AFRICAN HISTORY’S DJ OF THE WEEK – MISS HONEY DIJON
In the predominantly male world of disc jockeys, Miss Honey Dijon is a striking anomaly. During the 90’s rave scene, only a handful of female DJ’s were making the rounds and I most certainly never saw any black women behind the decks. So Miss Dijon is a happy compromise. She is the first black, transgendered DJ I know of that has gained prominence and respect for her abilities on the decks. Rumour has it that she is one of Derrick Carter’s favourites. And that’s no small accomplishment. Arguably, it could be said that as a transgendered artist, Miss Dijon would not have achieved the same degree of success in the commercial arena as she did within rave culture. Which just goes to show how this underground movement embraces diversity of all shades and genders.
So what motivated this flamboyant Chicago native to join dance culture resistance? Great music of course. Classic pioneers of house such as Frankie Knuckles, Mark Farina and Ron Hardy captured Miss Dijon’s discerning ear during her youth. In the 1990’s, she moved to New York where she befriended Danny Tenaglia, who encouraged her to become a DJ and the rest, as they say, is history. Miss Dijon has blazed a scintillating career path across the globe; from spinning at raves to entertaining prominent fashion noteworthies at events hosted by couture giants Hermes, Visionaire and Givenchy. Dijon also spiced things up at legendary venues such as London’s Ministry of Sound and Pacha in Ibiza. Her style can best be described as an eclectic mix of house, electro, tech-house, tribal, funk and disco. She cleverly adapts her set according to the vibe transmitted from her audience. Part psychic intuition, part osmosis, the end result is always the same – fantastic! My fondest memory of Honey Dijon was when she rocked the I-Dance rally at Nathan Phillips Square back in 2000. Her set injected a glimmer of hope on a bittersweet night as thousands of ravers united in an attempt to preserve the legitimacy of dance culture in the face of overwhelming political opposition.
In addition to gigs across Asia and Europe, Honey now has a weekly residency at the Hiro Ballroom in Chelsea’s lower West side. It’s amazing to see this itinerant disc jockette still in action after more than a decade of dance culture. I applaud Miss Dijon – not only for her vinyl popping skills, but for the courage to be herself in a discriminatory world and succeed despite the odds stacked against her. Respect.
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