Who is dAb?

Dior Ashley Brown

DC-based award-winning artist extraordinaire Dior Ashley Brown is a living legend. Dubbed the “Hip-Hop Polymath” by the Washington Post, she defines art through a wide lens of intersections and correlations, enabling her to balance the roles of musician, actor, poet, playwright, activist, Emcee, business owner, and more.

A proud alumna of Duke Ellington School of the Arts, Dior Ashley Brown understood early on the power of her voice. Her mission in a nutshell: to maintain the soul of music, empower all people, especially Black women and girls, and leave a legacy of positive change. She is a lover of life, community curator, and driven humanitarian. 

“I’ve been an activist ever since I can remember. It’s like I have an innate calling to inspire Black women and girls to know their value and embrace the beauty they carry within,” explains Dior Ashley Brown. “People ask me how I balance my many creative platforms, and my answer is simple. All of my work is united by a single purpose: to transform the negative and distorted images of people of color and challenge the media to acknowledge the depth of our multilayers.”

Hailing from a family of creatives and raised across the globe by her parents, retired US Army Desert Storm veterans, it comes as no surprise that Dior Ashley Brown possesses a naturally creative, and resilient spirit. But make no mistake – Dior Ashley Brown is about more than following in the footsteps of her influencers. She is blazing trails of her own on multiple fronts, offering something fresh and uniquely her own. Dynamic, yes. Dope, you better believe it!

Dior Ashley Brown’s latest single “Vernacular (RED/BLUE),” which consists of two sister tracks, is a bold call-to-action, prompting listeners to consider whether they use language as a force for good. With the refrain, “speak my vernacular,” expressed as a directive, not a request, Dior Ashley Brown treads down any attempts to use language as a way to divide and shut out others. In classic Dior Ashley Brown style, the message is simultaneously hard-hitting, soft-centered, and unmistakably political. The single is the frontrunner to her upcoming debut solo album, Uptown Ashley Brown.

“It’s crazy how ‘Vernacular’ is so reflective of the times we are in,” she explains. “It inspires the warrior inside to get hip on what’s going on while adding some swag to it. And that’s what Uptown Ashley Brown will deliver – inspiration, transparency, confidence, and soul – because it’s just funky. The type of music we need to keep us standing upright through challenging times.”

Inspired specifically by 70s, 80s, and 90s Hip-Hop, Jazz, and R&B, including Queen Latifah, MC Lyte, James Brown, and Lauren Hill, like the best, Dior Ashley Brown is wholly influenced by artists from an array of genres, from jazz to rock ‘n’ roll. She has collaborated with a growing number of artists, including Turk Gaines, Backbeat Underground, Gordon Sterling, Chris Lee, Candice Mills, Deborah Bond, Jenna Camille, NonChalant, Bennu Byrd, Mary-eL, and Sol Roots, and is a regular guest on WPFW 89.3 FM.

Dior Ashley Brown has performed solo and as part of all-female powerhouse groups F.L.O.T.U.S. (First Ladies of the Urban Scene) and IZA FLO at notable venues, including the Kennedy Center, WUSA9 DMV Soundcheck, 9:30 Club, and Apple Carnegie Library. She has been featured in the Washington Post and on Washington Life Magazine’s 2020 Young & The Guest List. Recently, she was hosted by a number of local and national celebrities live on Instagram - including EZ Street, Fat Joe, Uptown XO, LL COOL J, Kenny Burns, Lakeith Stanfield, Daz Dillinger, Sway, and Sharaya J - where they were able to connect and exchange creative energies.

When not performing live as “Dior Ashley Brown & The dAb Band” or with F.L.O.T.U.S. and IZA FLO, Dior Ashley Brown is pursuing her other passion: making her mark in the community. A respected community builder in the DMV and beyond, she uses her platform to lead a movement for positive change. A movement that challenges the status quo and works to dismantle systematic oppression, using the fragments to form a dynamic, inclusive whole.

“It’s true. We’re all we got. We have to value each other and account for giving back and building up our community, and this can happen in many forms,” Dior Ashley Brown notes. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. If we want to see change, we have to be it. Essentially, my creative movement is about being our own story shapers and tellers.”

Dior Ashley Brown is the founder of the DC Music Summit, an annual premier networking conference, featuring industry leaders, artists, and community influencers, who join forces to find creative solutions to support the growth of the music industry in the nation’s capital. Past and present DC Music Summit sponsors include Accelerate with Google; MOUSAi House; Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center; H Street; DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment; Kennedy Center; Eaton Hotel; Art Administrators of Color (fiscal sponsor); and Unique Extremes, her very own creative consulting company. 

At her core, Dior Ashley Brown is about changing atmospheres, breaking down barriers, and inspiring a new generation of activists, revealing the ways diversity lends beauty and a greater understanding of what it means to be human.

“This is the time for us to go within. ‘Speak my Vernacular’ is another way of saying, hear me, feel what I’m sayin,” she notes. “I feel our hearts and minds have been telling us a few things, but we’ve been distracted for a long time. I think God, Universe, Mother Nature is sitting us down and making us listen to our world at its stillest, and also the stillness within.”

In a seeming paradox, Dior Ashley Brown is passionately confident and genuinely humble, ready to take you along on her journey to both the known and unknown. She is an unstoppable force. Prepare to be transformed. Prepare to question all that you know and uncover new truths. Prepare to awaken all that you are and all that you were meant to be.