DJ O Show, also known as Orene Askew, has been in the music game for over 15 years. Her professional musical roots are in DJ-ing, but she recently entered the hip-hop game with the release of her first single, “Status and Clarity.”
“I’ve been DJ-ing for just over 10 years, and it is the base of my business, but I am having so much fun exploring making hip-hop music,” Askew said. “I hope to do both for as long as I possibly can.”
Askew’s passion and driving force in music comes from her background. Being an Afro-Indigenous, a proud member of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh* Nation, Two-Spirited female, her background is forefront in her music. She is also a former member of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh* Nation Council.
“I think right now all of my intersections are being called to the table to speak and say something that hasn’t been said before,” she said. “It is a pivotal time for change, and these voices need to be heard. The story I am telling is from behind the eyes of an Afro-Indigenous, Two-Spirit, Female, stories that rarely get told. That’s where the inspiration of my music comes from.”
Askew continued, “I have been exposed to two different cultures my whole life because I’m Afro-Indigenous. [These two cultures are] similar in some ways and different in other ways. I think that puts me in a different category than other artists. Being around these cultures has exposed me to more music, which I am grateful for.”
She hopes that her music will serve as representation and inspiration for the coming generations of Afro-Indigenous artists.
“I think because I am saying things in my music that not a lot of artists are saying because they don’t have my life experience,” Askew explained. “I am hoping to be a role model for other Afro-Indigenous, Two-Spirit folks because there isn’t much representation out there of us. I love quoting Viola Davis when she says, ‘Representation is a physical manifestation of your dreams.’ We need representation now! It’s 2022.”
Though Askew has found years of success in the DJ and now music business, she has also faced setback and heartbreak.
“Ten years ago, when I first started my business, my house was involved in a house fire,” she explained. “My neighbors accidently started the fire early in the morning, and I was sleeping. I woke up to smoke and flames and grabbed my DJ gear and ran for my life.”
This event, though tragic, has made her a stronger and more resilient person and artist.
“I think that has set the precedent for everything in my life today. Some folks call me a super hero, and I feel like it too because I want to try almost everything at least once. I was taught the day of the fire our lives can be taken away in the matter of seconds, so I should cherish it more and work as hard to help my community.”
Along with these personal experiences, her musical formation is rooted in classic hip-hop. She is “a huge fan” of 90’s hip-hop and R&B; her favorite artist is The Notorious B.I.G.
“I am also a huge fan of Kinnie Starr who has that 90’s flow, and I hope to work with her one day,” she added.
Outside of music, she enjoys watching movies and sports: her favorite movie is Batman and her favorite team is the Pittsburg Steelers. She also takes time to prioritize her mental health.
“I try to take care of my mental health as much as possible as well. I see a therapist once a week who helps me process the negativity in the world. I think it helps so much.”
Her schedule keeps her busy, from DJ-ing to production. Her ten-year anniversary party is this weekend, where she is excited to celebrate such an impressive achievement. Askew is also booked for gigs into the new year. In her limited free time, she is working on her first three-song EP.
To book DJ O Show for DJ-ing, workshops, or motivational speaking engagements, visit her website.
*In English, “Squamish,” a nation of indigenous people located in the Pacific Northwest Region.
Jaci Jedrych is a World Politics student at The Catholic University in Washington, D.C. She loves going to concerts and exploring different genres, and has a passion for arts and news writing.
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