DJ Keezy’s Twitter bio says “I brings the Queens together.” When it comes to the all-female dance party she is throwing in First Avenue’s Main Room on Friday, December 30 called The Klituation, that might be a bit of an understatement. Between DJs, singers, rappers, dancers, hosts, photographers, vendors, and the Boss Queen Keezy herself, 21 female artists are coming together to make this party happen.
I had first taken note of Keezy (real name: Akeena Bronson) when I saw First Avenue’s announcement of this event a few months back. Since then, I have seen her name all over the place, whether it be big gigs at the Cabooze or Patrick’s Cabaret or hosting smaller events around town. Clearly I just hadn’t been paying attention.
The 25-year-old DJ from North Minneapolis got her start 3 years ago. “I started DJing at other people’s shows,” Keezy says, adding, “Most of them were mainly men on the line up, and not that many females.” After doing a show with local rapper Bdotcroc and being on stage with other women, she knew she wanted more. Frustrated with the disconnect between the abundance of female talent in Minneapolis and the male-heavy bills, Keezy felt she had two options, “I could be angry about it or I could do something about it and throw my own shows.”
Keezy got together with Bdotcroc once again, as well as MC Maria Isa, and DJs Adora Tokyo and Sophia Eris to throw her first party, called The Fixx, in the Record Room in the summer of 2015. To really (and hilariously) drive home the reversal of norms, guys who arrived before 11 PM paid no cover. Keezy and crew got together again in the 7th Street Entry later that year under the name The Lituation (the name change was forced as there is a band called The Fixx).
After bringing the party to the Triple Rock earlier this year, she approached First Avenue about doing a party in the main room, and a date was lined up in July. The amount of performers involved increased exponentially with the move to the bigger venue. Maria Isa came up with the name The Klituation, which seems to be a perfect fit for the talent Keezy has assembled. “I think there’s a very big wave of female artists in Minneapolis that are being unapologetic of things.” Keezy says, “Doing it our own way, and not giving a fuck anymore.”
That said, Keezy wants to make it clear that this event is for everyone. “The Klituation isn’t just for females to come out,” she says, “It’s also for men to come out and support female artists.”
Keezy had her expectations for the first Klituation blown away. She would have been happy if 300 people came, but over 900 showed up and there was a buzz in the room. “It was amazing. I had my mind blown by how amazing it was,” recalls Keezy, “It was a great energy in there. People were happy, and you could see it and feel it in the room.”
Not wanting to mess with a formula that worked swimmingly the first time around, most of the performers from the first main room show will be back for the second edition, but there are some new names on the bill this time around. One of the new additions (and one of the two dance acts on the bill), Al Taw’am, are the act I am most looking forward to seeing in First Avenue’s main room.
In September, I was at a Greenroom magazine issue release party at their Greenhouse headquarters, and there was a pretty decent dance floor going in the small space. despite the size of the modest soundsystem. At one point several people all started doing the same dance move in unison. Then a soul train busted out. As far as I could tell, all of this happened without a word being spoken between the dancers, but it seemed that two young women in particular were kind of taking charge. After the soul train broke up, the two women danced with each other all night, constantly playing off each other’s moves, even when they were separated by about 15 feet.
All I could do was sit there and watch, mouth agape. I wanted to introduce myself but I felt a rare moment of shyness. I had never seen anything like that in Minneapolis, the closest I have seen was in Detroit at the Movement techno festival. The dance floor at that party filled me with hometown pride, with the belief that Minneapolis was just as cool a place as any city in the country. It wasn’t just these two women that gave me that feeling, but they were a big part of it. I left without talking to them, and I regretted it and wondered if I would ever cross paths with these amazing women again.
Flash forward a few months, a friend posted a Star Tribune article about an all female dance collective called S.H.E. and a show they were putting on that weekend at the Southern Theater. The article mentioned that the collective would be performing choreography by identical twins Iman and Khadijah Siferllah-Griffin, aka Al Taw’am (the Arabic word for twins). I looked them up online, and there they were, the two women who I had seen own the dance floor at the Greenroom party like I had never seen a dance floor owned before.
The show they put on with S.H.E. was outstanding, and a few days later when I looked at the Klituation flyer again, I noticed Al Taw'am on the bill. I was not all that surprised to find out they were a part of this show. This is DJ Keezy after all, and bringing queens together is what she does.
Listen to a mix by DJ Keezy to get you ready for The Klituation, which takes place Friday December 30 at First Avenue. Doors at 9:30 PM.