QLICIOUS – Performer Spotlight – DJ Half-breed

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Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela’s art is based in community and explorations of what it means to transcend definitions and expectations. A Leeway Foundation Transformation Award winner in 2005, Marissa is an artist, writer, educator and DJ. Marissa uses the DJ name, Half-Breed, as a way to reclaim this oft-used slur that was once yelled at her and her brother. Using this name inherently challenges and provokes, also illustrating the ways in which we can all be between definitions. She focuses on collecting and celebrating female MCs, introducing their work to audiences used to listening to male-dominated music. As a DJ, she organizes events where she only plays female MCs to both celebrate their work to address how sidelined, sexualized and tokenized women in hip-hop are. She also works political/ positive hip-hop into her DJing work, as well as mixing in other genres of music with the understanding that what makes hip-hop so great is that it is a remix of what has come before it and the world around it.

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