Editor’s comment: I’m in the band A podcast directed and co-produced by Broadmobile and Riot Growl co-founder Alison Wolf. Each episode explores an artist’s journey through personal history, coming to consciousness, creative processes, and cultural activism.
In conjunction with this DC: The social power of music Program presented by the 2019 Smithsonian Folklore Festival, I’m in the band Presents a special two-part podcast series featuring the contributions of two female DJ collectives based in Washington, DC
In the first episode of this special series for Smithsonian Folklife, we hear about First Ladies DJ Collective and its groundbreaking activity inside Washington, DC. We have now crossfed towards a women’s DJ Collective that has taken the torch further based on the intersecting feminist work of its predecessors. The anthology of loot originated in 2010 with the clear aim of creating a safe, free social sphere for self-expression and human connection.
As a medium of DJing, Booth’s choreography sets up jam-packed, uplifting dance nights that traditionally bring together marginalized peoples to celebrate and build communities. The goal of the self-employed collective members was to blur the line between the DJ and the dance floor and create something bigger than one night or their own individuality.
When I lived in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, DC, I learned a lot about these movers and shakes through our mutual participation in Radio CPR, a radical, low-powered community radio station. I also rode my old cruiser bike to some of the crazy house parties described in this episode, and I walked my way through the excited crowd at several parties these DJs put around town. What impressed me the most was the sharing of pure joy and love between these friendly groups and how their friendship translates seamlessly into cultural activism. There must have been dancing in their revolution.
Although the anthropology of loot no longer throws up regular parties, the collective force continues to run through the veins of the lives and activities of its busy members. Running for ten years, the anthology of booty DJs has joined seminal lesbian DJ Crew She Rex and former members of First Ladies to hold Capital Pride Week’s annual bash “Booty Rex”. Many of these DJs have volunteered for Girls Rock! DC, a rock camp for young girls to build self-esteem. Inspiring collective members have also pursued careers in community-based education, town planning, human rights advocacy, and other cultural activities.
In this last episode I’m in the bandIn its special two-episode series, Booth’s DJ Ibn Dumas’s Anthology (DJ Nati Boom), Christy Chavez-Fernandez (Christy La Rat), and Derby Hickey (DJ Bent) discuss the experiences that shaped their lives and brought them together at DC Music. The place of cultural expression within the community.
Alison Wolf is an arts journalist, musician and Riot Girl based in Los Angeles, California.
First Ladies to Anthology of Booty: The DC discussion featured female DJ collectives on August 8, 2019 at the Los Origins Gallery at Antonia Trikariko’s exhibition. Frame of Mind: Punk Photos and Essays from Washington, DC and Beyond, 1997-2017. The project is supported by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.