Powerful Storytelling with Aliyah Blackmore
This #badassbabe is reinventing what it means to do it all! Aliyah’s work spans visual arts, music, research, & story telling with specific focus on African Diaspora. This week, we caught up with Aliyah about inclusivity & the good vibes behind her fluid DJ sets.
AM: What's your name, age, and where do you live?
AB: My name is Aliyah Blackmore, I am 23 years old and I live in Harlem, New York.
AM: What do you do for work?
AB: I am a DJ, Researcher, Writer, Photographer and currently an International Affairs/Media and Culture graduate student. I am a being of many things and I am grateful for the space and fluidity to engage with different career journeys.
AM: Tell us a little bit about your work as a Dj.
AB: I started DJing in 2014 — my DJ name is LotusMoon; for me, DJing is about the possibilities of healing for myself, as a queer Black womxn, and holding a space of healing for other Black and of Color bodies.
Through DJing I have always been intentional about the spaces that I play in as well as the bodies and experiences that are being centered and prioritized— I feel grateful and deeply inspired to exalt my own identity as well as hold a space for other womxn and qtpoc globally to heal, be held, and loved — to just be and to feel safe in fully existing and being.
In terms of sound selection, I would say there is a fluidity in my sound/song choices that are heavily inspired being of Afro-Caribbean descent (by way of Barbados and Guyana)— the beauty of music and the beauty of being so intimate with music is realizing the interconnectedness of so many sounds, rhythms, beats… that reflect the experiences and histories of the African Diaspora.
AM: If you had to sum up your career goals in one word, what would it be?
AB: I won’t say that there is a goal because that perhaps implies an end, but I say that I’II feel a career (whatever that means) or the work that I do in this lifetime is continually shifting and growing.
I would say that I will continually be committed to, in some way, examining and engaging with ways to archive and document the histories and experiences of Black people globally.
because there is a beauty and importance in the telling of our own stories — not our stories being told by others.
AM: What advice would you give to your 18 year old self?
AB: I will give myself a set of affirmations:
You are stepping closer to yourself — be patient with that process.
Move from a place of light, love, and compassion, always
Release fears that you have, release self-doubt and embrace transitional periods
Embrace all of the layers of yourself of your radiant self!
AM: How would you describe your style in one word?
AM: What do you love about vintage?
AB: I love the ways in which items can be re imagined and re purposed — and that clothing (much like music and djing) transcends time in some ways
AM: Do you have a favorite vintage find?
AB: That is a tough question — I would honestly say that my favorite vintage finds are always used books.
I was recently in Cuba for some time and I was so grateful for the amount of Used books I had the privilege of accessing — my carry on luggage coming back to New York was basically about 20-25 books (and a bottle of rum)
AM: What's the worst trend you've ever participated in?
AB: I wouldn’t say that there is a “worst” trend — I think that every thing/”trend” has some sort of significance during a particular time — so with that, I can’t say there was a worst trend— to be honest, I am continually inspired by some of the things by younger self wore; I would say that something that I have learned as I have gotten older is not to support brands/trends that are not really looking out for who I am, for example, I remember wanting to have Abercrombie and Fitch clothing so very badly when I was in middle school/high school. I remember their knit tops that had their deer/moose type logo on the chest area; Abercrombie and Fitch was certainly not making clothing for people of color/of varied sizes (maybe that has changed).
I was fixated on wanting to buy items from the brand because I saw other young womxn in my grade wearing them and so I wanted to fit in in some way or wanted to be validated in some way — but the only validation that I needed was within me.
I was certainly raised (shout-out to my mama and community) to always support brands and spaces that hold space for who I am/who I was becoming - and so I am thankful that I realized very soon that I don’t need to be validated by the clothing I wear.
Support your homies/small businesses/Black and Brown businesses!