DJ Bri Mafia is more than just a record spinner

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Bri Mafia described herself as a “YouTube DJ” in college, spinning Key!, Retro Sushi, Dom Kennedy and “almost every artist in the hip-hop blog era,” she says. But her career really started in 2015 after attending South by Southwest, when she left the graphic design program at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina and moved to Prince George’s County to be close to her family and pursue DJing full time. His reasons were simple: “I only saw two female DJs the whole weekend I was [at South by Southwest]and that’s absolutely what convinced me to drop out of school and take my career as a DJ seriously.

On stage, she perfectly blends scorching trap, dreamy pop and emo-core thrash in exhilarating live sets. Her talent for finding what’s new in a sound led her to open bands such as A$ap Ant, Nardo Wick and Larry June. On August 19, Bri Mafia will open for Curren$y at the Howard Theatre.

She is candid about her responsibilities:[DJs] are literally the middle person between the artist, the community and the masses,” she says. Now based in Baltimore, the 29-year-old is constantly evolving and taking on more roles than just a record player: she’s a producer, sound engineer, curator, web designer and even a beer brewer.

In January, Bri Mafia opened LeMafia Studios and began offering photography and music production services in Baltimore. Her “4theDMV” series of mixes features over 300 local artists and has evolved into a real-life platform that cultivates safer spaces for women in the region’s party scene. Next month, Bri Mafia will co-host “No Filter,” an all-female music showcase at Union Stage. She is co-owner of Urban Garden Brewing, DC’s first Black and Latina women-owned brewery, which released a collaborative beer, AllHomage, with DC clothing brand EAT. She also founded “BrewzN’Viewz”, acting as a brand ambassador for minority-owned breweries and donating beer to showcases and DIY festivals.

When Bri Mafia isn’t busy collaborating to revamp the DMV’s creative infrastructure, she reigns supreme as playground queen, DJ at elementary school dances and Earth Day events. She likes spinning a mix of student requests (think NBA Youngboy and Michael Jackson) and local underground music. “My love language is acts of service,” she says. “So I do my best to express that through creation, which could be sound, musical, visual, but above all, [through] community.”

Performing with Curren$y August 19 at 8 p.m. at the Howard Theater, 620 T St. NW. thehowwardtheatre.com. $45. “No Filter” Sept. 1 at 8 p.m. at Union Stage, 740 Water St. SW. unionstage.com. $10.

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