In 2021, in the aftermath of the murder of George Floyd murder at the hands of the police — which the public responded to with protests and activists with advocacy — the U.S. finally acknowledged Juneteenth as a national holiday. This was the day when the last enslaved Africans were finally freed, a day to truly celebrate. This same year Philly’s DJ Nash, who’d been throwing her InterNASHional Bounce parties, had the idea to put together her first InterNASHional Bounce Juneteenth Festival.

This past, Saturday June 15th, Nash put on her fourth annual event celebrating the African diaspora through music, activations, and most importantly community. So I sat down with DJ Nash to tell me about herself, the festival and how it’s grown over the last few years.

courtesy of DJ Nash

Josh Leidy: When did you start DJing?

DJ Nash: It’s been almost a decade, I started in high school in 2015.

JL: Oh wow, how did you get started in high school?

DJN: I went to school for Architecture and Design, and every year we had a fashion show and I would be the “DJ” it was a pre made set list but a teacher had the idea to put me a computer screen and act like I was DJing.

JL: So, is that when you started to take it serious?

DJN: Not at first, like the idea of being a DJ wasn’t a thought I had, but so many people dug the mixes I had put together. People would come up to me asking for my card or contact info and I’d be like “I’m not a DJ” and one day my friend was like “well, you better become one.” So after his encouragement I went online and got myself my first set of tables, and a mix and speakers and everything and was like “I guess I’m a DJ now,” hahaha.

JL: Did you grow up in a music heavy household?

DJN: Yes, I was always, always into music. I remember I was like 10 or 11, and I was one of the first people in my neighborhood out west, that had a computer. I had one of those eMachine computers, and I was the only person who could burn music from like Limewire and put it on a CD. So, I’m sitting there burning cds for like 16 and 17 year olds dollar parties.

JL: So you were the plug huh?

DJN: Hahaha, yeah I had it all. Philly club music was super popping back in them days, so I guess that’s how it really started then I revisited it in high school and you know it’s funny, I just realized about a month ago thinking about InterNashional Bounce festival and remembered that the theme for the first fashion show I did was international. It’s crazy how it all comes full circle.

JL: You know it’s funny, Philly is known for its DJs…

DJN: Yeah, for having the best!

JL: Yeah exactly, but it’s not like a career path a lot of kids would pick out the blue. Did you know a lot of DJs before you got started?

DJN: No, I think the only one I knew was maybe Diamond Kuts. Like people on the radio or if they were doing a party or something. It really wasn’t something I thought could be a living.

JL: When did you do you first show as a DJ?

DJN: Hmm first show, well at first I was just doing SoundCloud mixes, I wasn’t really putting myself out to do shows at first. It’s funny, because Tierra (Whack) was the first person to basically put me as a DJ online. I was in a convo on Twitter and I commented about a mix and she said “well you’re a DJ ain’t you?” So after that I decided if I was I should be doing parties and stuff. So I remember I did my first party at Dahlak Paradise in West Philly with DJ Ayo. I started doing his parties every month, my name started to get out there more and more and I was booking stuff. Later that same year I got booked to start doing Tuesdays at The Saint, it later got moved to Fridays, but you know once you’re there you run into everybody because it’s such a city staple.

JL: When did you make DJing your full time gig?

DJN: It was during the pandemic, I was working for the school district, and knowing me and how loyal I am, I’d probably still be there, but of course we got furloughed, and I started DJing more with more time on my hands and I was like man I like this life. So I just went full on from there.

courtesy of DJ Nash

JL: You were apart of Tame Artz’s mural he did two years ago, how did you feel when he first asked, to be up there with straight legends must have been amazing?

DJN: Tame is amazing, when he asked at first I really didn’t even grasp it. He’s always on go and he asks me to do a lot of stuff, so at first I didn’t think much of it. I thought it was going to be this little picture because of what he showed me. But then to see the full thing I was in awe. It took a minute to really hit me, my mom said I don’t think you realize how big this is. He also didn’t mention who else was going to be in it. Even at the unveiling I was still in shock at how big it was. It was dope tho my mom brought out my whole family from south Philly. It was amazing.

JL: Speaking of Tame Artz, he was a big help in getting your Juneteenth festival going correct?

DJN: Yes absolutely, I came to him “like big bro I need help putting this festival together” and he broke out this big ziplock bag of business cards. He just started going through them and handing me different ones for some big companies to reach out to work with.

JL: How did you get the idea to start the festival overall?

DJN: Well, I had been doing a monthly party called InterNASHional Bounce for a couple years, and that had been doing really well. We focus on music from all over the African diaspora and right now that’s some of your biggest artists making Afro Beat stuff like that. And a friend Taj asked me to do a day party at Sunflower Philly which he was running at the time. We selected Juneteenth because we thought of the significance and the national attention the day was getting at the time. That’s how it first started and we’ve built it out more over the last couple years into more of a festival.

JL: So what are you most excited about for this year’s festival?

DJN: I’m really excited for the DJs this year. It’s the first time we have a lot of heavy hip hop DJs. We have Diamond Kuts, Bobby Flowers, DJ Crazy, he’s the one who invented all the Philly dance stuff that’s going on, so really excited about that. DJ Aye Boogie, DJ HBK, DJ Amh, so many, I’m just really excited about this line up. I think it’s gonna be a little different then the past years with this many DJs. We have a Black vendor marketplace with over 20 vendors. We’ll have food of course, oh and we’ll have a teenage drumline, Mad Beats Philly who we had at the first festival and I’m amped to see how far they’ve come because they were just starting out. We also have a ton of activations, live art shows. It’s just getting bigger each year and I’m really proud of the community I’ve been able to create. If you’re ever looking for an community to be a part of look for a DJ.