Welcome to Deep in the Heart of Dallas! Our latest series, focuses on sharing the stories of the Dallas Black community, follows local creatives through the city to learn about favorite spots, must-taste foodie finds and how the city inspires their work. Today, we're featuring Chris McKnight – better known as M*Knight.
M*Knight is a Jackson, Miss. native, but has lived in Dallas half of his life. As a DJ, photographer, and visual artist, his talents continue to evolve – just like this city! Let's take a deep dive into M*Night's story!
Tell us about your journey to Dallas and how you tapped into your creativity.
I moved to Dallas in 1999. I've always been a creative to a degree, but I've always kept it to myself for the most part. Back in college I would host parties, but my DJ was always late so I learned how to DJ playing music before he arrived. I quit DJing when I moved to Dallas, but started back up after a friend, Frances Jaye, gave me a shot and it's been going on ever since.
Photography came from the fact that I like opening for other people when I DJ. Playing opening sets gave me time later to sit there and do nothing. I had a camera, and I started shooting pictures in the club, which evolved into walking shoots, then evolved into adding elements of fashion, and so on.
What makes Dallas home?
Only since I've been here have I met people that have pushed me to be creative like Hance Taplin of By Way of Dallas when I made T-shirts and sold them at Centre. And people like Frankie with FGIII who pushed me to do the show at Canvas. I appreciate people that I meet like that, that say 'hey if you want to do it we believe in you; we support you.' I was born in Mississippi, but I was made in Dallas.
Describe your perfect day in Dallas.
Sleep late. Brunch around 11 a.m. at Nova or Henry's Majestic. I'd like to go to some kind of art event. I follow Daisha who has Black Sheep Art Culture and she's really good about pointing out the art events that go on. The last one I went to was the closing of the Tellin' Our Own Story Exhibition at Neighborhood Store in the Design District. There were six Black female artists featured and my friend Ace was DJing. Then I might hit up a day party of some sort. I would probably eat again, maybe at Lounge Here.
Where are your favorite places to eat in Dallas?
Tell us about a neighborhood you love.
If I want to go look at houses, I'm going to Kessler Park. I like neighborhoods that were built between the 60s and early 70s. I love mid-century modern design. My dream house has always been a large ranch style, mid-century modern home.
What's your go-to place to take out-of-towners?
I like taking people at least on a drive by Big-T Plaza. There are certain Dallas landmarks you have to know about, so I like taking people to The Cedars because you really have to let people see the Dallas skyline. Then, I'd take them to Klyde Warren Park to round out the day.
What is your favorite Dallas memory?
That's a tough one. I have a lot. They usually involve random celebrities and random events. Everything's a blur. I would say nights at PM Lounge, which was built into the bottom of The Joule. Erykah Badu had an event there, and I DJed for Ludacris there too; I've had a lot of good times.
What are you looking forward to in 2021?
I really just want to progress with the art I'm trying to create and keep moving forward. I just want to do things that make me happy.
To learn more about M*Knight, and what he's up to in Dallas, follow @M_Knight77 on Instagram.