'Boom Box Guy' revealed
In the quad of the Santa Monica College main campus, music can be heard playing from a boom box on the ground with a guy dancing and smiling next to it.
Everyone knows the “Boom Box Guy," a familiar campus figure among students for the past three years. But not everyone knows Manuel Henriquez.
Henriquez, 26, is a graphic design major at SMC who hopes to open his own clothing line one day.
His music-playing actually did not start at SMC, but when he was attending Los Angeles Community College. The response he received for his music at LACC was not the same as the one he now receives at SMC.
“At LACC, no one payed attention to my music," Henriquez says. "But here at SMC, I see that it gets attention, and people love the music.”
Henriquez grew up listening to different styles of music. He listened to heavy metal with his dad and country music with his mom. Listening to both genres was something he enjoyed, and it made him want to explore what else was out there.
With his background, Henriquez came up with the idea of different types of music as an inspiration, the way religions share their beliefs.
SMC student Cindy Martinez, 21, likes the fact that with Henriquez playing his music, the quad is never quiet.
"If he ever leaves, I think I would miss listening to his music and just seeing him stand there," Martinez says. "He has become part of an SMC tradition."
SMC student Leslie Torres, 19, enjoys the unique playlist Henriquez uses to entertain students.
“I like the music he plays," Torres says. "It is every kind you could think of. But what I like most is that he keeps it classic with the boom box.”
By 2008, Henriquez frequently watched MTV, a source he used to discover new music. One day, he saw an MTV store on Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, where he found a shirt he liked and began to wear it in the fall of 2009 while he was out on the quad.
“I thought myself to be [on MTV] since I also represent music,” says Henriquez.
He now has a new MTV T-shirt that he had custom-made last year.
When Henriquez transfers to California State University, Long Beach to continue his education in graphic design, he plans to “retire” from music sharing. He hopes that one day someone will continue his tradition of standing on the SMC quad playing music.
“I am willing to teach the new generation how to control the music so that they could continue on sharing music,” he says. "You need to learn to control your music, like keeping the volume at a good level."
Even though Henriquez became known as the "Boom Box Guy" throughout the SMC community, now students, staff or anyone who passes by can salute him by his name: Manuel Henriquez.