EF60 Dvonne

Noxeema Jackson resident Dvonne infuses Extended Family with a defiant yet fun DJ mix of techno bliss.

In 1993, community representatives in Washington DC would respond to an apparent need for specialized services for underage sex workers, especially in regards to their health. Since its inception, HIPS (Honoring Individual Power & Strength) has grown into a comprehensive program providing a variety of services for sex workers, drug users, and their communities. Their mission and vision statement reads as follows: 

HIPS advances the health rights and dignity, of people and communities impacted by sex work and drug use by providing non-judgmental harm reduction services, advocacy, and community engagement led by those with lived experience. 

We envision a world where all people can use their power to live healthy and self-determined lives free from stigma, violence, criminalization, or oppression. 

At the HIPS Center for Health and Achievement, some expansive services find a home where those in need can find support. The drop in center offers mental and physical health services including medication assisted treatment, needle exchanges, access to community computers, showers, clothing, laundry services, and expert guidance towards housing navigation. The center also offers support groups for drug maintenance, goal setting, art therapy, and other thoughtful programs. They have a 24-hour crisis hotline that works towards harm reduction, overdose education and reversal, and safer sex materials for sex workers, drug users, those returning to the society from the penal system, and others in need. 

The selector presenting installment 60 of Extended Family, Devon Trotter aka Dvonne, was asked to DJ a HIPS pride party in 2016 and developed a deeper attachment with the group’s mission and the wonderful individuals he met there. As of January 1st, 2023, Trotter was elected the board chair of HIPS. This role must fit like a glove for Dvonne, who serves as a certified life coach and seems eager to help where he can. Volunteer roles include peer mentorship with Whitman Walker Health in a mentorship group called Currents, as well as a fundraiser on the SMYAL Fall Brunch Gala planning committee. Devon raised over $1.1Mil for the organization during his service as co-chair of the committee for three years from 2019-2021. 

While excited about the growing robustness of the queer community and its promising future, Trotter echoes the general consensus that space is really a challenge. Without a doubt, this artist must be nodding to venues such as Nation, a foundational and formative venue that was razed for the new Washington Nationals stadium back in 2006. In pre-pandemic eras there were more warehouse spaces and more venues with solid sound systems. Trotter gives credit to local party Flower Factory for their ways in repurposing more mainstream spaces so that they better suit dance music and its queer communities. 

Dvonne was born in Salisbury, Maryland on the Eastern Shore but moved to Smithsfield, Virginia at 5 years old, under the sounds of RnB, soul, house, gospel, and was raised in a Baptist family mostly by his mother and step father, Hope, who Dvonne adored and cherished as his primary father figure. He attended Wicomico High before becoming the first in his family to reach higher education at the College of William and Mary. When Hope was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in August of 2022 and given only months to live, Dvonne would begin an extended period of sorrow, past Hope’s death in October of the same year and into the present. Dvonne would lose his job as Senior Advisor to the President of an international climate non profit the day after losing Hope in October of 2022, only two months after the diagnosis, adding a pressure of a different dimension and starting an extended period of sorrow.

Dvonn’s credits his early influences of RnB and gospel merged with an affinity for metal as providing the soundtrack towards his journey with techno. He feels that music is embedded in the fabric of his DNA, expressed via family reunions, school dances, and cassette tapes of his early memories. He recalls how the Very Best of Love compilation by Luther Vandross on cassette sparked his imagination as he rinsed it over and over again in obsessive satisfaction. In later formative years, his friend David would introduce him to metal by way of Metallica, Nirvana, Rob Zombie, and other metal bands that thrived in the mid 90s. In high school, Trotter would receive a glimpse into formal training in the concert choir as a baritone.

All these experiences gave him the foundation to start throwing parties as soon as settling in DC in 2009. His first was a monthly party called Pink Sock! At Wonderland Ballroom and onto Sunday School, and CTRL, as well as performing at Echostage, the 9:30 Club, U Street Music Hall, the Black Cat, Jimmy Valentine’s Lonely Hearts Club, the Kennedy Center, and the Hirshhorn Museum. He credits Extended Family member Tommy C as his DJ mom, sharing his mixing knowledge so that Trotter could start Djing his own parties. Devon recalls coming home from a date in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, making his way down Florida Ave and, by circumstance, past his old apartment which sparked nostalgia and gratitude for his artistic journey. This was a fortuitous setting to be approached by the Noxeema Jackson collective of DC in 2021 through Ayo Dawkins, described by Dvonne as a “mastermind.” Ayo is a force of a party promoter in DC with a steady practice in creating safe spaces through a techno purist flavor. Dvonne’s penchant for dance music mixed with his insistence on activism makes him a perfect fit for the team.

Thix mix for Extended Family serves as a resounding dedication to Dvonne’s stepfather Hope. Although in grief, the music feels celebratory, full of gratitude, uplifting and warm. Free downloads and tracklists attached to every mix.   

Find Dvonne at Noxeema Jackson events, observing his fiduciary duties at HIPS, or meditation to Erykah Badu’s I Want You as he retraces his ancestral connections into astral planes.

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