Queer Chicago musician, producer and DJ Rodney Donovan Taylor, a.k.a. Don Crescendo, was fatally stabbed on the evening of Sept. 12 in his Avondale neighborhood apartment building. He died Sept. 15 at Illinois Masonic Hospital after multiple surgeries and monitoring.
Taylor's death is currently being investigated by Chicago Police Department Area Five Detectives. Her was 28.
Taylor (who used both he/him and they/them pronouns) was born Jan. 15, 1995, in South Carolina, where he spent his youth.
When Taylor moved to Chicago, he became a staple of the city's LGBTQ+ nightlife community, spinning tunes at many bars and nightclubs, including The Whistler and Smartbar. He was known for his edits of Ariana Grande, Charli XCX and Beyonce. Taylor also staged queer nights in Chicago, which he called Late Nite and The Hookup Party.
Taylor's albums as a music producer included 2016's Rough and 2017's Raw and Ready. Last year, Taylor released two singles called "Again" and "Hot Right Now."
A Go Fund Me page was created by close friends and chosen family members Alana Harris and Meredith Wohl to raise money for his funeral and other expenses. As of this publication, the Go Fund Me page has raised almost $53,000 of its $75,000 goal.
In a joint statement on Taylor's Go Fund Me page Harris and Wohl said, "For those of us who knew and loved Donovan, his community spanned across the country and he deeply loved growing roots in Chicago over the past few years. Known to some as his musical alias Don Crescendo, to others as an unforgettably brilliant friend, to his family as a caring oldest son and to everyone as a loving, generous and laughter-inspiring person, Donovan left an indelible impression on everyone he met."
In an Instagram post artist Yves said, "Don was a beautiful and proud black queer person who was very much adored in Chicago. Don was well-known for their charity, dedication to the arts and involvement in the community. They were a prosperous businessperson who enjoyed working on various projects to help poor kids and local artists. Don was a musical genius, a brilliant creative, a personable friend and loving and generous to everyone they encountered. Don volunteered at shows, exhibits, events for the culture, anything for the culture in the Chicago art scene, you name it, Don was there."
Good friend Claire Lucas said in a Facebook post, "His community was far and wide and I am so grateful for the time that I was able to spend with him. We hadn't been very close these past few years, but it was so special to go on trips with him, have him visit us in DC and keep in touch over socials in our earlier twenties … Watching him grow as a musician and build an amazing queer community in Chicago more recently was so cool, and I know he will be severely missed in those spaces."
In a Facebook post, colleague and good friend Vaughn Postema-Swain said, "When [Meredith and Donovan] approached me at College of Charleston and asked me join CisternYard Radio, I did not know how much that would impact my life. … I have to acknowledge and appreciate the role that Donovan played in who I am today. The encouragement was genuine and his love for his friends was unmatched. He had the guts to believe in the bigger picture, even if it wasn't clear in that moment. Thank you, Donovan."
About 50 friends who considered themselves to be Taylor's Chicago chosen family members gathered around a bonfire with memorial candles and flowers on the evening of Sept. 18 at one of his favorite places in the city, Hollywood Beach in Edgewater, to honor his life and contributions to Chicago's LGBTQ+ community.
A funeral service was recently held in South Carolina and a celebration of life ceremony will take place in Chicago. Details TBA.
News coverage at www.windycitytimes.com/lgbt/Chicago-musician-producer-and-DJ-Don-Crescendo-killed-in-Avondale-stabbing/75527.html .
See www.gofundme.com/f/donate-to-donovans-funeral-and-family-costs to make a donation.