With as much history, art and culture as D.C. holds, it can still be hard to find a quality nightlife scene – one where bottles aren’t being popped pretentiously, women aren’t dressed to the nines – only to stand in the corner – and fights do not break out between business professionals looking to be reality TV stars.
Risikat Okedeyi, owner of Lil SoSo Productions, is on a constant mission to bring quality nightlife to D.C. with her self-labeled “anti-ratchet superhero” powers. What is ratchet? It is behavior that is not synonymous with Blackness like so many believe. Rather, it is defined as being disposable, Okedeyi told the AFRO, Feb 5.
“It offers very little and it’s entertainment for the sake of entertainment. There’s really nothing to be learned and there’s always been this element of spectacle that doesn’t really serve a long term purpose,” she said.
Okedeyi was born in the District and lived in Prince George’s County until she was six-years-old. Years later, she returned to the D.C. metro area and earned a degree in African American studies from the University of Maryland, College Park. She then went on to receive a master’s degree in African literature and history from The Ohio State University.
Through Lil Soso Productions, which was officially incorporated in 2011, Okedeyi brings a different perspective to nightlife culture – one that is transformational and of substance, but still has a party atmosphere. “I like the idea of going out and actually being empowered or released and feeling better after the night is done,” she said. “When I think of what I do, I feel like I am taking different aspects of music, literature, historical photography, video and fashion aesthetics, and constructing and building something.”
Every other month at Red Rocks in the H Street Corridor, socially conscious partygoers can have a good time at Axel F, an event celebrating “the best in jheri curl funk, champagne soul, and lazer boogie.”
Tossing aside modern-day top 40 hits, the DJ spins classics from the ‘70s and ‘80s, even outside of the expected rounds of Michael Jackson and Prince. “The DJ is weaving a narrative and reminding everyone in the room of the rich musical history that we possess and that’s not happening on a regular basis,” said Okedeyi. “I think D.C. is in sore need of it because a lot of the indigenous music forms [and venues] are being pushed out to make way for coffee shops and tanning beds. So the more that we can do to sustain a rich cultural depth in terms of what we’re presenting, the better for everyone.”
This fall, Okedeyi hopes to release her next big project – one that will reimagine Black progressive thought in literature, music, art and culture. In the meantime, she will continue to lend her skillset as a producer, director, and planner to consult with local creatives and build lasting content through multiple channels.
“All I’m attempting to do is shine a light on the bit that I know and try to learn some stuff in the process,” she said.
To get more information on upcoming events and services by Lil Soso Productions, visit www.lilsoso.com.