer of the electronic duo Alunageorge, who was rocking a Calvin Klein bra. As soon as she exited the stage, Young Thug came out and took over the night for the next hour with his most popular songs.
The evening was full of surprises and was an example of how unpredictable SXSW can be, almost as unpredictable as the remarkable DJ Khaled himself.