DJ Bri Mafia is more than just a record spinner

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Bri Mafia was a self-described “YouTube DJ” in college, spinning the likes of Key!, Retro Sushi, Dom Kennedy and “almost every artist of the hip-hop blog era,” she says. But her career really began in 2015 after she attended 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 near family and pursue DJing full time. Her reasons were straightforward: “I only saw two female DJs the entire weekend I was [at South by Southwest], and that is absolutely what convinced me to drop out of school and take my DJ career seriously.”

Onstage, she seamlessly blends raunchy trap, dreamy pop and thrashing emo-core into exhilarating live sets. Her knack for finding what’s new in a sound has had her opening for acts such as A$ap Ant, Nardo Wick and Larry June. On Aug. 19, Bri Mafia will support Curren$y at Howard Theatre.

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

In January, Bri Mafia opened LeMafia Studios and began offering photography and music production services in Baltimore. Her “4theDMV” mix series features over 300 local artists and has evolved into an in-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-femme musical showcase at Union Stage. She’s a co-owner of Urban Garden Brewing, D.C.’s first Black and Latina women-owned brewery, which released a collaboration beer, AllHomage, with D.C. clothing brand EAT. She also founded “BrewzN’Viewz,” acting as brand ambassador for minority-owned brewing companies and donating beer to DIY showcases and festivals.

When Bri Mafia isn’t busy collaborating to revamp the DMV’s creative infrastructure, she reigns as queen of the playground, DJing at elementary school dances and Earth Day events. She enjoys 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 try my best to express that through creating, which could be sonically, musically, visually, but most importantly, [through] community.”

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

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