bae bae: an afropunk dj mix
August 2, 2019
There’s a reason this phenomenal mix from the Los Angeles DJ who calls herself BAE BAE, is a little different from the average set of bangers you’d expect to click “Play” on. That’s because BAE BAE’s beat activism works on numerous levels: she constructs safer spaces around LA’s queer, Black, indigenous and POC party scene; she processes how such changes and practices affect culture as a Media Arts PhD student (check her @NegressMag feed); and best of all for you, the listener, she backs up her rhetoric with tunes, music that, in her own words, “highlights the divine feminine.” It’s the sound of the diaspora from every side of the Black Atlantic, but also in love with the club life of Black America. And it’s sexy AF, full of longing and groove and feeling.
We can’t wait to see what you all will think of BAE BAE’s performances at AFROPUNK Brooklyn and at AFROPUNK After Dark. And we couldn’t wait to hear what BAE BAE thought she was getting into — so we asked her about it, among other things.
Can you identify some of the music on the mix? What does the music mean/represent for you?
This mix consists of some edits I made, combining tarraxinha, dancehall, UK funky and afrobeats, with some of my favorite musicians like Adina Howard, Lauryn Hill and Rico Nasty. I like to draw connections between Black femme musicians of the past and today. Our voices have always been central to the evolution of music. Our influence and presence is often downplayed. I am actively pushing against that. I’ve included some of my fav artists in this mix, including Capital Kaos, Marcy Chin, Hardhouse Banton, Teni, NEWBODY and Dave Quam.
How did you first get into DJing, and who are some of your influences?
I have a chronic spinal disability that is painful and keeps me up at night. Clubbing and DJing became a way to process my pain and heal, by connecting with community. I am inspired by DJs such as BEARCAT, Nídia, Jasmin Infiniti, Honey Dijon, Venus X, and Haram. I love how bold their music choices are, and how they contribute to the creation of unique subcultures. They’re also all fucking queens.
What kind of music do you want to or expect to play at AFROPUNK?
I play music so femmes can feel sexy. That is always my priority. This mix represents some of my favorite genres, all that hold African rhythms as central.
What are you most looking forward to at AFROPUNK Brooklyn?
Getting to vibe with the talented artists who are playing and attending. Seeing the looks folks are gonna be pulling. Pulling a look or two myself.
What does the phrase “We See You” mean to you?
To be recognized and affirmed outside of capitalist and gendered hierarchies. To be accountable to one another in a way that falls outside of capitalist modes of exchange.
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