In honor of Women’s History Month, we are throwing some shine on the most influential female industry figures who helped pioneer electronic and dance culture.
Honey Dijon is an expert of expressing style and vibe. Though she’s been deeply entrenched in the club scene since the ‘80s, it’s in the last decade that the trans DJ and producer has gotten the international attention she’s earned as one of New York’s most respected and influential DJs, and just generally influential people, in New York. She’s one of the more confident yet understated DJs to become a household name on the international circuit in recent memory, and she seems to glide effortlessly between the underground and overground, expressing a style all her own in the process.
A native of the South Side of Chicago, Honey Redmond started going out to clubs at the comically young age of 12 and was even lucky enough to catch the late Ron Hardy at the Music Box.
A native of the South Side of Chicago, Honey Redmond started going out to clubs at the comically young age of 12 and was even lucky enough to catch the late Ron Hardy at the Music Box. “Growing up, music and fashion and art were my worlds, because I was a weirdo,” she told Thump. An apprentice of the great Derrick Carter, Dijon picked up this sort of anything-goes, open-genre (as long as it bangs) approach that would bring her to New York in the ‘90s, where she would also be mentored by house titans like David Morales and become insinuated in the New York fashion scene.
While she was there for the good parts of the ‘90s in New York, Dijon found that certain scenes were too siloed off from each other by genre and DJ. So, she carved out her niche throwing a more eclectic, open party. She was there for the last good years in ‘90s Manhattan before Rudy Giuliani (perhaps one of the few living American politicians who somehow comes off worse than Donald Trump in interviews). Giuliani and his hard-right politics aimed to “clean up” Manhattan and make way for the eventual whitewashing of the burough.
Nowadays, New York is “a city of imports. It doesn’t support its own, which is really sad,” Dijon told RA in 2015. Seeing her city transformed into an antiseptic shell of its former self has made her into a sort of activist around several social justice movements, most recently critiquing gentrification as an insidious force destroying the culture of big cities—especially those crucial to dance and electronic music culture, creating the foundations for rave, electronic festivals, and the entire industrial dance music complex, essentially. But New York isn’t the only city with this problem. It’s everywhere.
“New York is like London, in the fact that gentrification has really changed both cities. It’s pushed out small artists, and instead, people from tech/finance industries are the only ones who can really afford to live in our cities right now. And everything is then tailored to their tastes, which [are] sterile and homogenous. It’s really pushed out the people who created change, as it’s mostly marginalised cultures and people that create movements of change in cities over history,” she told Hunger last year. Diverse urban areas are the bedrock of modern American cultural and political innovation, so if we gentrify and scrub them, that will have tremendous sociopolitical consequences that most of us haven’t properly calculated.
In the past several decades, Miss Honey Dijon has done a pretty wild balancing act: juggling a presence in the high fashion, art, and DJ worlds while holding onto grounded politics and not trading in any credibility. In the interim, she’s quietly developed a sort of slow-burn gravitas, which has crystallized into one of the most vital voices we have in the world of dance music right now. It’s refreshing—and much needed—to have prominent DJs who aren’t afraid to critique the dominant culture to which clubbing was always a reaction in the first place.