Mark-Ashley Dupé has discussed the importance of amplifying QPOC voices ahead of his UK BLACK PRIDE DJ set for Attitude's Pride Powerplay, supported by Swatch.
Swatch, the innovative Swiss watch brand that tells us ‘TIME IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT’, is living up to its good times ethos by partnering with Attitude to deliver four sensational DJ sets premiering on Attitude’s YouTube channel as part of Attitude Pride at Home, in association with Klarna (17-27 June).
The Pride Powerplay, supported by Swatch, is delivering four stellar sets of live music including an exclusive performance from Josh Harrison, founder of queer club night Outhaus, that premiered last Sunday on youtube.com/attitudemag.
Ahead of the fourth DJ set on Sunday 27 June from 6pm BST on YouTube, we caught up with Mark-Ashley to talk radio shows, DJing highlights and what to expect from the Attitude Pride Powerplay, supported by Swatch finale.
You’ve DJ’ed at some of the best underground LGBTQ clubs in London. What have been your career highs?
Playing at Lovebox when I had absolutely no idea how to use the decks back in 2011/12. But in more recent years, playing at Hackney Carnival for Faggamuffin Bloc Party, the UK’s first QTIPOC stage at any type of carnival. Being able to play the music of my Black culture to a queer audience in the middle of a very straight and technically hostile environment always leaves me with goosebumps. We did that!
You also host a radio show. Tell us about that.
Yes, I produce and present my own show called It’s a M-A.D Ting on Threads Radio and #MondaysWithMarkAshley on EXT Radio.
I’ve always wanted to do radio but never had the chance before the pandemic. But lockdown left me with nothing to do as I’m a full-time DJ and club promoter and everything was closed, so the opportunity arose and I ran with it.
The last year I’ve been using my platforms to help amplify voices in the queer community, but with a focus on the QPOC community, who a lot of the time don’t get the same representation in mainstream queer media as our white counterparts, so I’ve created a space for us.
We talk music, culture, mental health, sexual health, recovery and more. It’s really saved my mental health as I’ve been able to connect with people in way I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.
Who are your DJ idols?
Kaytranada and Honey Dijon. Hands down, but also a little closer to home would be Jordss who is just an inspiration to the London queer DJ scene. She hasn’t allowed anything to stop her from achieving her goals in both the queer and straight scenes and every set is just *chef’s kiss*
What can fans expect from your Attitude Pride Powerplay DJ set, supported by Swatch?
It’s a camp old affair. It’s colourful in sound and vision. I try to showcase all sounds you’d hear at UK Black Pride, from R&B and hip-hop to Afrobeats and dancehall and a bit of ballroom and Afro electronic sounds.
How exciting and important is it to be part of Pride celebrations at a time when the LGBTQ community have been kept apart for so long?
It’s extremely exciting and important. We are a huge community and contribute so much to the arts and nightlife, so after a difficult year of basically being side-lined by the government, it feels great to be able to celebrate all of that and remember we exist and that we are survivors no matter what is thrown at us.
I’m extremely honoured as well to be reordering UKBP. It genuinely means a lot to be representing so many within my QPOC community.
What is it about music that brings people together, even when dancefloors are closed?
Music is medicine. Music is healing, Music is therapeutic. It lifts your spirits, it counsels you. Put it this way... We would not have survived this pandemic without it, that’s for sure.
What are you favourite Pride anthems?
‘Beautiful People’ by Barbara Tucker, ‘I’m Coming Out’ by Diana Ross and ‘Dancehall Queen’ by Beenie Man. All VIBES!
‘Time Is What You Make Of It’ is the spirit captured in the latest Swatch campaign - after a year of social distancing and lockdowns, what are you most looking forward to doing with your time this summer?
Just being able to reconnect with friends, family and the world. I’m definitely a social butterfly, I love being around people and if it’s on a dancefloor or an outdoor festival in Barcelona even better!
Swatch, which prides itself on celebrating life – and, with it, a commitment to diversity, inclusivity and equality that dates back to the founding of the brand in 1983 – has an outstanding record of working on inspiring collections with and for the LGBTQ community (Attitude cover star Mika among them).
Though you can keep the party going right through Pride season by dipping into Swatch's CELEBRATING LIFE SINCE '83 COLLECTION in the form of three all-new pieces.
First up, ALLA PARATA (‘At the Parade’) model (above) – ablaze with striking rainbow colours and graphics. Delivered to your door for just £83, it’s a style statement and a show of solidarity all in one.
LET’S PARADE (below) with a semi-transparent matte white strap and bright and bold print makes the perfect statement, yours for £104. Be Proud!
Finally, PARADONS features multi-coloured crystals, vibrant movement elements and a polished stainless-steel strap, at £207.
The Pride Powerplay, supported by Swatch, is part of Attitude Pride at Home, in association with Klarna, that runs from 17-27 June at attitude.co.uk, youtube.com/attitudemag and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Attitude Pride at Home, in association with Klarna, is to benefit the Attitude Magazine Foundation for LGBT causes – this year supporting ten amazing organisations including AKT, Black Trans Foundation, Curly’s Legacy, Elton John AIDS Foundation, The Food Chain, Kaleidoscope Trust, LGBT Youth Scotland, Mermaids, Stonewall UK and Switchboard LGBT.
Each will receive at least £1000 courtesy of our sponsors Klarna, Bentley, Clifford Chance, Slingsby, Swatch and Taimi, as well as individual supporters.