By Nyame-kye Kondo
Special to the AFRO

In the midst of the global health pandemic COVID-19, artists around the world are using social media to entertain, spread messages and  network with one another.

From well known musicians like Erykah Badu, John Legend and Little Dragon, performing intimate concerts from their homes and studios, to DJ’s hosting parties and streaming them publicly for the enjoyment of millions cooped in the house, artists are finding a way to entertain.

Art is alive and well in the era of social distancing.

D.C. based artist Dior Ashley Brown uses social media to network while practicing social distancing.(Courtesy Photo)

D.C. native, Dior Ashley Brown is no stranger to this new reality and has found  herself contributing to this unique virtual canvas one interaction at a time. 

Sitting at her Mahogany dinner table, plants surrounding her, light shining through an open window, Brown’s positive energy radiated through the screen during an interview with the AFRO.

“I am super blessed. Everything I’ve been through in my life. I am still here, and I am so appreciative of where I am,” Brown said humbly. 

A native Washingtonian, a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts and an alumnus of University of Maryland, Brown has been honing her performance chops for years, and doesn’t see that changing any time soon.

While she has been working on her skills as an M.C. and performer for the last two decades, in the last two weeks she has used her platform to engage with legends like Fat Joe, and most recently LL Cool J. 

Getting an opportunity to chat with celebrities online gave Brown the chance to spit a few bars and to have a memorable exchange while thousands of people were watching- an experience she does not take for granted.

“We have to use technology to be creative right now. And it’s been a great resource for me to stay connected to my family and my global community,” Brown said.  “I love to perform, and Fat Joe and LL allowed me to use their large platform’s to perform and release some energy.”

Admitting that her artistic endeavors have been impacted as a result of cancellations and closings, Brown has not let this stop her from finding new ways to engage.

“There are a lot of gigs that have been canceled between now and the summer time. But I have been reaching out to different artists during this quarantine and building relationships. The last two days I got to speak to Fat Joe twice, and he’s dope for that. I love that he kept saying: “this is for the community.”

With “community” being one of the main themes that lends itself to Brown’s work, she is the founder of the D.C. Music Summit, an organization that Brown Proclaims is “for the people.”

“I wanted to give back to the community that helped to shape me. I have been active in my community for as long as I can recall,” said Brown. “My time as an art student helped me hone my craft, but my activism as a humanitarian is what inspired my work and ultimately the creation of the D.C. Music Summit.  

Founded in 2016, The D.C. Music Summit’s goal is to “support musicians in building their creative business and creative sustainability through their craft.” The organization is an initiative rooted in “fellowship, performances, fundraising  and networking events throughout the year.”. 

Brown is grateful that she is one of many who is able to utilize technology and its barrier breaking capabilities, to stay connected during this time.  

“From fighting against police brutality in the community, to being a natural haired advocate.  My activism is a part of my art,” said Brown.