62 views 8 mins 0 comments

Johnny Hurd, local figure in 18th and Vine two-stepping scene, dies at 67

In World
May 20, 2024

Deaunte Thomas has painted many tribute portraits in his time as a professional artist. For him, helping bring some comfort to the family of someone who recently died is one of the best parts of his job. His most recent portrait of Johnny Hurd will be different for him, this one he is painting to comfort himself.

Hurd and Thomas were friends who met through their passion for two stepping, a popular partnering dance in Kansas City’s Black community

Hurd, a contractor for SE3 Group and father, died April 27, at the age of 67 in a car accident.

Thomas remembers, as a young man ready to enter the KC two-steppers scene, just how scary a notion of stepping on the dance floor was. He says Hurd was a popular figure who always caught the attention of everyone present.

“I kind of knew of Johnny before I ever technically met him,” said Thomas. “When you are starting off you have to watch guys, and Johnny was one of those guys to watch.”

Thomas began learning to two-step in 2019 and while it began as a fun past time to impress the ladies, it soon became a serious hobby that he became enamored with. Initially he only saw two-stepping as a dance for older Black people, but members of the community, like Hurd, encouraged him to keep at it.

“Johnny will be known as a two-stepping pioneer who really helped transcend two stepping and help bring younger people into the scene,” Thomas said.

Tribute portrait of Johnny Hurd painted by Deaunte Thomas.

Tribute portrait of Johnny Hurd painted by Deaunte Thomas.

Those who knew Hurd well said they are still in shock over his sudden death. Many already feel the void in the KC 2-steppers scene.

Drevantae Dixon, 31, was another person who Hurd took under his wing while the young aspiring two-stepper was finding his footing on the dance floor. Dixon believes that the scene has lost one of its most influential figures.

Dixon started his journey into two-stepping after outgrowing the nightclub and party scenes he had been into while in his mid-20s. He said that having an older and respected member of the two-step community see the potential in him and his skills as a dancer, was encouraging.

“Johnny came up to me and made me feel good about trying to get out there as a two-stepper,” said Dixon. “He would always tell me to get out there, show them what I can do and to always dance with confidence.”

Hurd, who was born in St. Louis, called Kansas City home for 32 years. Anyone who frequented the various two-stepping venues around town, such as the Juke House, knew Hurd. His captivating dance moves earning him the nick name, “Two-Stepping Johnny.”

“Everybody knew Uncle Johnny, people would get off the floor just to watch him and his wife dance,” says Dixon, who works as supervisor for the Division of Youth Services. “Anyone who has been two-stepping for some years knew him because he made his presence known with his style and how charismatic he was as a person.”

Johnny Hurd with his wife and two-stepping partner, Leona Hurd. He was known as a pioneer in Kansas City’s two-stepping dance scene

Johnny Hurd with his wife and two-stepping partner, Leona Hurd. He was known as a pioneer in Kansas City’s two-stepping dance scene

Many people posted messages on social media expressing their sadness about Hurd’s death.

“It’s not goodbye, but I’ll see you later Unc Johnny Hurd,” on person wrote.

“RIH Johnny Hurd. Brother it’s still unbelievable. You will be missed.” wrote another.

“This past weekend, Kansas City loss one of its 2-step ambassadors (Uncle Johnny Hurd).”

“I can’t sleep. I’m just so heartbroken about my big bro Johnny Hurd. Just seems so unreal.”

Hurd was known from more than his dance moves. He also had a noted fashion sense and was known too for having a personality and energy that brought people together.

Thomas and Dixon credit Hurd with a introducing two-stepping to a younger generation of dancers. He became the friendly uncle within the world of KC two-steppers and was never above taking some time to instill his knowledge to someone willing to learn.

Thomas said that he and the others who learned from “the master,” will make sure to pass along his teachings, on the dance floor and on life.

Hurd is remembered by his wife, Leona Hurd; his seven children, five siblings, and a host of grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

Other Remembrances

Jeffrey Wright, supervisor for Kansas City Public Works, died May 10. He was 60.

Jeffrey Wright, supervisor for Kansas City Public Works, died May 10. He was 60.

Jeffrey Wright

Jeffrey Wright, supervisor for Kansas City Public Works, died May 10. He was 60.

Wright was born on Jan. 17, 1964, in Kansas City to Leon and Kathleen Wright.

He graduated from Southeast High School and went to work at the Kansas City Public Works Department as an operation supervisor. He worked for the organization for more than 20 years and was a member of the Kansas City Local 500 union.

Wright had been very close to his mother, deceased, and was a self proclaimed “Mama’s boy.” He will be remembered for his love of music, cooking and video games.

He will be remembered by his son, Leon Rush; along with a host of uncles, cousins and friends.

Joel Wrenn, wife and nurse, died April 24. She was 81.

Joel Wrenn, wife and nurse, died April 24. She was 81.

Joel Wrenn

Joel Wrenn, wife and nurse, died April 24. She was 81.

Wrenn was born on Feb. 26, 1943 in McAlester, Oklahoma to Richard and Inex Porter. She was the oldest of her parents’ three children and graduated high school in 1960.

While attending nursing school she met Dr. Thomas Wrenn, DDS and the couple were married. Though the pair did not have any children of their own, Wrenn helped to raised many nieces and nephews. She will be remembered for her love of music, cooking, fishing and spending time with her family.

She is survived by her siblings, Margie Porter, Beverly Porter Hale, Debra Porter Hendricks, Cheri Porter and Richard Watlington; along with a host of cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

EMEA Tribune is not involved in this news article, it is taken from our partners and or from the News Agencies. Copyright and Credit go to the News Agencies, email news@emeatribune.com Follow our WhatsApp verified Channel210520-twitter-verified-cs-70cdee.jpg (1500×750)

Support Independent Journalism with a donation (Paypal, BTC, USDT, ETH)
whatsapp channel
Avatar
/ Published posts: 30897

The latest news from the News Agencies