Catch Them During Essence Weekend
DJs are some of the hardest working people in the city. They set the tone for the weekend, make or break a dance party, stay up late hours to keep the party rolling, and know the songs we need to hear to make our hearts sing.
New Orleans has produced dozens of famous music artists and DJs such as Cash Money Records' Mannie Fresh, rare groove DJ and radio programming veteran DJ Soul Sister, and DJ Raj Smoove, who performed at NBA All-Star Weekend and was the official DJ for the 2000 Cash Money Records/Ruff Ryder Entertainment tour.
In 2022, local Black DJs are still making waves and influencing the city's culture. Today, DJs are hosting weekly and monthly events, performing at festivals, opening up for notable artists, sharing mixes online, and having their mixes listened to worldwide. Here are 11 Black DJs you should listen to right now.
Alexandria "DJ Ally Bea" Bellvie
Alexandria "DJ Ally Bea" Bellvie has been a radio personality and DJ for over a decade. She performed at the Vegan Soul Festival, Essence Festival, NOLA Zydeco Festival and the Pussyfooter's Blushball. She is also the resident DJ for the University of New Orleans Basketball team. She has an assorted set list with music artists including Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Nipsey Hustle, Big K.R.I.T., Schoolboy Q and more rap, hip hop, dance, pop and reggae music.
Antoine 'ANTWIGADEE!' Barriere
Antoine 'ANTWIGADEE!' Barriere is a high-energy artist and entertainer who takes his audience on a journey with moving performances. One moment, you're belting your heart out to Kirk Franklin's "Melodies from Heaven," the next you're bobbing side to side to "This is America'' by Donald Glover. The BUKU Music + Art Project 2022 performer skillfully mixes contrasting genres, artistically showcases musical classics, gospel gems and timely hip hop and rap favorites. See ANTWIGADEE! perform live at local spots including Ace Hotel, Poor Boys, Café Istanbul, and Hi-Ho Lounge.
DJ Chinua is a New Orleans DJ and event curator, creating community and encouraging connection through live events and global music. He smoothly blends beats with timeless genres including dance, house, electronic, and soul. He is the founder and co-sound selector for Ascendance, a monthly, local zodiac-themed dance party. He was also the resident DJ for Solange Knowles' creative group Saint Heron's Proclamation dance party series and DOPEciety's Couches event.
D1ME is an alternative up and coming DJ that plays primarily alternative house, hip hop music, and ghettotech. Her sound is youthful and refreshing. This soon-to-be fan favorite is just getting started. She's played music at Poor Boys Bar, St. Coffee, and Set De Flo's New Years Eve Gala.
DJ Jess knows how to get the party started. Her upbeat mixes and contagious energy make it hard to leave the dance floor. This warm-spirited, engaging "vibe dealer" has the ability to read the energy of the room and create a complimentary soundtrack. She's the go-to DJ for brunches, day parties, women's events and dance parties. She co-hosts Where Y'Girls At, a women-centric dance party, with Legatron Prime, every month in New Orleans.
Lil Jodeci is a music legend in the making. He brings house experiences to the BIPOC community and celebrates Black joy, music, culture, and expression. He plays heart pumping house, dance, and hints of current rap and alternative music. His song "Run the Set" was played in the Netflix documentary series about tennis champ Naomi Osaka. Lil Jodeci hosts multiple events including Set De Flo with MC Lord Chilla at Hi-Ho Lounge and Jodeci Juice Joint at Hotel St. Vincent.
Sage 'Legatron Prime' Edgerson
Sage 'Legatron Prime' Edgerson wears many hats. While she is most known for her turntable talents, she's also a wardrobe stylist, model, music producer, and vintage clothing curator. The fashionista has performed at festivals like BUKU Music +Art Project, Essence Music Festival, and local venues all over the city. The laid back and down-to-earth artist most often plays hip hop, rap, R&B, reggae, and New Orleans bounce. See Legatron Prime live every Saturday at her event Prime Time at Dragons Den.
Madison 'Madspinnz' Spinner
Madison 'Madspinnz' Spinner blends 70s and 80s Black funk and soul music with modern, rhythmic grooves. She plays disco, house, funk, soul, and R&B. She has opened for artists at music venues like Cafe Istanbul, Gasa Gasa, and art gallery The Maven Gallery.
Phlegm is a multidisciplinary artist and DJ that plays house, techno, dance, and disco music. You may have heard of his popular phrase "Everything you love about New Orleans is because of Black people." It was seen in Afropunk, Interview Magazine, and at the Joy Theater. Phlegm has performed locally at Poor Boys, Drifter Hotel and Café Istanbul.
QBABY is a New Orleans DJ and music artist. He can be spotted every week setting the vibe for parties all over town. He has performed at venues including the Saint, The Rabbit Hole, the Maison, Ace Hotel, Poor Boys Bar, The Drifter Hotel, Hi-Ho Lounge, and Okay Bar. He plays every genre under the sun-from house to Latin.
DJ Rakim Beau
DJ Rakim Beau has an ear for music. She mixes throwback and current hits that keep her audience dancing. She plays hip hop, rap, R&B, dance, reggae, dancehall, slow jams, and line dance songs such as "Candy" by Cameo. She has performed at Hummingbird Lounge, The Rabbit Hole and Café Istanbul.