DJ Riobamba is a scion of New York City DJ culture, well known for her festive reggaeton and other Latin music mixes, but she also uses her platform to speak up for marginalized voices. In August, Jezebel met up with the Ecuadorian-Lithuanian DJ at her home in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, to talk about her music, style and activism.
Riobamba says it was her Ecuadorian cultural upbringing in Springfield, Massachusetts that largely influenced her musical interests; she remembers family gatherings and the way salsa and meringue connected her community. She started DJing at a young age, too, playing CD-Rs of artists like Elvis Crespo and Celia Cruz for her family parties.
That same sense of community is also what propels her drive towards diversifying the music industry (via her own record label, Apacolipsis), as well as speaking out against Trump’s policies. She’s incorporated her politics into her sets, too, sometimes using projections behind her that read ABOLISH ICE. Riobamba says she’s also constantly in collaboration with community organizations that do direct work on the ground to combat deportations and support immigrant communities. Learn more about how her work influences her ensembles in the latest episode of Styling, above.