Join us for a monthly roundtable discussion with DC Oral History Collaborative project directors, narrators, and interviewers.
July’s Coffee Chat will feature The Anthology of Booty DJ crew oral history project participants – DJ Natty Boom, Mothersheister, Kristy la rAt, and dj bent.
The Anthology of Booty is a DJ crew in Washington, DC seeking to create unique and welcoming social spaces. Our crew is a mix of people from many different backgrounds, and we’re painfully aware of how social spaces like dances, clubs, and bars have been used to keep people apart and maintain social dynamics such as racism, misogyny, and homophobia. We are committed to resisting these negative forces by creating spaces for dancing, community-building, kickin’ it, and art with an emphasis on inclusion and respect. Queer communities and chosen families and friends, where people of color, femmes, immigrants and nerds like us are centered.
Our Oral History Project
We envisioned a VH1 circa 1990s “Behind the Booty” look at what shaped our evolution as DJs, party throwers, and a DJ collective/crew. We seek to document the dynamic shifts in D.C. social spaces from the mid-2000s to the present, focusing on nightclubs, bars, dancehalls, and house parties, by gathering first-person oral histories of our crew and the communities we serve. One goal of our project is to explore how historical patterns of segregation played out in nightlife spaces (including house parties, art studios, bars, and nightclubs) based on race, class, sexual orientation, and gender identity. In turn we ask how spaces were considered “safe” or not, and how this has shifted as D.C. has changed. There is rich cultural, political, and historical texture to explore in our local landscape: from massive closing of primarily LGBTQ+ clubs to make way for the baseball stadium, to bans on go-go at clubs, to “guerrilla gay bars.”
While D.C. historical documentation covers both musical and cultural heritage as well as social change and political organizing, not many projects have sought to make connections between these two areas. Central to the praxis of Anthology of Booty is the conceptualization of nightlife social spaces as inherently political sites of social change. This is an underrepresented area in the D.C. historical archive and official discourse about culture and politics. We draw upon the spirit of bars that feared police raids and dances that sought to hide from mobs. But the at-times clandestine nature of this work should not hide it from historical documentation.
ASL interpretation will be provided.