I’m in the Band ✕ D.C.: The Social Power of Music, Episode 2: Anthology of Booty
Editor’s note: I’m in the Band is a podcast hosted and co-produced by Bratmobile and riot grrrl co-founder Allison Wolfe. Each episode explores an artist’s journey through personal history, coming to consciousness, creative process, and cultural activism.
In conjunction with the D.C.: The Social Power of Music program presented by the 2019 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, I’m in the Band presents a special two-part podcast series highlighting the contributions of two women’s DJ collectives based in Washington, D.C.
In the first episode of this special series for Smithsonian Folklife, we heard about the First Ladies DJ Collective and its groundbreaking activities within the Washington, D.C., music scene of the aughts. We now crossfade to a women’s DJ collective that built upon the intersectional feminist work of its predecessors to carry the torch further. Anthology of Booty emerged around 2010 with the express purpose of creating safe, liberating social spaces for self-expression and human connection.
With DJing as its medium, Anthology of Booty put on jam-packed, uplifting dance nights that brought together traditionally marginalized groups of people to celebrate and build community. The do-it-yourself collective members aimed to blur the line between the DJ and the dance floor and create something bigger than one night or their individual selves.
When I lived in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of Washington, D.C., I got to know several of these movers and shakers through our mutual participation in Radio CPR, a radical, low-power community radio station. I also rode my old cruiser bike to some of the crazy house parties described in this episode, and I wiggled my way through the buoyant crowd at several of the parties these DJs put on around town. What struck me most was the pure joy and love shared among this close-knit group of friends and how their camaraderie translated so seamlessly into cultural activism. There most definitely was dancing at their revolution.
While Anthology of Booty no longer throws regular parties, the collective energy continues to course through the veins of its busy members’ lives and activities. For ten years running, Anthology of Booty DJs have joined forces with the seminal lesbian DJ crew She Rex and former members of First Ladies to put on “Booty Rex,” an annual bash for Capital Pride week. Many of these DJs have volunteered at Girls Rock! DC, a rock camp for building self-esteem in young girls. The inspiring collective members have also pursued careers in community-based education, urban planning, human rights advocacy, and other forms of cultural work.
In this final episode of I’m in the Band’s special two-part series, Anthology of Booty DJs Ebony Dumas (DJ Natty Boom), Kristy Chavez-Fernandez (Kristy la rAt), and Darby Hickey (DJ Bent) discuss the experiences that shaped their lives and brought them together to create spaces of cultural expression within the broader do-it-yourself D.C. music community.
Allison Wolfe is an arts journalist, musician, and riot grrrl based in Los Angeles, California.
The First Ladies to Anthology of Booty: Women DJ Collectives in D.C. discussion took place at Lost Origins Gallery on August 8, 2019, in conjunction with Antonia Tricarico’s exhibition Frame of Mind: Punk Photos and Essays from Washington, DC, and Beyond, 1997–2017. This project received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.